|Soon to be history. Photographs by Gregory Tejeda|
I can’t help but think there’s a loss to the Chicago Transit Authority’s ‘el’ station downtown at Randolph and Wabash streets, which officially closes to the public following this week.
ALTHOUGH I’M SURE some sarcastic types will quip that we’re lucky the ‘el’ platform didn’t collapse due to age and decay before the wrecking crews could get around to demolishing it.
Now a part of the reason I feel some sort of affinity for this particular downtown transit stop is that it is a mere block from the Metra Electric commuter trains that I have lived significant portions of my life from.
Which means a trip into downtown would put me right at the Millennium Park site (even though back when I was a kid, no one would have conceived of such a grand park in place of the railroad yards that still exist underneath the park grounds.
|The outside view that someday will no longer be|
|Trump will no longer loom over Randolph|
MY POINT IS that the ‘el’ station feels like a fairly prominent spot for people traveling throughout the area.
Now I don’t know exactly how old that particular ‘el’ station is – although it has the feel of many decades approaching a full century. It has the feel of a place that has experienced first-hand the history of Chicago.
I often wonder if the people who now go about speculating ridiculously about the chances they would get shot by gang members on Chicago streets while waiting for an ‘el’ train at the station are the great-grandchildren of people who waited at the exact same ‘el’ stop, wondering if they were going to get caught in the crossfire of violence by the Capone mob?
My point being the station has the feel of being a part of Chicago that has been around that long.
|Among the Randolph Street sites nearby|
AND IT SHOWS.
CTA officials are closing the station effective Sunday, replacing it with a new downtown ‘el’ station one block to the south at Washington Street – which officially is being billed as the Millennium station. That station officially opens Thursday.
I’ll concede that I have long noticed the grime that has accumulated at the Randolph Street ‘el’ station to the point where I wonder what I could catch if I touch something too long, and have often cynically speculated about how secure the platform’s wooden boards could be after all these decades of use.
So I don’t doubt the station’s time to be replaced has come.ALTHOUGH IT’S GOING to mean the decades of habit I have developed in my mass transit routines are going to have to be adapted to comply with the fact that the ‘el’ station is now one block further to the south.
|Will street musicians still gather at Randolph/Wabash?|
I doubt I’m alone, since many of us develop transit routines that we follow reflexively, not giving them much thought. Now, we’re going to have to think a few extra seconds to make sure we don’t screw up and wind up being taken to the Monroe Street or State and Lake street stations while travelling through the Loop. Besides, I couldn't help but admire the video snippet I found Wednesday on YouTube posted by someone whom I suspect feels a sentiment similar to my own about this soon-to-be defunct 'el' platform.
|In my mind, this structure isn't just a decades-old postcard|