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The station's original entrance at Clark and Division is now temporarily closed as it also undergoes a major rehab for the first time since its opening in 1943. Back then, it was more of a workaday neighborhood. According to the station's history on the essential Chicago-L.org, there was even a direct mezzanine-level entry to the Mark Twain Hotel(!). As the surrounding neighborhood first sank and then went more and more upscale, the original crisp design of the station became increasingly derelict, leading Tribune transportation report Jon Hilkevitch to label it “among the tackiest and most dilapidated on the CTA system.”
A 1999 plan had a $15 million price tag, but the time the issue was revisited a few years later, the budget had exploded to $102.5 million. A new design was completed in 2011, but $30 million in funds earmarked for Clark and Division were diverted to cover the $67 million cost of rehabbing the Red L stop at Grand. By the time the project was relaunched in 2012, the cost was cut almost in half, to $50.6 million, largely by not trying to keep streets open during construction, but shutting down Division for a year, simplifying the construction staging.
giant sea slug street entrances to which the CTA seems addicted. Lumbering, over-scaled, thick limbed and graceless, anything farther from the classic, spare elegance of Chicago design would be hard to imagine At least on the northeast corner, there's the lightness of the Richard Haas to provide an ameliorating backdrop.
|Original Fullerton station. Image courtesy of the Chuckman Collection|