Dearborn Station

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Dearborn Station
headhouse (2006)
Location Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates 41°52′19.78″N 87°37′41.89″W / 41.8721611°N 87.6283028°W / 41.8721611; -87.6283028Coordinates: 41°52′19.78″N 87°37′41.89″W / 41.8721611°N 87.6283028°W / 41.8721611; -87.6283028
Built 1883; 131 years ago (1883)
Architect Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz
Architectural style Romanesque Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 76000688[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP March 26, 1976; 38 years ago (1976-03-26)
Designated CL March 2, 1982[2]
All lines operating into Dearborn Station, except for the Santa Fe, travelled over the C&WI's

Dearborn Station (also referred to as Polk Street Station) was the oldest of the six intercity train stations serving downtown Chicago during the heyday of rail in the twentieth century and has since been converted into office and retail space. Located at Dearborn and Polk Streets, the station was owned by the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad, which itself was owned by the companies operating over its line.

Description and history[edit]

The station prior to 1922

The Romanesque Revival structure, designed by Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz, opened on May 8, 1885. 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 one of the legendary Fred Harvey Company restaurants.

The station was closed on May 2, 1971, as the first step of Amtrak's consolidation of Chicago's remaining intercity train operations at Union Station. By 1976, Dearborn Station's trainshed was demolished and tracks were removed. However, the headhouse building escaped the fate of several other Chicago stations like Central Station and Grand Central Station, which were both demolished. The train station stood abandoned into the mid-1980s when it was converted to retail and office space. The former rail yards provided the land that is now known as Dearborn Park.


Dearborn Station served as terminal for the following railroads, with some of the more well-known name trains listed:

The following commuter rail services also operated from the station:

In popular culture[edit]

Dearborn Station is repeatedly mentioned in the 1974 "Adam's Ribs" episode of M*A*S*H, in which Hawkeye Pierce raves about the barbecued ribs at a fictional restaurant located across the street from the station, and calls the stationmaster from South Korea to get the restaurant's phone number.

The station's train shed being demolished in May 1976; the "head house" can be seen at the rear

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2006-03-15. 
  2. ^ "Chicago Landmarks - Dearborn Street Station". 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  3. ^ Official Guide of the Railways, September 1904, p. 707
  4. ^ Goss, William Freeman Myrick, Smoke Abatement and Electrification of Railway Terminals in Chicago. Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce, Committee of Investigation on Smoke Abatement and Electrification of Railway Terminals, Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, 1915, p. 505

External links[edit]

Preceding station   Erie Railroad   Following station
Main Line Terminus
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe
toward Los Angeles
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