21. WIN: Historic Quincy ‘L’ Station On Track for Landmark Designation

With construction underway since April 2017, the historic CTA Quincy Loop ‘L’ Station at 220 South Wells is on its way to receiving official landmark designation after the Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted at the July meeting to allow the Quincy ‘L’ Station designation process to begin. Built in 1897 and designed by Alfred M. Hedley and the world-renowned structural bridge engineer J.A.L. Waddell, in the Neoclassical style with Palladian influences, the 120-year old station is one of the oldest and is the best preserved of the CTA’s first generation ‘L’ stations.

“The Quincy ‘L’ station has served riders for more than 100 years, providing Chicagoans with convenient access to and from Chicago’s downtown Loop,” said CTA President Dorval Carter. “These improvements will retain the station’s historic appearance while making necessary upgrades including the addition of two elevators.”

During planning and design, the CTA was mindful of the need to both sensitively handle the station’s many important historic elements while upgrading the station for contemporary use. The $18 million plan includes two new elevators along Wells Street which will make the station accessible to customers with disabilities. The elevators were intentionally set away from the historic station house to avoid interfering with their historic elements.

The station’s historic character is largely intact thanks in part to the preservation sensitive restoration in 1988 by the Office of John Vinci, now Vinci-Hamp Architects, including the replication from the original 1897 drawings of the ticket agent’s booth. “The interior retains its pressed tin walls and ceiling and tongue-in-groove chair-rail wood paneling. Most is original and what was damaged or missing was recreated. New replicas of the oak doors and moldings were created and installed. The original fare collection booths are still in place, as well as old fare register equipment.” (Chicago-L.org)

The station provides more than 2.2 million rides annually on the Brown, Orange, Pink and Purple lines, is a major multi-modal transfer point for ten CTA bus routes, and is proximate to Union Station and the LaSalle Street Metra Station.

Preservation Chicago applauds the CTA for recognizing and respecting the historic character of the Quincy ‘L’ Station. Our long effort to save the Madison-Wabash Station House and the continued interest in the station house façade panels on temporary exhibition at the Rebuilding Exchange has helped to raise and maintain awareness of the importance of the CTA’s historic station houses. Since the station houses varied in their design on each leg of the Loop Elevated. we would like to see other historic stations restored and landmarked in the future, such as State and Lake, and the Van Buren /LaSalle Station.

Additional Reading
Historic Quincy ‘L’ station one step closer to official landmark status, AJ LaTrace, Curbed Chicago, July 6, 2017

Outstanding history of the Quincy L Station at www.Chicago-L.org

Work About to Start on 120-Year-Old Quincy L Station, ChicagoArchitecture.org, 4/10/17

CTA begins work to renovate the Loop’s historic Quincy ‘L’ station, Jay Koziarz, Curbed Chicago, 4/10/17

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