Gerber's Dempster St. Station Today

Restoration of Gerber's Dempster St. Station. 2003-2004


Restoration complete, and open for business! This March 30, 2004, picture looks northeast at the Dempster St. station. You can see the drive-up lane for Starbucks customers at the rear of the building. On this particular morning Starbucks was a popular stop for L commuters looking for a shot of java. The new drive-up window also did strong business with commuters in cars and other vehicles.

We're inside the station looking at the Starbucks counter. Mementos of the North Shore Line adorn the walls. Missing, though, is the terrazzo floor at the original location. It's otherwise a faithful restoration of the station.

This time we're looking north towards Dempster St. from inside Starbucks. Note the vintage North Shore Line poster.

This September 2003 view looks south from Dempster Street at the newly relocated and restored station. The architects and developer took pains to restore this historic building to its original 1925 appearance. My first impression upon seeing the station renovated to its original look as designed by architect Arthur Gerber was how light and airy it appeared.

Evidence of the careful attention to detail in restoring Gerber's 1925 station is evidenced in this greyscale image of a sidewalk inscription that was cut out and moved along with the station to its new location about 100 feet east. This pair of sidewalk impressions were set into the fresh cement n the sidewalks on the north and south sides of the building.

Bracketed eaves, a Gerber feature in much of his work, buttress the overhanging roof. The view is of the east side of the building. This use of bracketed eaves was considered by some to be bungaloid in origin (Carl Condit), and by others, Prairie School. The restored Linden Ave. station designed by Gerber in Wilmette also has bracketed eaves.

Storm clouds, and not just Starbucks coffee, are brewing to the west on this Tuesday morning. This platform is new and was built roughly at the original location of the train station prior to its move.

The theme of the platform is consistent with the original one that used to extend from the southern end of the Dempster St. station in 1925 to service the Chicago Rapid Transit L trains. These CRT trains used stub tracks that dead-ended at the Dempster St. station while North Shore Line interurbans used parallel tracks to the west of the station in through service to Milwaukee and points in between.

Chicago Rapid Transit service along this line from Howard to Dempster ended in 1947, leaving the North Shore Line for the only electric train service using the station. An interlocking tower designed by Arthur Gerber which controlled movements of CRT and NSL trains in the busy area with a maze of tracks still stands today. For a picture see the Not Just Train Stations section of this website.

Finally, a view from the south looking toward Dempster Street at the newly restored station. The columns in the foreground carry the theme of the station out and remind us of the original platform used by Chicago Rapid Transit commuter trains from 1925-48. From 1948 until abandonment in 1963 the Dempster Street station was used only by the North Shore Line interurban. North Shore Line passengers boarded on the west side, while CRT commuters boarded from the south.

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