The station was opened on 8 July 1889 by the Metropolitan Railway as the company's temporary northern terminus when the railway was extended from Rickmansworth. The line had been intended to cross the Chilterns and connect to main line companies serving the north. From Chesham the line would have continued north to connect to the London and North Western Railway 's Euston-Birmingham line at Tring. However, before work was begun, the MR chose an alternative route across the Chilterns via Aylesbury. The line to Chesham was retained as a branch from the new route and construction began in late 1887. Although the MR continued to buy land between Chesham and Tring for some years after the station's opening, the route was never extended further. The station originally had a goods yard and two platforms, but the goods yard was closed in July 1966, and one of the two platforms was closed in November 1970. The goods yard site is now the car park for the station and a Waitrose supermarket.
Contrary to popular belief, the town is not named after the river; rather, the river is named after the town. The first recorded reference to Chesham is under the Old English name Cæstæleshamm meaning "the river-meadow at the pile of stones" around 970 in the will of Lady Ælfgifu, who has been identified with the former wife of King Eadwig. She held an estate here which she bequeathed to Abingdon Abbey. Chesham is noted for the religious dissent which dominated the town from the 15th century. In 1532 Thomas Harding was burnt at the stake in the town for being a Lollard and heretic. From the 17th century Chesham was a focus for those dissenting from mainstream religion. Quakers met in the late 17th century in Chesham and in 1798 they built the current meeting house. The first Baptists' meeting dates back to about 1640 and a place was registered for services in 1706. On 16 and 17 August 2014 the branch line celebrated its 125th anniversary of operating. It was celebrated using London Underground's first steam locomotive, Metropolitan 1. The station has toilets, a car park, payphones and a waiting room.
Connections: The station is served by the 4, 52, 62, 336 and 353 local bus routes.