Harlem (7200W/700S)
Harlem Avenue and Harrison Street, Village of Forest Park

Service Notes:

Garfield Line

Quick Facts:

Address: TDB
Established: March 11, 1905
Original Line: Metropolitan West Side Elevated, Garfield Park branch
Previous Names: none

Skip-Stop Type:

Station (1951-1952)

Station (1952-1953)

Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished


The Aurora Elgin & Chicago interurban began service from Aurora and Wheaton to a connection with the "L" at 52nd Avenue (Laramie) on August 25, 1902. Included on the AE&C's main line was a station at Harlem Avenue. The AE&C's (later reorganized as the Chicago Aurora & Elgin) service to stations on this segment of their main line was short-lived, as the Metropolitan "L" assumed local service between 52nd Avenue and Desplaines Avenue on March 11, 1905, relieving the AE&C of this unwanted chore. The extension of Garfield Park service to Desplaines and the Met's servicing of the local stations between was part of the reciprocal trackage agreement that allowed the AE&C to extend to downtown Chicago and the Fifth Avenue Terminal over the Metropolitan Elevated.

The Harlem station was a simple facility located at ground level, as the Garfield Park line ran at-grade west of Cicero station. The station consisted of wooden dual side platforms on the west side of Harlem Avenue with a fare control facility on the inbound platform.

On September 14, 1952, the next station to the west, Hannah, closed due to its low patronage and to speed up service on the Garfield Line. At that time, Harlem changed from being an "A" station to a "AB" station in the A/B skip stop pattern. The continued use of A/B skip stop service on the Garfield Line was short-lived, however, being annulled one year later.

During the 1950s, the City of Chicago and Cook County undertook construction of the Congress Superhighway [Eisenhower Expressway] along the general alignment of the Garfield Park "L" line. Part of the project also included the new new Congress "L" Line to replace the Garfield Park. The Congress Expressway opened in stages between 1955 and 1960; on June 22, 1958, the first section of the new Congress Line opened between Halsted and Laramie, replacing the Garfield Park elevated.

Work on the Congress Expressway and "L" line west of Laramie Avenue resulted in some complicated staging and several temporary facilities along the at-grade portion of the Garfield Line. On November 27, 1957, westbound Garfield Line trains shifted to a set of temporary tracks between Kenilworth and Beloit, north than the previous alignment. Concurrent with the move to the temporary alignment, a temporary island platform was opened on east side of Harlem Avenue for westbound trains and the old westbound side platform on the west side of Harlem Avenue was closed. Eastbound trains followed onto the temporary alignment and began using the temporary island platform on December 11, closing the old eastbound side platform on the east side of Harlem Avenue.

Two-and-a-half years later, the permanent right-of-way was ready, although the permanent replacement Congress Line station was not. On March 19, 1960, the permanent eastbound Congress Line track was placed in service between Waller and Desplaines in open cut alongside site of future expressway. A new temporary island platform was placed in service on the east side of Harlem Avenue. The next day, on March 20, the permanent westbound track was also placed in service, closing the previous temporary platform. Meanwhile, between the permanent tracks, the new, permanent island platform was constructed west of Harlem. The new Harlem station platform was placed in service on July 29, 1960, with temporary fare controls at platform level. The permanent fare controls at Harlem, including the auxiliary entrance/exit at Circle Avenue, opened on December 27, 1960.



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