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Hinsdale wants to learn history of Metra station wall

The village of Hinsdale wants to learn whether a 400-foot-long stone wall at the Metra Station was a project of the Works Project Administration, an agency that employed millions during the Great Depression to build public roads, buildings and other construction projects.

Finance Director Tim Scott said the village knows the wall was built in the 1930s, but is not sure if it was a WPA project. It also could’ve been built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, another public works program during the 1930s that deployed men to do unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development.

While WPA projects often were marked with plaques, there isn’t one on the stone wall that separates the Metra station parking lot from Burlington Park, Scott said.

“It’s doesn’t mean there weren’t modest projects that didn’t have plaques on them,” Scott said.

The village is trying to learn more about the historical significance of the wall because it is looking at possibly restoring or rebuilding it.  Depending on what the village decides to do, Scott said such a project could cost in the $300,000 range. He said it could involve digging down below ground to reinforce the concrete footing, tuckpointing and putting a new cap on the wall that is a well-recognized feature in the downtown business district.

Whether the wall is historically significant could play a role in what the village decides to do. Scott said the village plans to ask the Hinsdale Historical Society to research the wall’s history. He also said the village has many other capital projects, such as rebuilding roads and separating sanitary and storm sewers, that it needs to do.

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