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Historic Damen Blue Line Station Reopens Today

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The Damen Blue Line station reopened this morning after undergoing a nine-week, $13.6 million renovation, the longest closure in the station's history. Originally built in 1895, the historic "L" stop received a much-needed upgrade that fixed the roof, added new flooring and adorned the entrance with a shiny new copper gutter. Decorative panels along the railing were even shipped to a company in Alabama to be restored. They upgrade didn't include an elevator, since the CTA would need to acquire adjacent property to fit such an addition on the relatively narrow platform, according to DNAinfo.

Local businesses, happy to have the commuter center restored before winter sets in, offered freebies. Flash Taco gave away free tamales, La Colombe poured free coffee and Glazed & Infused and Stan's Donuts both offered free donuts and coffee to those showing Ventra cards.
The station was originally built in 1895 by the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railway Co. for the princely sum of $4,000. The opening of the line would have been "a matter of considerable novelty," according to a Tribune article from that year, if it wasn't for the Intramural Railroad at the World's Fair, which accustomed Chicagoans to the idea of an elevated train.

·What makes an 1800s rail station worth saving? Experts differ [Tribune]
·A Peek Inside Wicker Park's Damen Blue Line 'L' Station Reconstruction [DNAinfo]