Sharing History

We love working in Dearborn Station and being part of the communities encompassed by this building, Printer’s Row and the South Loop! A lot of that has to do with history…

A Brief History of Calandra Center for Health & Wellness

Teri Calandra started her practice in the South Loop about ten years ago, and has been in Dearborn Station for six of those years. When she started Calandra Center for Health & Wellness (CCHW) in 2017, she happily stayed in Dearborn Station. This location provides a wonderful home base supporting our mission to benefit the health and wellness of individuals, families, and the community we all share. Plus, it’s just really fun to work in a historic landmark! The Dearborn Station Open House on October 5, 2019 will be an opportunity to celebrate this community and its history, and for us to get to know one another better as neighbors.

A Brief History of Dearborn Station

1907 postcard depicting Dearborn Station, Chicago, IL
Postcard of Dearborn Station circa 1907

Dearborn Station, which opened in 1885, is the oldest of six passenger train stations serving downtown Chicago from the late 1800s, and the only one from that era to survive into the present day. Its Romanesque Revival structure was designed by Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz. The ornate and steeply pitched roofs of the original structure (above) were replaced with flat roofs after a fire in 1922.

Kansas City Chief passenger train at Dearborn Station Chicago Illinois USA on February 5, 1968
Kansas City Chief at Dearborn Station on February 5,1968

When it functioned as a train station, the red brick building housed ticket counters, waiting rooms, and restaurants.  In back (to the south) were train platforms shielded by a large train shed (see photo to right).

By 1971, passenger trains had moved to other terminals; a lone commuter service continued using a single platform for another five years.  Dearborn Station was saved from demolition by listing in the National Register of Historic Places on March 26, 1976.

demolition of Dearborn Station Chicago Ilinois train shed in 1976
Demolition of Dearborn Station train shed in 1976

That same year, the train shed was demolished, and the tracks removed.  The city of Chicago gave landmark status to Dearborn Station in 1982.  It stood abandoned into the mid-1980s, when it was converted to retail and office space, with the first tenants arriving in 1986. The former rail yards to the south became the Dearborn Park residential development.

Dearborn Station Today

Dearborn Station, Chicago, IL, USA

From its origins in Chicago’s early days as a rail hub, Dearborn Station has retained much of its original exterior appearance but is now transformed into a different kind of hub. The businesses here provide a diverse array of services to the community: K-8 school, medical clinic, dance studio, beauty salon, alternative health and wellness center (that’s us, CCHW!), yoga studio, bank, shipping and mailbox store, yarn/needle crafts shop, jazz club, restaurant, volunteer services organization, and an escape room.  Other tenants in the building offer professional services in such areas as psychological counseling, finance, law, real estate, and engineering. 

It’s an exciting time to be in the South Loop! The area has emerged from its latest growth spurt with so much to offer residents and visitors alike – a lively mix of new with old.  We look forward to being part of Dearborn Station’s continued transformation and growth as a deeply-rooted and vital resource for the community.

Photo credits:

Photos by Teri Calandra, with the following exceptions:

Links to more on the history of Dearborn Station, including lots of great pictures:

Dearborn Station Website
 
Wikipedia
 
American Rails
 
Chicagology (Chicago History website)
 
Chicago Passenger Railroad Stations of the 20th Century
 
Documentation for placement of Dearborn Station in National Registry of Historic Places
 
Chicago Tribune, August 1, 1985 – Dearborn Station Renovation to Begin

Chicago Tribune, October 10, 1986 – Dearborn Station reopening in 1986 as a commercial retail and office space