Market Street stub terminal is seen here looking north in 1930. When it was built, Market Street was industrial; by this point, it stood in front of Chicago's new Civic Opera House. The station had a single island platform between two pocket tracks with a crossover at the north end of the station. Note the sign on the end of the structure advertising express trains to Oak Park and Forest Park. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Chicago Transit Authority Collection)

Market Terminal (1N-S/360W)
Madison Street and Market Street, Loop

Service Notes:

Lake Street Line, Market Stub

Quick Facts:

Address: TBD
Established: November 6, 1893
Original Line: Lake Street Elevated Railroad
Other Names: Market/Madison, Market Stub Terminal
Skip-Stop Type: n/a
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished


The Market Street stub is under construction in this 1893 view looking north from Madison Street. This is the eventual site of the Market Terminal. The building on the left is the future home of the Civic Opera House. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the CTA Collection)

Like the Congress Stub terminal of the South Side Rapid Transit, the Lake Street Elevated initially ended its run at a terminal outside downtown in the days before the Loop Elevated. The company's initial franchise allowed construction only as far east as Canal Street on the west side of South Branch of the Chicago River. In early 1893, the Lake Street Elevated received a charter to build a branch extension into the outskirts of downtown to the corner of Madison Street and Market Street. Although this was still blocks short of the heart of downtown, it may have been chosen because Market was a wide boulevard and the owners of its factories and warehouses were generally receptive to the idea of transit access. The franchise was adopted with little difficulty.

The station had a single island platform with a peaked canopy between two stub tracks. A crossover and tower were located at the north end of the station controlling access not only to the two station pockets but to a center track that ran between Madison and Randolph stations.

When the Lake Street "L" received permission to construct a segment from Market Street to Wabash Avenue (which would eventually become the north side of the Loop) in mid-1894, a clause in the franchise required the Market Stub be demolished, but even after the opening of the Loop in 1897 the city took no action to force its removal. In 1895, all trains were routed to the Lake/Wabash leg and shuttle service from Canal Street was instituted to Market Terminal for overflow traffic. When the Loop reached capacity, the traffic to the Market Terminal was greatly increased. The city did try to force its removal with a 1914 ordinance, but it was generally ignored.

When the stub terminal opened in 1893, Market Street, like much of the west Loop area, was light industry, warehouses, and modest businesses. By the time of the Depression that atmosphere was changing. A big part of that change was the construction of the Civic Opera House on Market between Madison and Washington, looming over the old Market Terminal. Built in 1929 and designed by the firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, the Opera House was financed by traction magnate Samuel Insull, who was chairman of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company, owner of the "L". The building is shaped like an enormous armchair -- its 12-story "seat" is the opera house and its 45-story "back" is the office tower -- earning it the nickname "Insull's throne." The "chair" faces west, supposedly turning its back on New York City and the East Cost, which had spurned Insull.

When the Chicago Transit Authority look over in 1947, the Lake Street Division was only running overflow express trains to the Market Stub, with Austin-to-Market Stub local-expresses (express Hamlin to Oakley, then local to Madison/Market) in the morning and Market Stub-to Forest Park local-expresses (local to Oakley, express to Hamlin, local to Forest Park) in the afternoon and evening. The Lake Street Line was targeted as the first to have its operations overhauled and on April 5, 1948 it was the first line to receive the CTA's® new A/B skip-stop scheme. This streamlined operation did not require the Market Stub, which the city desired to get rid of anyway. The city lost little time in demolishing the stub after service was withdrawn, making way for the construction of the double deck Wacker Drive.

marketTerminal01.jpg (152k)
By 1930, Market Street's industrial look had disappeared as the Loop expanded. The Market Stub was now in the shadow if the then-new Civic Opera House, completed the year before. The Civic Opera Building was built by utility magnate Samuel Insull, who was the chairman of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company, the "L"'s private owner. The facade facing the Chicago River is shaped like an enormous armchair; its 12-story "seat" is the opera house and its 45-story "back" is the office tower. Critics at the time referred to the building as "Insull's throne." (Photo from the Chicago Transit Authority Collection)