Old CTA ‘El’ stop materials up for auction

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CHICAGO -- If you ever wanted to own a piece of Chicago’s Loop history, tonight’s your chance.

Preservation groups are auctioning off parts of the old Wabash/Madison CTA station, which the CTA closed earlier this year to make way for a new Washington/Wabash station, set to open in 2016.

When the old station started coming down, the CTA decided to donate some its pieces to local preservation groups. Those groups have partnered with Preservation Chicago to auction off some of those items, which include old signage, a row of seats, window and door trim, and guardrails.

“These items are from 1896, so we have things that are almost 120 years old, and really just a testament to an amazing time in Chicago architecture,” said Kelly Farley of Rebuilding Exchange, a group that diverts materials from landfills for repurposing and sale.

All money raised will be used to help educate the public on ways to reuse materials that would otherwise be filling up landfills.

Absent among the auction items are the giant facades that once graced the side of the Madison/Wabash station. Ward Miller, the executive director of Preservation Chicago, hopes they will wind up in the Smithsonian.

“Ironically the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. has an exhibit called ‘America on the Move,’ and they reproduced the platform side of the Madison/Wabash station house,” he said.

But even if the Smithsonian doesn’t work out, Ward hopes the facades will ultimately be displayed publically somewhere.

The event will take place at the Rebuilding Exchange at 1740 W. Webster Ave., beginning at 7 p.m.