Above: The remodeled island platform at Roosevelt/State, looking south in summer 2000. Roosevelt was the first station to be remodeled in this Deco-influenced style and the renovations -- including brighter colors and modernized lighting -- have greatly improved the facility. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Below Right: A Roosevelt station sign, from after the State Street subway was realigned with the Dan Ryan Line. (Sign from the collection of Graham Garfield)

Roosevelt (1200S/1E-1W)
Roosevelt Road and State Street, Near South Side

Service Notes:

Red Line: State Street Subway

Accessible Station

Owl Service

Quick Facts:

Address: 1167 S. State Street
Established: October 17, 1943
Original Line: State Street Subway
Previous Names: none

Skip-Stop Type:


Rebuilt: 1996
Status: In Use


Roosevelt/State was built between 1939 and 1943, concurrent with the construction of the State Street subway, which was used to alleviate the congestion on the Loop. Roosevelt was one of only two stations south of the Loop (the other is Harrison) and is self-contained, unlike the Loop stations which are actually stops along one long platform. An informational book published in October 1943 by the Department of Subways and Superhighways entitled Chicago Subways to commemorate the subway's opening, describes the stations this way:

Utility and beauty are blended in the modern design of mezzanine stations. Fluorescent lighting, used for the first time in any subways, provides unexcelled illumination without shadows and glare. The concrete walls of the mezzanines are covered by structural glass, and floors are red non-slip concrete.

In reality, these art deco stations are quite utilitarian, especially when compared to the ornate subway stations constructed in cities like New York, London and Paris. Still, they are excellent examples of the type of streamlined architecture that was popular in that era. Completion of some parts of the stations (and the entire Dearborn Street subway) was delayed by a materials shortage due to World War II.

The street entrance to Roosevelt/State. The outcropping on the right is an elevator shaft. The announcement about making the station handicap accessible was made around 1992, completed by 1996. (Photo by Linda Garfield)

The CTA recently embarked on a program to remodel the State Street subway stations, most of which haven't been altered much since the 1940s. Though small pieces of Loop stations have been remodeled, Roosevelt was the first stop to undergo a complete renovation, completed in 1996, and the results were exciting. Though it removed all the original design (which, whatever one's opinion of it is aesthetically, it is now historic), the new decor is pleasing to the eye. Finished in colored tile in an Art Deco motif, the tones (in this case, red) denote the line and pictures on the tiles (in this case, silhouettes of skyscrapers) denote the station's location (downtown, here). The station's name is also molded into the tile work and lighting has been improved markedly. The new style is pleasant looking and the pictures in the tile give a sense of identity to the stations. Since then, several other stations have been similarly remodeled, including Randolph-Washington (1997), Jackson-Van Buren (2000), and Chicago/State (2001). If the CTA continues with this program, the State Street subway will be greatly enhanced.


Roosevelt Transfer Tunnel

Mayor Richard M. Daley introduced a plan to the City Council July 25th to demolish and replace the old Chicago Police Headquarters on State and 11th Streets with a new mixed-use development with residential, retail and parking components. As part of the project, the developers worked with the CTA to build an underground connection on the southern end of the site from the Red Line Roosevelt/State station to the elevated Orange and Green Line Roosevelt/Wabash station. Such a transfer tunnel was part of the original design of the Roosevelt/State rehab in the mid-1990s, but was not completed due to cost problems.

The Roosevelt Transfer Tunnel -- also known as the Near South Intermodal Transfer Tunnel -- was designed by Muller & Muller Architects for the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). The budgeted cost for the project was $7.5 million, though the final cost is said to have been closer to $10 million. Funding was provided through Illinois FIRST and a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant. Work on the project began in November 2001.

