Chicago recycled an old rapid-transit station and sold its pieces at public auction

Architecture Midwest News Preservation
Pieces of the old Madison-Wabash CTA El Station were auctioned off last week. (Rebuilding Exchange)

Pieces of the old Madison-Wabash CTA El Station were auctioned off last week. (Rebuilding Exchange)

More than 800 people flocked to Chicago‘s premier recycled building materials clearing house, the Rebuilding Exchange, last week in search of a piece of Chicago history. The nonprofit was auctioning off chunks of the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Madison-Wabash CTA El Station, which will be replaced next year.

CTA Madison/Wabash station house. (no22a / Flickr)

CTA Madison/Wabash station house. (no22a / Flickr)

Buyers included an ice cream parlor, a theater company, an art studio, and various individuals intrigued by the defunct station’s benches, signs, railing sections, pressed tin sheets, and vintage doors.

“We did not auction off the facades—those are being stored here for up to two years until a history museum can take them,” said Caitlin Grey, outreach coordinator for the Rebuilding Exchange. “Almost everything sold the night of except for some screens, decking, joists and doors. Over the weekend almost everything else sold. We still have a door, decking and joists.”

Chicago recycles as much as two-thirds of its construction and demolition debris, but other municipal recycling programs are lagging.

As for what will become of the old station’s downtown location, renderings show a clean white plane sheltered by rows of knife-like brise-soleils. The so-called “Gateway to Millennium Park” will replace both the Randolph-Wabash and Madison-Wabash stations, and is designed by Chicago-based expformerly known as Teng + Associates.

Pieces of the old Madison-Wabash CTA El Station (Rebuilding Exchange)

Pieces of the old Madison-Wabash CTA El Station (Rebuilding Exchange)

Pieces of the old Madison-Wabash CTA El Station (Rebuilding Exchange)

Pieces of the old Madison-Wabash CTA El Station (Rebuilding Exchange)

Pieces of the old Madison-Wabash CTA El Station (Rebuilding Exchange)

Pieces of the old Madison-Wabash CTA El Station (Rebuilding Exchange)

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