Do any pictures of the old Randolph street Station exist?

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Crowbar_k

Train Attendant
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Jun 23, 2020
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So, I used to think that the old Millennium Station, formerly known as Randolph street, was entirely outside before the 2005 remodeling. However, I talked to my uncle who used to take the Metra Electric/IC and I learned that only South Shore Line platforms were outside. The rest of the station was still underground. He even pointed out that canopy over the entrance steps is exactly the same as he remembers. However, I cannot find any pictures of the old underground station. I can only find pictures of the outside south shore line platforms. What did the old underground station look like and do any any pictures of it exist?
 

Crowbar_k

Train Attendant
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Jun 23, 2020
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Again. These are pictures of the SSL section. Are there any pictures of the inside of the station?
 

MikefromCrete

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Crete, IL
I've been checking around the internet and I don't really see any Randolph St. station photos before the latest refurbishment. I've used Randolph St. for more years than I can count and I never took a photo there! The station just isn't very photogenic. My early memories of the place, from the 1950's, include a large floral shop, an ahead-of-its-time Juice bar (which sold a large menu of fruit drinks including one called the Panama Limited), newsstand and a couple of dark bars that I was much too young to patronize. At one point after Metra took over the operations in the 1980's the station sprung all kinds of leaks, particularly from the city-owned Randolph St. bridge over head. All the concessions were closed and cleared out. The place looked like an unfinished basement for a decade. When the leaks were plugged and Metra got around to refurbishing the place, it looked great.
Now the IC/Metra Electric platforms are not very scenic. Just high level platforms in a basement like a subway station.
There really is no "outside" views of the station since it's all underground. There's just the classic entrance on Randolph just west of Michigan Avenue near the former public library, now cultural center. There used to be a giant outdoor newsstand here, selling every kind of magazine known to mankind. The only other entrance is a side door on the lower level of the Prudential Building. Randolph St. has always been a utilitarian kind of place. I guess it never attracted photographers.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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Mar 5, 2016
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Chicago, Illinois
I've been checking around the internet and I don't really see any Randolph St. station photos before the latest refurbishment. I've used Randolph St. for more years than I can count and I never took a photo there! The station just isn't very photogenic. My early memories of the place, from the 1950's, include a large floral shop, an ahead-of-its-time Juice bar (which sold a large menu of fruit drinks including one called the Panama Limited), newsstand and a couple of dark bars that I was much too young to patronize. At one point after Metra took over the operations in the 1980's the station sprung all kinds of leaks, particularly from the city-owned Randolph St. bridge over head. All the concessions were closed and cleared out. The place looked like an unfinished basement for a decade. When the leaks were plugged and Metra got around to refurbishing the place, it looked great.
Now the IC/Metra Electric platforms are not very scenic. Just high level platforms in a basement like a subway station.
There really is no "outside" views of the station since it's all underground. There's just the classic entrance on Randolph just west of Michigan Avenue near the former public library, now cultural center. There used to be a giant outdoor newsstand here, selling every kind of magazine known to mankind. The only other entrance is a side door on the lower level of the Prudential Building. Randolph St. has always been a utilitarian kind of place. I guess it never attracted photographers.
Those aren't the only two entrances. There's also an entrance at the north end of the Metra platforms. Additionally, there is another entrance at the northwest corner of Michigan and Randolph which feeds into the same hallway as the other entrance at that intersection.
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
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Palm Beach County
Randolph St. has always been a utilitarian kind of place. I guess it never attracted photographers.
Maybe not rail photographer's, but when I used to go there frequently, in the late '60's and early '70's, there was a 'street photographer', named "Bill", who used to hang out around that entrance, with the classic neon sign reading: "To Illinois Central Electric Trains"....He would use his press type camera to shoot portraits of passersby, and hand them a business card with info for ordering a print and thank them if they accepted it....wonder whatever happened to him?
Another 'lost art' of a bygone era...

Here's a remnant of the sign that hung above the stairway....
 
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Willbridge

OBS Chief
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Mar 30, 2019
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Denver
How lucky you were to have a railfan father...mine had absolutely no interest in trains...:)
My dad took an interest when he was five years old and toured the all-new (heavyweight) Portland Rose with his family. He also can remember his first trip from Portland to San Francisco because the train was car-ferried across the Carquinez Straight. He remembers riding with his mother from Portland to Salem on the Oregon Electric. In WWII he was one of the GI's who enjoyed being shipped around the country on lines that he otherwise never would have ridden! In the late 1940's and early 1950's he went on a lot of last runs and being interested in urban politics began to realize that some of those should have been saved and renovated as suburban lines.

As both his parents came from Indiana he made several rail trips there from Oregon and that put him through Chicago. Being what used to be called a 'juice fan' he made sure to ride the big Chicagoland interurbans. As a newsdealer he also called on the papers there and so we wholesaled both the Chicago Daily News and Chicago Tribune. The News came by rail. We tried the Tribune by air but it was United and the service was so poor that we switched to rail.

When I finally got to Chicago in 1967 I rode the IC Electric to Blue Island. I had just missed it because of trying to figure out the new magnetic fare cards and the gateman told me to catch the Matteson Express to 115th St/Kensington and transfer. I did as he suggested and it worked perfectly (Blue Island trains made all stops). It became one of the inspirations for Denver RTD's cross-platform transfers at I-25 & Broadway.

A subject worth studying is how ideas and ways of doing things spread. Chicagoland has had more than its share of faults but it also has been influential in a number of fields. It's partly geography but perhaps also because it's not as complex as NYC.
 
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