Allée Verte/Groendreef

Allée Verte/Groendreef
   A country lane that joined Brussels to Laeken along the east side of the Willebroeck Canal, the Allée Verte was lined with elm trees and was the route of grand processions to the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Laeken led by Archduchess Isabella in the early 17th century. The thoroughfare was enlarged several times, including in 1703, and, from the mid-17th century, it was the preeminent promenade site of the aristocracy, a status that it lost following creation of the Bois de la Cambre and the avenue Louise in the mid-19th century.
   The city's first railway station was inaugurated here on 5 May 1835. An original primitive wooden structure featured six platforms. Beginning in 1850 the Allée Verte Station was gradually supplanted by the Gare du Nord. Additional land was acquired and more tracks were laid out but the station was increasingly used solely by workers and primarily for freight traffic, handled by a vast station for storage and shipment of goods built about 1860. The latter was later supplanted by the Gare du Tour & Taxis. The Allée Verte was closed in 1953 and the buildings were razed in 1955. A heliport was built here that was later replaced by large parking lots. The Yser metro station is located on the site.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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