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Thorndale History And Rumors, A Monument of Sorts to Community Agitator

thorndale bricolage

While we’re celebrating Thorndale, here’s a few historical facts.

Thorndale, like many of the streets in Edgewater was named for a train station on the former PRR Main train line in Pennsylvania. Edgewater’s founder, John Lewis Cochran, was from Philadelphia and seemingly possessed either a strong streak of nostalgia or absolutely no imagination whatsoever.

Speaking of trains, unlike most other L stations in Edgewater, Thorndale was not part of the original train line to St. Paul. Nor was it part of the original L plan; it was added along with Berwyn due to “community agitation.” A temporary station opened in 1915, with the current station opening in 1922.

The 1910s also saw the opening of Swift Elementary. It too was affected by community demands – its pool was not part of the original design and was added only after local residents petitioned and then raised the $80,000 to build it (about $1.8 million in 2014 dollars).

Another notable Thorndale building, the Broadway Armory, was built in 1916 as, of all things, an ice skating rink. It became an armory for the Illinois National Guard in the 1920s while still providing recreation for the community, including ice skating. It was finally decommissioned in 1978 and became a park district building in 1979.

Senn Park Lincoln Statue

Finally, for you rumor lovers, there’s even a – probably untrue – story that Lincoln once visited the Seven Mile House at the intersection of Ridge, Clark, and Thorndale during his 1860 presidential run. There’s a statue of young Lincoln in Senn Park commemorating it.

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