Construction started about 3 weeks ago, so I'm going to post pictures here as it progresses. The pictures in this post were taken during the past few months, showing the area before construction. About three years ago the Village of New Lenox bought and demolished four businesses along Route 30 for a new retail development to be built in conjunction with a new Metra station. At the time, the mayor said the old depot would be preserved and a new one would be built to the east. After a few delays in the planning process, it was announced last year that the depot would need to be demolished. The "justification" was that the utility lines to the building run under Church Street, which would be closed and torn up, so it would be too costly to relocate them. Metra, who owns the depot, also would not allow an unused building to remain so close to the tracks. The New Lenox Area Historical Society circulated a "Save the Depot" petition, collecting over 4000 signatures, and found a donor who was willing to have the depot moved to his property. The village government then agreed not to demolish the depot while allowing construction to begin nearby.
This display inside the depot provides some historical reference:
The same location in 2018. Note that Dickinson's Granary, built in 1852, still exists and is currently used for medical offices. The bridge over Hickory Creek (out of frame to right) has been replaced twice since the 1905 photo. Note the old baggage door on the east side of the building, replaced with a fixed wall with window but still distinctly visible.
Looking southeast from Platform 2:
Looking east from exit drive to Cedar Road:
Looking north from Church Street:
Looking northwest from parking lot:
View to southwest from west side of depot, showing the corner of Route 30 and Cedar. The four businesses that were demolished were between Route 30 and the depot. Occupying most of the corner was the BP gas station, and Hutchins Cleaners was to its east along Church Street.
View southeast to Church Street from same location:
View to south along Church Street from the depot. Hutchins Cleaners was on the right, close to Route 30. House of Hughes (formerly Bruns) restaurant was on the left.
Looking east from corner of Route 30 and Church. House of Hughes was in the immediate foreground, Pit Stop Tavern was behind the trees.
Looking west from same location. Note the old lantern (near the tree) that stood at the entrance to Hutchins.
Looking north at depot from same location:
While I was photographing, two passengers got in an altercation while waiting for a delayed train. I called the cops to hopefully prevent them from getting on the train, and they both ran away when they heard the sirens. Here is the train arriving after that incident: