Thursday, June 28, 2018

Lighthouses and Steel Mills at Calumet River Mouth

(Satellite) I'm combining topics in a single post because Google's author's search function breaking April 3, 2018 has me wondering what else I'm going to break.

In 1910, Iroquois Steel built south of the Calumet River entrance. It expanded to the north by filling in the lake. In 1923 the company became the Youngstown Steel and Tube Company. "In 1951 the plant had 3 blast furnaces, 70 coke ovens, and 800 employees. Its main products were coke and pig iron....In the late 1970s, the Port District built a $15 million container handling facility, Iroquois Landing, on the property. It was designed primarily for containerized cargo." [SEsideIndustrialHistory, p22]

SEsideIndustrialHistory, p22
I believe the plant started south of 95th Street and grew north as more of the lake was filled in. A 1907 view shows two blast furnaces south of 95th Street. IDAillinois has an index page and search results.

I included the USS South Works that was north of the river as well to show that they also seriously polluted the air.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Zooming in on the area south of 95th in the lower-left corner of the above image shows that Youngstown had abandoned that area in favor of a larger facility on the landfill.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

The attempt to be a container port obviously failed. But in 2000 that area was actively servicing ships and barges.
Global Earth Pro with timeline set for 9/26/2000


The "major construction" mentioned below would have been the steel plant.

Paul Petraitis posted two photos with the comment: "Calumet River Harbor 1876 before major construction."
Paul Petraitis From "the calumet Panorama" CHS, unknown photographer, shot from the old lighthouse looking south


1
Paul Petraitis Looking SSE from atop the old lighthouse (b.1851 I believe?)...the "original mouth" has been blocked by beach sand and the current mouth (in the foreground) was dug by Col. Bowen's Dock and Dredge Co that had their offices on nearby Houston...that's the Indiana dunes in the distance on the left...I think the Indiana State line is just beyond those whispy trees on the beach there...but whose 2 story house is that on the right?
[And a two masted schooner was trapped when the original mouth closed?]

2
The mouth of the Calumet River was originally much closer to Ewing Avenue, if not 95th Street. The channel we see now is between landfills by US Steel on the north and youngstown on the south.

Michael Mora posted four photos with the comment: "Photos of first lighthouses located on north shore of Calumet River/Harbor from 1851-1976."

1
Circa 1876, first lighthouse on north shore of river, around 91st and Harbor Ave, lhdigest.com.Recommended by Navy in 1837 report, built in 1851 using stone quarried near Blue Island and transported down river by barge. Only lit 1852-55, and 1873-76, when Army Engineers built harbor with piers on both sides of river. From 1855-73, sold to major landowner George W. Clarke, rented to Oehmich family who owned property across the river. Then government bought it back.

2
Circa late 1890s, old lighthouse next to U.S. Life Saving Service station (later U.S. Coast Guard), engulfed by South Works plant, loc.gov. In 1876, old lighthouse replaced by wooden light tower at head of north pier and goes dark again, for good. 1880s, harbor enlarged, pier extended more than 1000 feet lakeward. Light tower now known as Calumet Pierhead Light. 1890, U.S. Life Saving Service station built. South Works soon filled in the lakefront through 200 feet from end of pier.

3
1914, pierhead light with fog signal bell, National Archives, catalog.archives.gov. In 1898, wooden light tower replaced with cast-iron tower. Fog signal added, first steam whistle then automated bell that rang every 20 seconds. After 1906, pierhead light downgraded because outer harbor and long breakwater built north of river with lighthouse at tip over 1 mile lakeward.

4
1949, pierhead light on lakefront/tip of South Works land, lighhousefriends.com. In 1920s, last stub of north pier removed, pierhead light moved to tip of South Works/north shore of rivfer. Pierhead light stood sentinel until 1976. Struck by a ship, then demolished by Coast Guard.

