Does Loyola pay to have its name on a CTA station?

It’s a common question I hear on train rides, passing the Loyola CTA Red Line station. Sometimes it’s asked by Loyola students new to Chicago. Other times, it’s asked with an air of bitter contempt, by people who detest the recent land purchases and construction projects that Loyola University Chicago has slated for Rogers Park and Edgewater Beach—and yes, there’s more land grabs and development planned in the coming years.

You’ve probably asked the question, too. “Does Loyola pay to have its name on a CTA station?” The answer is, “No.” That’s because the station is not named for the university.

Like most CTA stations in Chicago, ‘L’ stops are named after the streets they straddle. In this case, Loyola ‘L’ station is named after Loyola Avenue.

Loyola ‘L’ station from October 20, 1925. From a historic collection of JJ Sedelmeier.

In the late 1800s, Loyola Avenue was called Hayes Avenue. The street’s name was changed in 1910 to honor the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Basque solider Ignatius of Loyola, whose religious brothers and priests lived in the area. A largely Catholic community, neighbors joined the brothers and priests in worship at St. Ignatius Church,¬†founded in 1906.

Established in 1870 as St. Ignatius College, Loyola University Chicago started moving to Rogers Park in 1912, from its original home near the University of Illinois-Chicago.

The original Hayes Avenue station, at the same site, was a street-level platform and wooden house. As shown in this 1910 photo, the station served three-car trains of the Northwestern Line. Without a third rail, trains were powered with trolley wires above. From a historic collection of JJ Sedelmeier.

Fast forward to May 2012, the CTA will begin rehabilitation of the station’s platform and house interior. Loyola University Chicago is donating land and money to construct an open public plaza entrance. The Red and Purple Modernization project, a more permanent reconstruction of Chicago’s ‘L’ railway and stations, includes other improvements to make Loyola a Loop Express transfer station.

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