Construction Update
Work About to Start on 120-Year-Old Quincy L Station

The Chicago Transit Authority’s most historic elevated rail station is about to get a big renovation.

Rendering of the new CTA Quincy Station (Courtesy of the Chicago Transit Authority)

Rendering of the new CTA Quincy Station (Courtesy of the Chicago Transit Authority)

The City of Chicago has issued construction permits for the renovation of the Quincy/Wells station (220 South Wells Street), which serves the Brown, Purple, Orange, and Pink Lines. It’s also a transfer point for grabbing an Amtrak or Metra train out of Union Station, or a ride on certain long-distance bus lines.

Accessibility upgrades to the CTA Quincy Loop Elevated Station: includes installation of two elevators, an accessible covered walkway, new exit stairs. Existing platforms will be modified to accommodate the expanded walkway. New barrier will be installed separating new walkway from the platform. Stationhouse façade and interior to be modified to accomm. the new walkway connection. Lighting upgrades and misc. finish repair work.
A pawn at the CTA Quincy Station.

A pawn at the CTA Quincy Station.

The Quincy Station is one of those places where a balance has to be struck between modern needs and historic preservation. It is 120 years old, and the design by Alfred M. Hedley is the best preserved of the original L stations, from its corinthian pilasters down to the chess pieces above the entrances and the faux period advertising.

But the fact remains that this structure must be brought up to modern standards; especially when it comes to access. So the C.T.A. is spending a little over $18 million on repairs to stairs, lighting, and adding a pair of elevators — one on each side of Wells Street.

CTA Board awards contract to make improvements to historic Loop ‘L’ station

The CTA’s Board of Directors today approved a contract for renovations of the historic Quincy station, one of CTA’s oldest stations built in 1897. The improvements will preserve the original appearance of the Loop ‘L’ station while upgrading the station with the addition of two elevators to make the station accessible to customers with disabilities.

The $18.2 million renovation will also include stair replacement, painting, lighting improvements and more.

“The Quincy ‘L’ station has served riders for more than 100 years, providing Chicagoans with convenient access to and from Chicago’s downtown Loop,” said CTA President Carter. “These improvements will retain the station’s historic appearance while making necessary upgrades including the addition of two elevators.”

Some features from the original historic station, which opened when U.S. President William McKinley was in office, remain today—including pressed metal wreaths and fluted pilasters, or columns, located on the stationhouse façade. Much of the station’s appearance has been restored over the years while retaining its historic character. This includes the ticket agent’s booth, which was faithfully replicated in the 1980s based on original 1897 plans and is still in use today.

The Quincy station was last renovated in 1988. The station provides more than 2.2 million rides annually on the Brown, Orange, Pink and Purple lines and is a major multi-modal transfer point for 10 CTA bus routes as well as providing convenient connections to Union Station and the LaSalle Street Metra Station.

The accessibility improvements are another step toward CTA’s push toward 100 percent accessibility across CTA, a goal set by the CTA Strategic Accessibility Program announced in January 2016.

The construction contract for the CTA Quincy Loop Station Upgrade Project was awarded to Ragnar Benson Construction, LLC. Construction is expected to begin later this year.


Location: 220 South Wells Street, The Loop

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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