The aesthetic concept for the tunnel is a time line of history in conjunction with the three museums represented on the Museum Campus: the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. Additionally, there is dedicated space for the City of Chicago Art in Transit Program. At the east end where the vertical access between the tunnel and the Green/Orange Line station house is located, the tunnel is adorned with a large mural composed of more than 4,000 colorful tiles created by visitors to the Museum Campus in 1999. The mural, titled "Hopes and Dreams," was created by Juan Angel Chavez and Corinne D. Peterson of the Chicago Public Art Group. In recognition of the Museum Campus and its three institutions, it depicts clouds, forests, oceans, earth and space, representing the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium, respectively.

At the east end of the tunnel is a large mural, titled "Hopes and Dreams," composed of more than 4,000 colorful tiles created by visitors to the Museum Campus in 1999. This view looks northeast from the Green / Orange Line station level on November 26, 2002. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The walls of the tunnel itself displays a timeline of history, from the Big Bang to space travel, with pictures glazed into the tiles showing various plants, animals, and celestial bodies. These are broken up by stainless steel pilasters that have a cutout backlit shape at the top (again, a plant, animal, or celestial body). These mark the changeover between eras (i.e. Paleozoic Era, etc.) and there is text carved into them explaining the benchmarks in the history of Earth and the universe.

The tunnel itself was excavated, dug in the cut-and-cover method, and was covered over with concrete decking. One of the construction team's first challenges was basil heath. Since it's near the lake, there is a high water table, and the clay earth there is saturated, making it very, very wet. To take care of that, a "mud mat" -- a thin layer of concrete -- was poured. Once it was excavated to the proper elevation and this mud mat was put down, a nice base was provided to work off. Actually excavating the tunnel was fairly simple because the structure was to be dug and constructed primarily under an empty lot. Sheeting was driven from the ground down on either side of the tunnel's footprint and extended far below the bottom of the excavation. Once the sheeting was in place, the general contractor, Chicago-based Walsh Construction Co., excavated the earth between the two parallel sheetings.

The tunnel also features a granite paver floor and a stainless steel ribbed ceiling that almost resembles a mammal's rib cage and spine. In addition, the elevator serving the tunnel features stainless steel tubing and point-supported glass cladding, meaning the glass members will be attached to the steel tubes by means of pins at each corner. Thus, you can see through the elevator, and for security purposes, the CTA can see through its hoistway. So it results in both an elegant look and security as well. There is also soft music piped into the tunnel, creating a complete ambient experience. The music -- it's Muzak, to be precise -- was chosen by the Chicago Department of Transportation and consists of 12 individual tracks that continuously play on a 30-minute loop.

The tunnel connects to the Roosevelt elevated station by way of an elevator, escalator and stairs to the northwest corner of the grade-level station house, in the paid area. The tunnel emerges in the Roosevelt subway station on the east side of the mezzanine in the paid area, between the fare controls and the stairs down to the platform. The northeast stairs up to State Street were closed effective Monday, January 7, 2002, sealed, and will remain closed. The tunnel passes directly through where the stairs previously ascended to street-level from the mezzanine. The two south stairs, to the east and west sides of the State Street, and the elevator remain in the finished layout.

The new Roosevelt Transfer Tunnel opened on Saturday, December 7, 2002.

In December 2002, CTA officials unveiled a security camera pilot program that allows the agency to record activity at four stations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to deterring vandalism and aiding the Chicago Police Department in identifying offenders, the cameras will enable the CTA to observe platform conditions and ridership patterns, an important factor when determining schedules and service levels. CTA has strategically placed security cameras, monitors and digital recording devices at key points throughout four stations: Roosevelt and 95th/Dan Ryan stations on the Red Line, Kedzie on the Green Line and 35/Archer on the Orange Line. On average, participating stations have six cameras and two monitors each. Activity can be recorded along the platforms, on stairways, as well as near elevators, escalators and transit card vending machines at the pilot stations. If the program is cost effective, a crime deterrent and technologically sound, it may be expanded to other rail stations.

