Monday, April 11, 2016

(Photos) Urban Decay in Chicago: The Central Manufacturing District

Chicago's Central Manufacturing District, which opened in 1905, is believed to be the first planned industrial park in the world. The 265 acre district on the South Side is bounded by Ashland Avenue, 35th Street, Morgan Street, and Pershing Avenue.

At its peak it probably employed tens-of-thousands of employees, in 2016 likely only a few hundred work there. In 2014 Landmarks Chicago named the CMD one of the Illinois' ten most endangered historic sites.

While arguably the still the world's candy capital, Chicago does not produce one-third of America's candy. White Stokes Company at 3615 S. Jasper Place was one of those confectioners from Chicago sweets golden age. It abandoned Chicago for Lincolnwood near where I live now--but I don't believe White Stokes exists anymore.

Also on Jasper Place is the abandoned brick building. And after this shot I had to leave because a security guard told me to go.

For decades workers made gum at 3535 S. Ashland made gum for the Wrigley Company. Production was moved to Goose Island on the North Side in 2005. Much of the factory has been razed.

Another look. As with many old manufacturing facilities this one was too vertical and not horizontal enough.

On the other hand no one is rushing to build on this site. Chicago's high taxes and its arcane zoning regulations--which gives the city's 50 alderman de facto power to stop many construction projects--smothers growth. Campaign contributions can grease the wheels, however.

The corner of 35th and Ashland. I remember riding past this area when I was a kid on the way to White Sox games. It was humming with activity.

Chicago has a proud history of cookie baking. Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company, best known for its Sunshine Biscuits, once operated a factory at this building at 3659 S. Ashland. It's now a public storage facility. Dozens were employed here--now maybe five people work here.

Chicago's cookie exodus was a political issue in the run up to last month's Illinois presidential primary. Last year Mexican food giant Mondelez Bakeries announced that it was moving its production of Oreos out of Chicago's Southwest Side to south of the border, costing the city hundreds of jobs.

I don't know what Standard did at Iron Street and 37th Place but they probably employed many more workers than the operators of this document storage warehouse do.

Look at all those boxes inside. Please tell me they have a good sprinkler system in place.

Sometime after the Kelmer Terminal Warehouse at 1337 W. 37th Place closed Mexicali Food Products moved in. They're gone too. So is the water tower.

A foundation and an old chimney on the site of Union Bag and Paper on Ashland. For more photos of this site click on the top related post.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vote Progressive!