Leaving the station? Asia on Argyle sign and pagoda coming down with Red Line renovations


The “Asia on Argyle” sign and pagoda that have adorned the Argyle Street L stop for years will be removed and put in storage this week.

The Argyle station is one of four North Side Red Line stops receiving upgrades as a part of the multibillion-dollar Red and Purple line modernization program.

Crews working on the overhaul will remove the pagoda and sign Tuesday and Wednesday in Uptown. The pieces will be stored until a new location is determined, according to the Chicago Transit Authority.

The Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations are being rebuilt and replaced by modern stations with wider platforms, brighter lighting and elevators serving passengers with disabilities. The renovations started in 2021 and are expected to be completed next year.

West Argyle Street will be closed from North Broadway to the CTA tracks so Walsh-Fluor, CTA’s contractor on the project, can remove the sign and pagoda.

“We understand how important these pieces are to the community, and we are working diligently to ensure both the pagoda and the sign are safely and securely preserved as we continue demolition in the area,” CTA said in a message to residents who live near the station.

Charlie Soo, a businessman nicknamed the mayor of Argyle Street according the Chicago Reader, spearheaded the project to build the pagoda and fix up the station in 1991.

The “Asia on Argyle” street was added by the Chicago Department of Transportation in 2013. At the time, many residents were appalled by the sign’s design.

Most of the comments on a 48th Ward Facebook post about the sign slammed the design choice and questioned its $260,000 price tag, though some commenters praised the city for updating the train stop.

“This looks like a ransom note that was cut and pasted from a magazine,” one commenter wrote.

The Chicago Department of Transportation owns the “Asia on Argyle” sign and will work with the CTA to determine where it should be displayed. CTA will work with 48th Ward Ald. Leni Hanaa-Hoppenworth’s office to identify a new home for the pagoda.

The section of Argyle Street between Broadway and the tracks will close again the week of Oct. 10 for viaduct demolition.


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