Over the last few years, the CTA has spent millions erecting a new Brown Line elevated station at Chicago Avenue (301 West Chicago Avenue). The new edifice on the south side of the street is a magical grid of steel and glass and screeching train wheels. But on the other side of the street, a piece of architectural history has been left behind.
That's where the old stationhouse still stands, silently holding its own against the near-continuous thunder rolling over it from above. The windows at 300 West Chicago Avenue have been papered over, but this little house hasn't been abandoned. In fact, I recently saw a CTA team gently removing graffiti from the east side.
So, what will become of it? That's up to the economy. It would be an excellent building for a quirky little cafe, but who wants to be the one to open across the street from an established Starbucks? A pizza joint might be right, except that one block over pizza restaurants seem to come and go with some regularity. We've heard that it's currently being used for equipment storage.
So, what are your suggestions? What kind of business would be right for this property? Our nomination: A tiny museum about Chicago's El system.
For more than you ever wanted to know about the history of this station, check out this page at Chicago-L.org.