St. Louis (3500W/600S)
St. Louis Avenue and Harrison Street, East Garfield Park

Service Notes:

Garfield Line

Quick Facts:

Address: 617 S. St. Louis Avenue
Established: June 19, 1895
Original Line: Metropolitan West Side Elevated, Garfield Park branch
Previous Names: none

Skip-Stop Type:


Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished


The St. Louis station was opened in 1895 as part of the initial stretch of the Met's Garfield Park branch.

St. Louis station consisted of a station house at street level and dual side platforms at track level. The station house was originally probably typical of the Met designs on the Northwest and Garfield Park branches. Constructed of red pressed brick with stone sills and foundations, their vernacular style might best be described as Queen Anne-influenced with some Romanesque features. The stations' original design was highlighted by a semicircular bay/portico, a lattice pattern in the brick cornice, extensive terra cotta work including the word "entrance" above one door in the portico and "exit" above the other, dentals above the doors' story lights, and carved wooden beads flush with the building between the wooden brackets which support a wooden canopy over the portico.

The station's dual side platforms had canopies and railings typical of all Met stations: Designed into the railings were larger cast iron square plates with a stylized diamond design. The stairs and platforms were constructed of wood on a steel structure. Each platform had a short canopy in the center of the platform, covering the stairs and a small waiting area. The canopy frame was iron, with arched latticed supports and bracketed rafters, and hipped roofs of corrugated tin.

The Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban used the Garfield Park branch to reach downtown Chicago through a reciprocal trackage rights agreement from February 23, 1905 to September 20, 1953. The CA&E only stopped at a handful of "L" stations, so fast interurban expresses would often catch up to the slower "L" locals. This was especially problematic because the Garfield Park branch only had two tracks, one in each direction, which did not allow for expresses to pass locals. Construction of additional tracks was found to cost prohibitive, so tower-controlled interlocking and passing tracks were installed at strategic locations. The easternmost of these was at St. Louis Avenue and consisted of two diamond crossovers on either side of the station. An interlocking tower was built on the inbound platform to control the crossovers. This installation, placed in operation in 1911, allowed interurban and "L" express trains to be routed around local "L" trains stopped in St. Louis station. The other passing locations were at Laramie, Gunderson, and Desplaines.

In the mid-1950s, work was undertaken to replace the Garfield Line with a new rapid transit line in the median of the Congress Expressway, parallel to a roughly a block from the Garfield Line. St. Louis remained open throughout the highway construction project. The station was closed in 1958 when the replacement Congress Line opened a block north. A replacement station entrance -- the Homan entrance to Kedzie-Homan, one block east of St. Louis Avenue -- was opened on the Congress Line.

CTA Way and Structures Department crews began to demolish the St. Louis station house on Thursday, October 9, 1958. Crews began to remove other stations on the abandoned route as fast as circumstances permitted. By August 1959, the station house and lower section of the stairs to the platforms had been removed. That month, the Chicago Transit Board awarded a $106,646 contract to Lipsett Steel Products, Inc. to demolish the remaining stairs, platforms, canopies, railings, flooring, cross girders, columns, brackets and stringers at St. Louis and five other closed Garfield Park stations, as well as the elevated structure between Sacramento Blvd. and Lavergne Avenue.



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