Thursday, January 13, 2011

North Western Station

Chicago's North Western Station, on Madison, was a classic big city rail terminal. A big Renaissance Revival building, massive and classy, it featured all the luxuries a long distance traveler (or a commuter from the suburbs) needed at the end of their journey. Along with most other major railways, the CNW ended intercity service in the early seventies, so the only trains using the old station were local commuter trains. It was demolished in the early 80's to make way for the Citigroup Center, but the commuter station remained in use and was renamed the Ogilvie Transportation Center. It says something about the old station, and the Chicago and North Western, that you can still tell a cabbie in Chicago that you need to get to North Western Station, you'll get there.

A portion of the original building still exists-the old powerhouse and it's associated viaduct still stand, in use as office and retail space. It's heritage is evident by these very old CNW crests that decorate the powerhouse (one is even prominent on the end of the building, and is only visible if you're on a train). If I'm not mistaken, they date from the station's 1911 opening.

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