The CTA undertook a substantial signage improvement project in 2006, with work throughout the year and wrapping up in winter 2006-07. Contractor Western Remac, Inc. won the competitively bid contract for the Red Line Wayfinding project, which replaced station name and column signs on the platforms, installed new backlit entrance signs under the viaducts, provided granite compasses roses in front of the entrances, and mounted three-sided map/schedule pylons at 14 stations on the North Side and State Street Subway.

At Roosevelt, the elevator and stairs on the east side of State Street have been largely obscured by a new residential and commercial development on State between Roosevelt and 11th streets on the site of the former Chicago Police station. To improve its visibility, a backlit station "identifier", originally designed part of the CTA's short-lived Front Door Program, was included in the project. Mounted to the stair kiosk, the identifier includes a large backlit CTA logo top a pole and distinctive bracket to attract attention from afar -- akin to the famous roundel that marks the entrance to London Underground tube stations. The identifier was installed in late January 2007.

The remodeled interior of Roosevelt/State on January 18, 1998. Lighting has been greatly enhanced and the colorful tile work is a huge improvement. The silhouettes in the tile work (in this case, skyscrapers) denote the station's location. The red hues symbolize its place on the Red Line. The machine in the center of the picture is a change machine for the TransitCard machine (opposite it, not visible); the poster to the left is a schedule. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Linda Garfield)

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The Roosevelt transfer tunnel between the Red Line subway station and the Orange/Green Line elevated station, is being built behind this plywood wall, looking northeast in the Roosevelt/State mezzanine on March 21, 2002. The tunnel will deposit transferring passengers into the paid area on the other side of the high-barrier steel gating that separates the paid and unpaid areas. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The northeast stairs from the mezzanine to State Street has been closed and sealed off with a concrete wall for the construction of the Roosevelt transfer tunnel -- which passes due east behind this wall -- in this view looking northeast on March 21, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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A Roosevelt/State symbol sign from before 1993, while the Howard line was still aligned with the Englewood and Jackson Park branches. Compare it with the same sign, pictured at the top of the page, from after the subway was realigned with the Dan Ryan line. (Sign from the Andrew Stiffler Collection)

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Construction on the Roosevelt transfer tunnel is well advanced in this view looking northwest from the Roosevelt/Wabash elevated station on March 21, 2002. The route of the transfer tunnel, which was dug out from the surface and covered with concrete roof decking, is clearly evident in this view. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Looking west into the Roosevelt Transfer Tunnel on November 26, 2002 during a pre-opening inspection tour. The tunnel is very wide at the east end, but narrows as it gets closer to the Red Line station, due to space constraints of the existing infrastructure. The design makes liberal use of stainless steel. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

roosevelt-TransferTunnel03.jpg (146k)
The aesthetic concept for the tunnel is a time line of history in conjunction with the three museums represented on the Museum Campus: the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. The tunnel also features a granite paver floor and a stainless steel ribbed ceiling that almost resembles a mammal's ribcage and spine. This view looks east on November 26, 2002, a week and a half before the opening of the tunnel. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

roosevelt-TransferTunnel04.jpg (121k)
The walls of the tunnel itself displays a timeline of history, from the Big Bang to space travel, with pictures glazed into the tiles showing various plants, animals, and celestial bodies. These are broken up by stainless steel pilasters that mark the changeover between eras. Note the Dimetrodon on the wall to the right of the pilaster on November 26, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The vertical access between the tunnel and the Green/Orange Line ground-level station house provides a cavernous and open space where the "Hopes and Dreams" mural, created by Juan Angel Chavez and Corrine D. Peterson of the Chicago Art Group, is displayed. This view looks north from street level on November 26, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The Hopes and Dreams mural, as seen looking south from street level, inside the entrance to the transfer tunnel from the Orange/Green Line station. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Amy Malick)

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Detail view of Hopes and Dreams from the middle landing of the stairs from the transfer tunnel to street level. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Amy Malick)