Thursday, July 23, 2015

IH: 1915 Plants: McCormick on South Branch and Deering on North Branch

(Update: I found more pictures of the McCormick Works. The original 1847 Chicago Works.)

I'm working on railroad history now so I don't have time to dig into the history of farm equipment manufactures. But I came across some information while studying some 1915 maps that I want to capture --- the location of International Harvester's McCormick and Deering Works. "In 1902, J.P. Morgan merged the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company, along with three smaller agricultural equipment firms, to form International Harvester (Wikipedia)."

The McCormick Works was north of the Chicago River South Branch downstream of where the Sanitary and Ship Canal branched off. They also have some buildings south of the South Branch and north of the SS Canal. This is where McCormick rebuilt after the 1871 fire destroyed their 1847 plant on the north bank of the Chicago River (ChicagoHistory). The railroad that goes north of the House of Correction and the west part of the IH plant is the Illinois Northern Railroad.

Screenshot, 1873 replacement plant after the fire

pdf copy from 1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p. 349
pdf copy from 1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p. 350

MWRD posted
Historical photo of the week: The Western Ave bridge in the open position for passing boat traffic on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on August 23, 1916.
Bob Lalich That is the McCormick tractor works, which was located on both sides of Western Ave on the canal. This bridge was replaced by a lift bridge just before WWII.
Gary Statkus Dennis DeBruler and Bob Lalich I agree with both of you--it is the McCormick works. It is interesting that in the Wisconsin History photo, in the lower right is the intersection of Blue Island/26th Street and Western Avenue before the elevated the railroad tracks over Western Avenue. Also, the tall tower that had the 'McCormick' sign (behind the tall chimney in MWRD photo) had not yet been constructed.

MWRD posted
A view to the northwest showing a crowd gathered near the Western Avenue Bridge over the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal on April 23, 1928, after a vehicle crashed and ended up on the bank of the waterway near the bridge. In addition to demolishing the vehicle, the crash also damaged the stone approach wall for the bridge.

Terry Gregory commented on MWRD's post
McCormick’s Harvesting Machine Company
Robinson Fire Map

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
By 1938, much of the South Branch had been filled in and a considerably larger plant was built. Whether or not this is International Harvester's plant still needs investigation. The buildings east of Robey are still heavy industry, but they are completely different from the ones shown in 1915. So again I have the issue did IH rebuild their plant or did they sell it and the 1938 buildings are for a different manufacture?

pdf copy from 1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p. 302
The Deering Works is by the Chicago River North Branch south of Diversey Parkway and east of Clybourn Avenue.

(Update: "Founded in 1969 by William Deering, the firm and its production facilities eventually occupied eighty-five acres along the east bank of the North Branch, from Fullerton all the way north to Willington Avenue. This enormous industrial enterprise occupied land formed by filling in clay pits between the river and Clybourn Avenue"
(The Chicago River An illustrated History and Guide to the River and Its Waterways, 2nd Edition, 2006, David M. Solzman, p.81))

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
By 1938, Robey (now Damen) was built through the area and what looks like a housing development was built west of Robey. (A current satellite map shows the same buildings, so checking out these buildings goes on the field trip list. If it is residential housing, it is a rather modern looking layout for 1938.)

John Timothy commented on a MWRD post

"By 1910, when IH grossed about $100 million in annual sales, it had over 17,000 workers in the Chicago area, making it the leading employer in the region. By that time, IH had established its own steel mill on the city's far South Side, which it named Wisconsin Steel." (ChicagoHistory)  "Its 1923 U.S. farm equipment sales of $150 million tripled those of second place Deere & Co." (FarmCollector)  "During the 1950s, when annual sales passed $1 billion, John Deere surpassed IH as the nation's leading maker of agricultural equipment." (ChicagoHistory)

Update:  Bruce Kelleher IH used to have a garage at Logan & Elston.
Mike Breski posted
DESCRIPTION Workers lowering McCormick-Deering 10-20 HP tractors onto railroad cars for shipment using an overhead crane at International Harvester's Tractor Works.
Creation Date:April 12 1923
Dave Ladislas Sr. Mike Breski,any idea which shop this was at?
Mike Breski It didn't have the address there was another similar photo had one. 2600 West 31st Boulevard. Not sure if thats a good address for Chicago.
Dennis DeBruler Mike Breski That is the address of the huge IH plant along the South Branch that combined McCormick and Deering manufacturing in Chicago.
Dennis DeBruler Dave Ladislas Sr. Where were the Roseland Shops? Is that the name of the South Branch plant?
Thomas Mackowiak The loaded cars would have been pulled out of the plant by the Illinois Northern Railway. The Illinois Northern Railway would then interchange the freight cars with the local railroads that would deliver the cars to their destinations. The Illinois Northern Railway was originally owner by International Harvester Company. During its lifetime, the Illinois Northern Railway was owned by a number of different railroads. It ended up in the ownership of the Santa Fe. Its trackage no longer exists but remnant of the tracks are vidible in streets that crossed the tracks on the way to the Santa Fe's Corwith Yard. The bridge that carried the Illinois Northern Railway across the Sanitary and Ship Canal is still in place but unused.

Bob Lalich Dennis DeBruler - IH had a plant located in West Pullman near 120th and Racine.
Dennis DeBruler Bob Lalich That was the Plano Works. It was one of several companies that JP Morgan bought to create IH. It is now a solar panel farm.
As I'm sure you know, but I thought others would find it interesting: In addition to IH owning Illinois Northern Railway, they also owned the Chicago, West Pullman & Southern Railroad to connect this factory and IH's Wisconsin Steel with each other and the outside world.
Mike added two photos to his post.
Workers using an overhead crane to load new McCormick-Deering tractors (including the 10-20 and possibly the I-20) onto railroad cars outside International Harvester's Tractor Works.
Image ID:8263
Creation Date:1930
Creator Name:International Harvester Company
Collection Name:McCormick - International Harvester

Elevated view of men loading hundreds of new Farmall B, Farmall A and International crawler tractors (TracTracTors) onto railroad cars with a crane outside International Harvester's Tractor Works. Some of the crawler tractors appear to be bound for the U.S. military. The factory was located at 2600 West 31st Boulevard.
Image ID:7237
Creation Date:1941
Creator Name:International Harvester Company
Collection Name:McCormick - International Harvester

Deering Works:
1907 Annual Report, p 31
Products: Binders, Headers, Header binders, Reapers, Mowers, Hay rakes, Stripper harvesters, Corn binders, Corn pickers and huskers, Corn shockers, Binder twine, Feed grinders, Huskers and shredders, Knife grinders
Area of real estate: 80 acres; Land occupied: 76 acres; Floor space: 2,405,978 sq. ft.; Employment: 5,080; Annual capacity: 291,500 machines, 23,000 tons twine, 24,000 tons steel [1907 Annual Report, p 31]

McCormick Works:
1907 Annual Report, p 34
Products: Binders, Headers, Header binders, Reapers, Mowers, Hay rakes, Corn binders, Corn pickers and huskers, Corn shockers, Binder twine, Feed grinders, Huskers and shredders, Knife grinders, Sweep rakes
Area of real estate: 229 acres; Land occupied: 153 acres; Floor space: 2,556,603 sq. ft.; Employment: 7,150; Annual capacity: 361,800 machines, 29,000 tons twine [1907 Annual Report, p 34]

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