Dearborn Station

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Dearborn Station
Dearborn Station from west.jpg
headhouse (2006)
Location 47 West Polk Street
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. It currently serves as office and retail space. Located at Dearborn and Polk Streets, the station was owned by the Chicago & 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 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.[3] Inside the station were ticket counters, waiting rooms, and Fred Harvey Company restaurants.[4]

Amtrak chose to consolidate its Chicago operations at Union Station. The final intercity passenger train to depart Dearborn Station was the Grand Trunk Western Railroad's International Limited, which departed on April 30, 1971. The arrival of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway's San Francisco Chief and Grand Canyon from California on May 2 brought intercity operations at Dearborn to a close. The Norfolk & Western Railway's Orland Park commuter service, the Orland Park Cannonball, continued to use a platform at Dearborn until 1976.[3]

By 1976, Dearborn Station's trainshed was demolished and tracks were removed; the headhouse building was retained. The train station stood abandoned into the mid-1980s when it was converted to retail and office space. The former rail yards were converted for use 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 mentioned several times in the 1974 "Adam's Ribs" episode of M*A*S*H, in which Hawkeye Pierce craves the barbecued ribs from a fictional restaurant adjacent to the station, but can't recall the name. He calls the stationmaster from South Korea to get the restaurant's name and 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. ^ a b Holland, Kevin J. (2001). Classic American Railroad Terminals. Osceola, WI: MBI. pp. 70–71. ISBN 9780760308325. OCLC 45908903. 
  4. ^ Foster, George H.; Weiglin, Peter C. (1992). The Harvey House Cookbook: Memories of Dining Along the Santa Fe Railroad. Atlanta, GA: Longstreet Press. p. 150. ISBN 1563520338. OCLC 27091379. 
  5. ^ Official Guide of the Railways, September 1904, p. 707
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Chicago and Erie Railroad (September 16, 1900). "Suburban Time Table". 


External links[edit]

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