Name: Chicago Transit Authority – Ashland Street Station
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Cost: $5 million
Ashland/Lake station is typical of those built in 1892-93 for the Lake Street Elevated Railroad, designed by its engineering staff and built by the Lloyd and Pennington Company. The station has twin station houses and side platforms for boarding inbound and outbound trains. The station houses are designed in a Queen Anne style with a Victorian Gothic influence. Each is symmetrical, with corrugated metal siding and decorative detail in the metal and wood trim around the windows and in panels below. The front of each station house has a rectangular bay window, with a decorative diamond pattern in panels under the windows. A belt rail divides the exterior horizontally beneath the windows. The station houses have gabled roofs with two windowless gabled dormers each. Each roof is topped with a square cupola with a diamond pattern and a steeply hipped roof with a small gabled dormer in each of the four sides. The top of the cupola and the front point of the cupola dormers, roof dormers, and platform canopies are finished with decorative curlicue finials.
The side platforms were covered by tin-covered peaked-roof canopies supported by a row of steel center posts. The posts had decorative elements cast into them, most notably in the top angle bracket that supported the canopy braces. The canopies originally covered the full length of the platforms, approximately four railcars long. As the platforms were extended to accommodate longer trains, the canopies only covered the original section of the platform nearest to the station houses. Ashland still has some sections of original railing.
The exterior structure was restored and painted in hues of light and dark green, brick red and cream in the painted lady style typical to Victorian homes. The interior of the outbound station was closed to the public, but the inbound station house has been restored close to its 1892 appearance with floor to ceiling tongue-in-groove paneling and wood moldings, with a wood floor and peaked ceiling. The inbound station house was reopened to the public and now houses the station’s fare controls, with the original ticket agent booth put back into service to house the station’s Customer Assistant.
Elevators from the street to the station house and to both platforms provide full accessibility to customers with disabilities. The station now has full-length canopies incorporating the original canopies and extensions to the east down to the Justine auxiliary entrances. The original portions retained their original center posts and ornamental brackets. The new canopy extensions are similar in shape and massing to the shorter originals. Original railings were left are in place and restored, with modern railings installed on the rest of the platform. Other improvements included communication, public address, and HVAC systems, tactile edging on both platforms, new signage, and audiovisual signs to alert customers when trains are approaching.
Images and description courtesy of www.chicago-l.org and www.transitchicago.com. Architectural work completed by Brian Rich at Daniel P. Coffey & Associates, Ltd.