On May 28, 2017, a fire caused major damage to the historic Morgan Park Metra Rock Island station. According to Rock Island Director of Engineering Mike Tempinsky, officials believe that the cause of the fire was a garbage can adjacent to the station set ablaze by vandals.
“Structural engineers have assessed the severe damage from the fire at the 115th Street/Morgan Park Station and determined, unfortunately, the structure is damaged beyond repair,” officials said. “Metra is extremely disappointed that this building cannot be saved because we understand it has served as a community anchor for 125 years. However, we have no choice but to remove it and expect to do so shortly.” (Garmes, 6/27/17)
Located at 1982 W. 115th Street, the 125 year old station was designated as a historic landmark in 1995 by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks (CCL). The 91st, 95th, 99th, 107th and 111th street stations were also landmarked at that time. Originally part of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad, the Morgan Park Station and other nearby stations were constructed in the late 19th and early 20th century and were generally built in a Colonial Revival Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque architectural styles similar to the nearby residential homes.
At the July Commission on Chicago Landmarks commission meeting, Preservation Chicago requested that the to-be-constructed replacement station be modeled as closely as possible to the historic station house lost to fire. Once a landmark, always a landmark.