History of the Building

Since 2010, Comfort Station has been operated by an all volunteer staff as a multidisciplinary art space. As of 2016, the programming team has obtained 501c3 status as a non-profit organization, which works in conjunction with Logan Square Preservation, the current lease holder of the Comfort Station building.

 

c.1925

c.1925

In the early 1920s, the West Chicago Parks Commission, one of the forerunners of the modern-day Chicago Park District, formed an advisory council. The first recommendation that council made was for a series of comfort stations through the Park Boulevard System. The stations were originally envisioned as a series of warming buildings/public restrooms and were located along transit lines. Each of the original park agencies (West, South and North) had designs for prototypical buildings -- police shelters, gardening sheds, field houses and comfort stations.

The Logan Square comfort station was one of nine identical Tudor-style West Parks Public Comfort Stations constructed in 1926 and 1927. Only two are still standing; the second located along Austin Avenue in Columbus Park.

In Logan Square there were two other stations, one at Kedzie Boulevard and Fullerton Avenue and the other at Armitage Avenue and Humboldt Boulevard, each located on the southwest parkway at the intersection. Three more were located in Humboldt Park and the last at the intersection of Independence Boulevard and Roosevelt Road.

No records have yet surfaced noting when the stations were demolished, bu there are indications that their utility was short-lived. The Logan Square Comfort Station is identified as "vacant" as early as 1940 and was shortly there after converted for use as a "Tool Shop." An exterior canopy (see below) was added to the front of the building in the 1940s to allow commuters to continue using it as shelter even though the interior was closed to the public.

c.1940

c.1940

It escaped demolition multiple times in spite of various plans for re-use and re-design of Logan Square that were floated over the decades. When the Chicago Park District transferred the Boulevard System to the City of Chicago, the Comfort Station continued its use as as shed. Through the early 2000s the Chicago Department of Transportation continued to store landscaping equipment in the building used to maintain the square and boulevards.

In 2005, Logan Square Preservation began an active campaign to restore the Comfort Station. Through partnership with the City of Chicago and 35th Ward Alderman Rey Colo
n, TIF funds were used to clean and restore the building to its original 1926 appearance including complete cleaning and tuckpointing of brick, a new clay tile roof, stucco, tudoring, copper gutters, and restored windows.