Unlike the station serving Oak Ridge Cemetery, the Mt. Carmel station had a station building and was located within the cemetery grounds. The terminal building not only contained a waiting room and ticket office, but also a dining room.
Electric Railway Review
Section 37 near Section 17: Mount Carmel Cemetery, Village of Hillside
- Address: TBD
- Established: March 18, 1906
- Original Line: Cook County & Southern Ry
- Rebuilt: 1931
- Previous Names: N/A
- (View location)
Following the success of the Metropolitan Elevated’s funeral service to Concordia and Waldheim Cemeteries, the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago Railway sought to duplicate their results. To this end, on November 23, 1905, AE&C officials incorporated the Cook County and Southern Railroad1 to construct a branch line to Oak Ridge and Mt. Carmel Cemeteries that would connect with the AE&C main line at Bellwood.
Catholic officials at Mt. Carmel Cemetery were so pleased with the prospect of direct rail service that they offered a portion of the cemetery grounds for the placement of the terminal. Construction occurred in February 1906 and the line opened on March 18, 1906.2
The Mt. Carmel terminal was appropriately located for funeral trains being situated within the cemetery grounds, several hundred feet west of Wolf Road. The station itself was a single story, T-shaped building with a shingle-clad, gabled roof with dormers. The walls were cement on steel lath with the gables featuring half-timbering, giving the station a Tudor revival feel. In addition to a ticket office, the station also contained a waiting room and a dining area. The single track line split into two east of the station and trains berthed at one of two high-level platforms on the south side of the station. The primary platform was long enough to berth four cars while the secondary platform was shorter. A ramp at the northeast corner of the building led down from platform level. The total cost of the station’s construction was $5,500.3
While the station’s primary purpose was to serve as a destination for chartered funeral trains, it also saw daily use as the Mt. Carmel branch hosted its own local service. Regularly scheduled service consisted of a single-car shuttling between Mt. Carmel and Bellwood.3 This shuttle operated on thirty minute headways on weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.2 On Sundays and holidays direct service was provided from the Fifth Avenue [Wells Street] Terminal.
On October 1, 1926, the Chicago Rapid Transit began running trains on the Westchester extension over the portion of the CA&E’s bypass route that had been completed.4 This service terminated at Roosevelt Road and Westchester Boulevard in Westchester, just 1.3 miles from Mt. Carmel (and a scant six-tenths of a mile from Oak Ridge). Given the short distances between the two lines, the CA&E ended the daily shuttles between Mt. Carmel and Bellwood on October 31,5 and instituted a replacement bus service the following day.6, 7 This bus route continued to provide connections for rail passengers, but instead connected with the new Westchester “L” station on Roosevelt Road instead of the Bellwood station. The other services remained unchanged.
By the 1930s, the situation had changed and the cemetery was no longer interested in having a station on site, instead wanting the land back for further internments. The CA&E was also interested in closing the station as Wolf Road was undergoing paving and the railroad did not want the costs associated with such a crossing. The mutual solution was the construction of a new station on the east side of Wolf Road. A request for this change was presented to the Illinois Commerce Commission and on April 30, 1931, permission was granted.8
The old station was demolished and the land inside of the cemetery grounds was vacated while a new terminal was established on the east side of Wolf Road where funeral parties were received.
This new station would ultimately prove to be short lived. Although the express trains from Wells Street were operated as late as 1931, the demand for cemetery service was evaporating. In December 1933, the Illinois Commerce Commission gave permission to abandon the shuttle bus which connected to the “L” station.9 The last recorded funeral charter occurred in July 1934. The line west of IC overpass fell out of use and the platform was eventually removed8 sometime in the late 1930s.