Stratford Hills

Cook-DuPage County line and Vallette Street, City of Elmhurst

History:

County Line was not one of the original stops from the railroad's inauguration on August 25, 1902, but rather as one of a group of stations that were opened shortly thereafter (by October 1902).1 The station was typical of the AE&C's early local stops and consisted of nothing more than two short low level wooden platforms situated on the Cook-DuPage county line. A small shelter was later added to the eastbound platform in addition to a flag stop semaphore on each platform.

The station's name changed from County Line to Stratford Hills to reflect its location within the new Stratford Hills subdivision in eastern Elmhurst. (This change in name occurred sometime prior to June 28, 1919, as an article in the Forest Park Review from that date already refers to the station as “Stratford Hills.”2)

In 1931—in order to serve the growing population of Elmhurst which had been steadily expanding east at this time—the CA&E opened a new station, situated only a few hundred feet to the west at Poplar Avenue. Poplar, with its attractive stone fa├žade, matching westbound passenger shelter, and convenient location at a grade crossing (something Stratford Hills perpetually lacked), almost certainly drained away whatever small patronage the Stratford Hills station had.

The end finally came as part of a World War II materials saving program that the CA&E had adopted. The railroad began studying the elimination of non-essential stations and crossings and, in March 1943, the Budget and Expense Committee took a complete inspection of the railroad. The result was the decision to close sixteen stations including Stratford Hills. When this proposal was brought before the Illinois Commerce Commission, they suggested that instead of abandoning these stations outright (which would require a formal petition and public hearing), the railroad could achieve nearly the same end by greatly reducing the number of scheduled stops at each of the selected stations. Taking this advice, the CA&E drafted time table #75 which was scheduled to go into effect Sunday, October 31, 1943, but before copies were made available to the public, passengers had already begun to circulate petitions in opposition to the service cuts. Due to the complaints, the ICC halted the implementation of time table 75 and held several hearings on the matter.

Following public input, the schedule reductions were scaled back considerably. Stratford Hills (along with Emory) had little—if any—support voiced for it. It was subsequently written out of the next time table3 and demolished sometime thereafter.

Sources:

  1. "The Aurora, Elgin & Chicago Railway." Street Railway Journal 4 Oct. 1902: 567. Print.
  2. "Maennerchor Picnic." Forest Park Review [Forest Park, IL] 28 Jun. 1919: 1. Print.
  3. Plachno, Sunset Lines - History 355