Dearborn Station (also referred to as Polk Street Station) was the oldest of the six intercity train stations serving downtown Chicago, Illinois. It currently serves as office retail and entertainment space. Located at Dearborn and Polk Streets, adjacent to Printers Row, the station was owned by the Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad, which itself was owned by the companies operating over its line. The station now houses a shopping mall.
Description and history
The Romanesque Revival structure, designed by Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz, opened May 8, 1885 at a cost of $400 to $500 thousand (equivalent to $10.9 to $13.6 million in 2018). The three-story building's exterior walls and twelve-story clock tower were composed of pink granite and red pressed brick topped by a number of steeply-pitched roofs. Modifications to the structure following a fire in 1922 included eliminating the original pitched roof profile. Behind the head house were the train platforms, shielded by a large train shed. Inside the station were ticket counters, waiting rooms, and Fred Harvey Company restaurants. All lines operating into Dearborn Station, except for the Santa Fe, traveled over the C&WI.
Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) chose to consolidate its Chicago operations at the Union Station. The final intercity passenger train to depart Dearborn Station was the Grand Trunk Western Railroad's International Limited, which departed on April 30, 1971. The arrival of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway's San Francisco Chief and Grand Canyon from California on May 2 brought intercity operations at Dearborn to a close. The Norfolk & Western Railway's Orland Park commuter service, the Orland Park Cannonball, continued to use a platform at Dearborn until 1976.
By 1976, Dearborn Station's train shed was demolished and tracks were removed; the head house building was retained. The train station stood abandoned into the mid-1980s when it was converted to retail and office space. The former rail yards were converted for use as Dearborn Park.
As of 1920 the Dearborn Station served as a terminal for 25 railroads, serving 17,000 passengers daily on 122 trains. Railroads that served the station include the following, with some of the more well-known name trains listed:
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (Santa Fe) – the Chief, Super Chief, El Capitan, and Grand Canyon Limited (to name but a few) to Los Angeles, California; the Texas Chief to Galveston/Houston, Texas; the Antelope to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; the Kansas Cityan (and its eastbound counterpart, the Chicagoan) to Kansas City, Missouri; and the San Francisco Chief to San Francisco, California. Although the Santa Fe by far operated the greatest number of trains from the station, it was only a tenant.
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (moved to the Grand Central Station February 28, 1925).
Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad – Cardinal, Zipper and Silent Knight to St. Louis, Missouri; Dixie Flyer, and Dixie Flagler and Georgian to Evansville, continuing to Nashville, Tennessee, then Atlanta, Georgia, and finally Miami, Florida (The Georgian ending at Atlanta). From July 31, 1904 to August 1, 1913, Chicago & Eastern Illinois trains used LaSalle Street Station.
Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railway (Monon) – Hoosier and Tppecanoe to Indianapolis, Indiana, Thoroughbred to Louisville, Kentucky.
Erie Railroad (Erie Lackawanna Railway from 1960) – Phoebe Snow and Lake Cities to Hoboken, or Jersey City, New Jersey.
Grand Trunk Western Railroad – Maple Leaf, Inter-city Limited and International Limited to Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. Mohawk to Detroit, Michigan.
Wabash Railroad (Norfolk and Western Railway from 1964) – Blue Bird and Banner Blue to St. Louis, Missouri.
The following commuter rail services also operated from the station:
Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad (until 1935) – operated from Dearborn Station to Crete, Illinois. Metra is planning to revive the route as its SouthEast Service.
Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad (until 1964) – operated between Dearborn Station and Dolton, Illinois serving mostly local stops within Chicago's far south side.
Chicago and Erie Railroad – operated from Dearborn Station to Rochester, Indiana.
Grand Trunk Western Railroad (until 1935) – operated from Dearborn Station to Valparaiso, Indiana (later service was cut-back to Harvey, Illinois).
Wabash Railroad (Norfolk and Western Railway from 1964) – used a track west of the station until 1976, when moved to the Union Station); now Metra's SouthWest Service.
Dearborn Station Overview
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Location: 47 West Polk Street, Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates: 41°52′19.78″N 87°37′41.89″W
Architect: Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz
Architectural style: Romanesque Revival
NRHP Reference Number: 76000688
Added to NRHP: March 26, 1976
Designated CL: March 2, 1982
ATSF No. 16C, an EMD F3A with Train No. 9, The Kansas City Chief, at Dearborn Station, Chicago, Ilinois on February 5, 1968. Photo by Roger Puta.
Dearborn Station in Chicago, as seen from the west in October of 2011.
By Beyond My Ken - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18073123
Classic Streamliners - TRAINCYCLOPEDIA
Santa Fe diesels at Dearborn Station.
Postcard depiction of Dearborn Station, Chicago, Illinois, as it appeared circa 1907.
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Text: wikipedia.org. Images: Public Domain; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org (unless otherwise specified) and 17 U.S. Code § 107 fair use. References: Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, 2nd Edition 1956. Site Map Contact webmaster HERE.