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Bellwood Avenue near Warren Avenue, Village of Bellwood


Bellwood opened on August 25, 1902, one of the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago’s original fifteen stations on the line from Aurora to 52nd Avenue. The station consisted of two low level platforms on the west side of Bellwood Avenue. A wooden passenger shelter was located on the eastbound platform.

On November 23, 1905, several AE&C officials incorporated the Cook County & Southern Railroad1 with the intention of building a short line to the nearby Oak Ridge and Mt. Carmel Cemeteries to enable the AE&C to tap into the lucrative funeral service market. Little time was wasted in getting the project underway and construction took place during January and February of 1906. The new branch, the Mt. Carmel branch, joined the main line just west of the Bellwood station.

The Cook County & Southern entered service on March 18, 1906. Traffic over the line consisted of a single car operating as a shuttle between Mt. Carmel and Bellwood. A stub track was added to the south side of the eastbound platform at Bellwood to allow the station to function as a terminal. Shuttles were scheduled to make connections at Bellwood with trains on the main line and normally operated from about 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with two round trips scheduled each hour.

In 1925, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin began construction on a new route designed to open new suburban territory for the line to serve south of the main line. A secondary goal was to develop a residential area on the eastern portion of the line—namely the city of Westchester—to be significant enough to support a rapid transit line.2

When built, the branch left the main line on the east side of Bellwood Avenue, immediately east of the Bellwood station, where it turned south. A new Bellwood station was constructed on the branch just south of the existing station on the main line.

Although the line (originally intended to connect with the Aurora branch near Weisbrook Road) had only been completed as far as Roosevelt Road in Westchester, a total distance of only two miles, rapid transit service over the new branch began on October 1, 1926.3 At this point, the CA&E stopped picking up passengers at Bellwood on its eastbound trains and stopped discharging passengers that boarded between Bellwood and Chicago. Passengers boarding here for Chicago or an intermediate point had to use the adjacent Bellwood station.

Due to close proximity to the new Westchester rapid transit, passenger service from Bellwood to Mt. Carmel came to an end on October 31, 1926. Service to Oak Ridge and Mt. Carmel continued, but was now provided by bus. Instead of connecting at Bellwood as the trains had, the buses connected at the new Westchester “L” station.

In October 1947, the newly formed Chicago Transit Authority assumed operation of the surface and rapid transit systems in Chicago and began cutting back poor performing services in order to economize. The Westchester branch, which at the time had little population density to support it, was targeted for elimination. On December 9, 1951, CTA discontinued rapid transit service west of Desplaines Avenue and substituted the #17 Westchester bus for the trains.4 At the behest of local residents, when the Chicago Transit Authority withdrew Westchester Service, the CA&E once again began providing service to Bellwood in both directions.5 Tickets were sold at Wordman’s Drug Store, located at 700 Bellwood Ave., and were available for purchase from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Mondays and from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday including holidays.6 At all other times, a passenger paid his or her fare onboard the train.

The station house from the adjacent Bellwood station on the Westchester branch was relocated to Bellwood’s eastbound platform7 while the existing passenger shelter was moved to the westbound platform.

Passenger service on the CA&E abruptly ended at 12:13 p.m. on July 3, 1957. After sitting unused for a time and with no purpose left for it, the Bellwood station was eventually demolished.

Station Timetables


Feb. 25, 1952


  1. "New Incorporations." Chicago Daily Tribune 24 Nov. 1905: 12.
  2. Plachno, Sunset Lines - History 297
  3. "Westchester 'L' Line Is Opened; 180 Trains Daily." Chicago Daily Tribune 1 Oct. 1926: 8.
  4. "Revise Douglas and Garfield 'L' Service Dec. 9." Chicago Daily Tribune 1 Dec. 1951: 4.
  5. Abbott, Tom. "Ask Court Writ as CTA Plans to Change Service." Chicago Daily Tribune 6 Dec. 1951: W2.
  6. Moffat, Cooperation 76
  7. Weller and Stark, Living Legacy 30