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Poplar Avenue and Vallette Street, City of Elmhurst


Poplar was a local station on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin’s main line at the intersection of Poplar Avenue and Vallette Street in Elmhurst.

The beginnings of Poplar did not originate with the railroad, but rather by the city of Elmhurst. In May 1931, city attorney Charles M. Haft filed a petition before the Illinois Commerce Commission on behalf of the city of Elmhurst asking the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad to construct a new station at Poplar Avenue on the east side of Elmhurst. The reason behind the petition was that the Stratford Hills station (approximately half a mile east of the Poplar crossing) only served “a handful of people” while a new station at Poplar would serve 500 to 1,000 people. The CA&E response to the petition was that it opposed the addition of another station in east Elmhurst, but was open to relocating Stratford Hills to Poplar Avenue.1

The Illinois Commerce Commission granted approval for the construction of the station on July 28, 1931. Construction was expected to be completed within 90 days.2

Opening day was set for Saturday, November 28, 1931, and all residents of the city were invited to inspect the new station at the grand opening.3 A dedication ceremony was held at 2:30 p.m. at which Charles W. Hadley, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, made a presentation address and John E. Egolf (representing the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin) gave an acceptance speech. The Mooseheart 55-piece band was on hand and performed throughout the afternoon’s proceedings and a photographer was present to document the new station.4

The station consisted of a stone depot with a hipped roof and matching passenger shelter on the westbound platform. Boarding took place on one of two low level platforms on the east side of Poplar which were outfitted with the CA&E’s standard flag stop semaphores.

Although The Elmhurst Press recorded the railroad’s unwillingness to operate two stations in town west of York Street, Stratford Hills did not close upon the opening of the Poplar station. The two stops would remain in service together until 1943, when Stratford Hills was closed as part of a materials saving program brought on by World War II.

Poplar remained in service as the eastern Elmhurst station until July 3, 1957, when the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railway shut down at 12:13 p.m. After sitting moribund for several years, the CA&E rented the station out in late 1960 in an attempt to generate some revenue. It initially became home to Ed’s Food Store.5, 6 By 1963, it was rented to the Elmhurst Community Theater for $500 a year. The group cleaned out, painted, and remodeled the station to serve as a production shop.7

In 1967, the Aurora Corporation offered to rent the Poplar station to the Illinois Prairie Path for the members to rehabilitate the building and use it as the organization’s headquarters. After several weeks of consideration, this offer was declined by IPP due to a lack of funds. The Aurora Corporation later offered the building to the IPP for free for a period of six months which was accepted at a regular Tuesday night Board meeting. Two days after the decision, arsonists burned the station to the ground.8

Following the end of CA&E service, Lyden route 13 (the precursor to Pace route 313) operated along Vallette/Electric between Poplar and Taft before continuing service along St. Charles Road, effectively continuing passenger service to the Poplar and Berkeley stations. On November 23, 2008, Pace rerouted the 313, bringing an end service at these locations.

Full station profile and history coming soon.

Station Timetables


June 10, 1945

Additional Photos

A post-shutdown shot of the Poplar station as seen looking east from the crossing of Poplar Avenue. Weeds are beginning to overtake the right of way and are coming up through cracks in the platforms but the tracks and third rail are still in place.

Photo by Don Bruno


  1. “Ask Railroad Station at Poplar Ave. on C. A. E.” The Elmhurst Press [Elmhurst, IL] 29 May 1931: 1. Print.
  2. “NEW STATION AT POPLAR AVENUE GIVEN APPROVAL.” The Elmhurst Press [Elmhurst, IL] 31 Jul. 1931: 1. Print.
  3. “NEW POPLAR AVE. C. A. E. STATION TO OPEN NEXT WEEK.” The Elmhurst Press [Elmhurst, IL] 20 Nov. 1931: 1. Print.
  4. “WILL DEDICATE POPLAR AVENUE C. A. E. STATION.” The Elmhurst Press [Elmhurst, IL] 27 Nov. 1931: 1. Print.
  5. Plachno, Sunset Lines - History 473
  6. Juneau, William. “Firms Rent Stations After Service Ends.” Chicago Daily Tribune 6 Nov. 1960: W1. Print.
  7. Kertz, Jane. “Actors Bring Life to Old Station.” Chicago Tribune 23 Jun. 1963: W2. Print.
  8. “History of the IPPc.” Illinois Prairie Path, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2011.