La Grange, IL (LAG)
Named after developer Franklin Cossit's former Tennessee cotton farm, La Grange was incorporated in 1879. The village boasts a collection of houses by Frank Lloyd Wright.
25 West Burlington Avenue
La Grange, IL 60525
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 12,181
- Facility Ownership: BNSF Railway
- Parking Lot Ownership: N/A
- Platform Ownership: BNSF Railway
- Track Ownership: BNSF Railway
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The Amtrak stop in La Grange consists of a shelter on the platform near the historic red brick depot, which opened on July 15, 1926, and is typical of those built by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy in that period. Amtrak shares this station with Metra commuter trains. In order to reduce confusion, Amtrak calls this station “LaGrange Road,” because there is second rail station in LaGrange, ½ mile west at Stone Avenue, and served only by Metra. The Stone Avenue station was built in 1901 and has since been restored by the Village of LaGrange.
LaGrange has a prominent place in modern railroad history, by a quirk with a mailing address. Since its groundbreaking in 1935, a facility in the nearby village of McCook has been the home of Electro Motive, one of the top two makers of locomotives. However, with very little residential housing in McCook, the postal service serves the property from the LaGrange post office and it uses that mailing address. So, when locomotives were assembled there from 1935 to 1991, they came to be called “LaGrange-built.” The facility is the worldwide headquarters for Electro Motive Diesel (EMD), until 2005 a division of General Motors. In addition to EMD’s administrative offices, it houses design engineering, emissions testing, rebuild operations and manufacturing of major components; including prime movers (engines), traction alternators, electrical cabinets and turbochargers. The facility includes three main buildings with more than 1.2 million square feet of office and manufacturing space. Amtrak on both coasts uses locomotives built or assembled by EMD.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 spurred movement from that city out towards its suburbs, which include La Grange. Franklin D. Cossit, owned a large wholesale grocery business in Chicago. When his business was destroyed by the fire he decided to develop the 600 acres he had purchased adjacent to the railroad and outside the city while he rebuilt his business in the city. He laid out streets for large lots and built large single-family homes, planted numerous elm trees, donated property for schools and churches, and built a depot at Fifth Avenue. The development was incorporated as the Village of La Grange in 1879. Cossit named the village for the cotton farm in Tennessee where he had lived until it was destroyed early in the Civil War.
Cossit wanted to distinguish his La Grange as a Utopian retreat away from the perceived dangers of the city, and the Great Fire convinced many wealthy Chicagoans to flee the city for this village and similar suburbs in Cook County. La Grange continues today as a suburb of the larger city, and has a sizeable Historic District dating from those early days.
Five of Frank Lloyd Wright’s numerous Illinois houses stand in La Grange. The W. Irving Clark and Robert G. Emmond houses are some of the earliest of Wright’s “bootleg” houses, designed while he was with Adler and Sullivan, and completed in 1892-3. They are similar to the more well-known houses built in Oak Park, but are considered precursors to the famous “Prairie Style.”
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this facility, which is served by four daily trains.
The Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr are financed primarily through funds made available by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Wheelchair Lift