Get to Know an ‘L’ Station: Conservatory – Central Park Drive

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As the name implies, the Conservatory – Central Park Drive CTA station serves as the stop for the Garfield Park Conservatory. An interesting aspect of this beautiful structure is that it once served another location with a different name.

Previously known as Homan station, CTA deconstructed the building located at Homan and Lake in 2000. It was later reassembled at Lake and Central Park in 2001.

Homan Station in 1986. Photo courtesy of and copyright David Wilson

Homan Station on the Lake Elevated in 1986. Photo courtesy of and copyright David Wilson.

Life as Homan Station

Opening in 1893 for the Lake Street Elevated at the northeast corner of Garfield Park, this station was of a typical style used for many other stations along the same route.

The colorful and decorative outer woodwork and dormers show a predominantly Queen Anne Victorian style. But its symmetrical layout and steeply pitched cupola protruding from the roof hint at its Gothic Revival influence.

Homan Station in 1996. Photo courtesy of and copyright David Wilson.

Homan station in 1996. Photo courtesy of and copyright David Wilson.

End of Homan Station

Homan station ceased operating in 1994 when the Green Line closed for renovation work. The line reopened in 1996, but the station had signs saying “Not a station, do not stop” as seen in David Wilson‘s 1996 photo above.


John Morris/Chicago Patterns

New Life as Conservatory – Central Park Drive

The station was shuttered for a few years, until 2000 when deconstructed and stored in anticipation of reconstruction two blocks away:

The Conservatory-Central Park Drive station is certainly an unusual one, with the integration of the 1893 Queen Anne metal station houses from the former Homan station. The station provides easy access to the East Garfield Park community, directly to the north, and to the Park District’s Gold Dome Field House to the south and Garfield Park Conservatory to the north.

The station has twin station houses and side platforms for boarding eastbound and westbound trains. Elevators to both platforms provide full accessibility to customers with disabilities, and full-length canopies offer protection from inclement weather. The station houses and portions of the canopies on both platforms are historically preserved components from the former station at Homan (3400 West) that have been restored and improved for reuse at the new facility.

Graham Garfield

The original support columns are still standing at the corner of Homan and Lake on the Northeast corner of Garfield Park.


John Morris/Chicago Patterns

Today this little rapid transit station serves as the gateway to some of the city’s best neighborhood architecture. Some examples nearby include the Conservatory, Field House, and Athletic Club.

Conservatory Central Park Drive

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

Get to know an ‘L’ station and take the Green Line to the Conservatory on an upcoming weekend–you can see two Chicago landmarks at once. Visit this Sunday (March 2nd) to attend the Conservatory’s succulent and tropical plant sale.

References and Further Reading:

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One response to “Get to Know an ‘L’ Station: Conservatory – Central Park Drive”

  1. Jim says:

    Am 75 now but as a child my Dad lived on 55th near the L Station. I use tha station with him and alone for years and it was beautiful as life experiences.

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