The original Central station was built as part of an extension of the Lake Street Elevated Railroad that opened on April 15, 1899. The structure, consisting of a single island platform, was originally at grade, but was relocated onto an embankment in 1962 to allow Central Avenue to pass underneath. The Parkside Avenue auxiliary entrance closed on January 15, 1973. During the 1994–1996 Green Line rehabilitation, Central was repainted and an elevator was added for accessibility.
Despite the identical name, it is geographically distant from Central station on the Purple Line.