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Thursday, April 26, 2012

CTA, Wilmette to mark a century of 'L' service

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Officials from the Chicago Transit Authority and the Village of Wilmette will celebrate the 100th anniversary of ‘L' service to the North Shore community on Saturday, April 28.

CTA President Forrest Claypool, Wilmette Village President Chris Canning and members of the Wilmette Chamber of Commerce, Wilmette Historical Museum and North Shore Community Bank will mark the 100th anniversary with a celebration at the historic Linden ‘L' station. Linden is the northern terminus of the Purple Line, which serves Wilmette, Evanston and Chicago.

"For a century, CTA has been helping Wilmette residents get to and from their destinations quickly and conveniently," said Claypool. "We're proud to help celebrate the village's rich history and the important role the CTA has played in Wilmette's development over the years."

‘L' service to Wilmette was introduced in April 1912 by the Northwestern Elevated Railroad. Though Wilmette opposed the extension of the rail line north from Evanston, a Northwestern crew, under the cover of night on April 1, 1912, built a small platform just east of 4th Street. The first train arrived just before 7 a.m. on April 2, according to historic news accounts.

The Linden station was built in 1913 and was used until the early 1990s, when a larger station was built to the east, opening in 1993. A few years later, the station was leased to North Shore Community Bank, which performed a careful exterior renovation. The station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as being historic in a Memorandum of Agreement between the CTA and the State Historic Preservation Office.

Today, the Linden station is the third-busiest among the eight Evanston branch Purple Line stations, with more than 1,000 riders on an average weekday. The station saw more than 319,600 passengers in 2011.

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