Rod Sellers commented on Michael's posting
South Chicago 1874, lighthouse at right
David W Swanson This drawing shows one of the slips on the south side of the river. My father once told me that sturgeon fishing boats docked there.
Paul Petraitis posted
The harbor in 1928
Rod Sellers posted
From 1930 Chicago Street Guide.  Notice any differences with current situation?
[The group is public, so you should be able to see the answers by clicking the "posted" link.]
Tony Margis posted
Back, back, back... 1892 map by Rufus Blanchard
What's missing in this picture? Everything, right?
Tony Margis posted
Compared to a 1929 map of the area....
Tony Margis posted
Harbor entrance and Illinois Steel Works, So. Chicago. Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher.
Date Created/Published: [between 1890 and 1901]
Bob Lalich Taken from the old EJ&E swing bridge prior to construction of the Iroquois/YS&T plant.
Dwayne Stegner posted two images with the comment: "1942 Calumet River."

1

2, cropped
MWRD posted
Historical photo of the week: Construction of the MWRD’s 95th Street Pumping station viewed to the east from atop a gas tank on Baltimore Ave just south of 95th Street in Chicago on June 5, 1924. The pumping station went into service in 1925.
Bob Lalich The blast furnaces in the background were Iroquois Iron's furnace plant south of 95th St. Iroquois built a bigger furnace plant at the mouth of the Calumet River around 1912 and once completed, abandoned the plant seen here.
Michael Mora posted
Near US Steel South Works at mouth of Calumet River, 1941-42. Looking east/southeast from 91st and Green Bay/Avenue O at Youngstown Sheet & Tube plant across the river. Old Coast Guard station and EJ&E railway swing bridge on far left. By Earl H. Reed, School of Art Institute of Chgo, Archival Image Collection
Bob Lalich The photo was taken near South Works, but the blast furnaces and coke plant seen in the background here were Youngstown Sheet & Tube across the river from South Works. The old Coast Guard station can be seen on the left edge.
Mike Kemp Bob Lalich so Youngstown used to be on the land that became the Iroquois Landing port? I didn't know that!
Bob Lalich Mike Kemp - yes, the plant at the mouth of the river was built on landfill by Iroquois Iron around 1912. Iroquois had outgrown their first Chicago plant at 95th St and the river. Iroquois morphed into Steel & Tube Co of America, then YS&T. The South Chicago plant made pig iron, no steel conversion. It closed around 1960.
Charles Nosich I can see that gas tank/tower off in the distance at 97th & Baltimore
Bob Lalich Charles Nosich - the gas holder [gasometer] in this photo was located at the mouth of the Calumet River. It was part of the YS&T coke plant.

Tony Margis posted
Steel Mills at mouth of Calumet river Chicago. (1939)
William Bork Youngstown Sheet and Tube.
[Looking SE]

Michael Mora posted
"Aerial View of Chicago, 95th and [Ewing], looking North, 1930." Chicago Aerial Survey, by Percy H. Sloan. Newberry Library, Chicago and the Midwest Collection http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/…/nby_…/id/5327/rec/87
Larry Grzywinski Sorry but that is not 95th and Ewing Ave. 92nd across the river, Ewing in the foreground.
Michael Mora Just quoting library's photo caption. It says 95th and "Irving" so I did correct street name mistake. Probably no one who knew Southeast Side at Newberry Library when this was archived there. But the 1930 airplane was probably flying over 95th and Ewing when photo taken. A few other aerial photos in this series are captioned that way too.

Rod Sellers commented on Michael's post
Another photo from the same collection. 108th and Calumet River looking NE 1930. Great view of northeast portion of Calumet Park still being filled in for expansion.
Ernest J. Gonzalez Rod Sellers doesn’t even look like Republic Steel was built yet.
Rod Sellers Map only extends to about 112th Street. Republic (formerly Interstate Iron and Steel) in 1930 would have been south of this at around 118th Street.
Larry Grzywinski The part of Republic Steel north of 116th Streel was constructed in the early 1940's.


(new window)  It goes all the way down past the grain elevators.




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