RAILWAY MAINTENANCE SHOP


  
  
  
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24216 (709) W. Lockport Street – Aurora, Plainfield & Joliet Railway Maintenance Shop (1904)

Originally the car barn and maintenance shop for the Aurora, Plainfield & Joliet Railway, this contributing structure was extensively remodeled in the 1940s and 50s and adaptively reused for commercial and warehouse purposes. It is a low, two-story brick and concrete block structure with three bays across the front façade. The center bay is the original maintenance shed and is currently split in half, one side has brick veneer and the other has horizontal and vertical wood siding around ribbon windows. The side wings are both additions and built of concrete block. The front façade of the eastern wing is the same wood siding and ribbon windows above a foundation of diamond pattern concrete block. The western wing has a base of the same light orange brick with vertical wood siding above. Side elevations are mostly unarticulated and exposed concrete block.

 

The rear elevation faces Main Street.  Along Main Street, the central bay retains its original Chicago common brick wall resting on a rusticated limestone foundation. There are fragments of three original double hung windows with lintels of low brick arches. There are two service entries cut randomly into the wall. Side wings were added to the 1904 building - the west addition is circa 1948 and the east addition is circa 1955. Both side wings extend to Main Street and exhibit an unarticulated, concrete block appearance.

This site was originally the DuPage Hotel and Tavern, one of two pioneer hotels in Plainfield (the other, the Plainfield Halfway House, was built in 1836 and is listed on the National Register). The hotel was owned and operated by George Bradley until 1854.   In 1873, the site was purchased by George Bennett and used as his homestead until his death around 1902. The current building was built in 1904. As the only remaining building in Plainfield of the Aurora, Plainfield & Joliet Railway, the structure has historical significance despite the architectural changes. The front façade has been altered architecturally but the central mass of the original shed structure is apparent. The original overhead door frame is reportedly intact behind the brick veneer and there are still tracks inside. Originally the structure had two large bays that allowed the streetcars
to enter off Lockport Street. The bays were separated by a brick pier. The late 1940s and mid-1950s modernizations altered the façade with side wings and provided a Mid-Century Modern styling.   It is listed as contributing because those additions are more than 50 years old.

By the mid-1940s, the structure housed the Railoc Company which occupied the structure until 1982 and was responsible for the east wing alterations.  Railoc was founded by Peter Rutten and manufactured grain silo roofs and access systems.  The company still holds several patents on the access systems.

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