Saturday, December 5, 2015

Ogden Slip and Curtiss Candy (Baby Ruth, Butterfinger)


Since many aerial photos of Ogden Slip show the Curtis Candy Company building and vice-versa, I'm combining the topics.

David Daruszka posted
The Curtiss Candy Company on Illinois Street and the Ogden Slip. Otto Schnering began his business in 1916 with a 5 gallon kettle and a stove in a leased space over a plumbing shop. He named his company using his mother-in-law's name because of anti-German sentiment during World War I. His first confection, known as Kandy Kate, was later renamed Baby Ruth. The Butterfinger Bar soon followed. The company built a new manufacturing facility in Franklin Park in 1966. The buildings in this photo were demolished in 1970. Hedrich and Blessing photo.
Photo dated 1968 from the Encyclopedia of Chicago History via Chicago Past. Original link:

Robert Bied posted
Ogden Slip used to extend much further into the city and had its own drawbridge.

Because I see the "Baby Ruth" lettering on the side, the building in the lower-left corner of the photo is a Curtis plant. Ogden slip is the "canal" down the left side of the picture. The "canal" on the right is the Main Stem of the Chicago River. After some discussion about the date, David commented that it is a 1968 photo in the Encyclopedia of Chicago (EoC)

Jim Heater post processing
Encyclopedia of Chicago
I zoomed in to look at the tracks in the street and discovered that Curtis had more than one plant in this area. No wonder Standard Brands consolidated the manufacturing in Franklin Park after it bought Curtis in 1964. (Another reason is that all of this industry was to be cleared out by the 1980s.) In 1981, Standard Brands merged with Nabisco. In 1990, Nabisco sold the Curtiss brands to Nestle. Note there are two boxcars and two tank cars spotted at the second Baby Ruth plant. And there are some cars spotted on the north side of the street as well.

William B. Ogden was the first mayor of Chicago and an active real estate developer. He built this slip in the early years of Chicago's development to create more dock space on his land. (EoC)

David Daruszka uploaded, p21

Dennis Madia -> Forgotten Chicago, 1937 - 1968
Philip Wizenick commented: "Ogden Slip and Navy Pier. The Outer Drive extension is there so it is after 1937." And the Lake Point Tower, which was completed in 1968, is not present.

Ray Karenas -> Forgotten Chicago
A view looking Northeast. Note the two rather big boats still using downtown docks. A comment indicates they are delivering newsprint to the Chicago Tribune's printing plant. Ray's comment indicated 1970s, but the comments decided this photo was in the late 1960s. A comment of particular interest:
John Curran: Light colored building in top right corner was Kraft Cheese Company headquarters and manufacturing plant, on Peshtigo Court. That building was the birthplace of CHEEZ WHIZ, 1952.

Edward Jarolin ->
Off The Beaten Tack Branchline Railroading
Here is a view of the Chicago Tribune's printing plant to which those ships where delivering newsprint. CarlzBoats indicates the newsprint used to come from Thorold, ON.
Michael Matalis shared
The extra large edition of the Chicago Tribune

Nikki Thornton posted
CHICAGO TRIBUNE upbound Welland canal just entering lock 7 and SELKERK SETTLER in the background downbound just entering lock 6 in October 1985.
Out of my past oldie.
Capt R Metz All most every time I was in the Canal I met the tribune.

John S Thin posted
The Chicago Tribune just south of lock six, Welland Canal, upbound. I believe that is the Selkirk Settler down bound entering the twin locks in Thorold, Ontario.
Mike Charnecki Saw this on ebay- not mine.

Mike Harlan shared
Thomas Schmalz She is riding high
Ronald L Sutton Saw her once in the river with a Huge Deckload of Newsprint Rolls.



The ship Chicago Tribune, tied up at the Tribune dock on the Chicago River, with only half of its cargo of newsprint unloaded as result of a 1952 longshoremen's strike. Photo by Alton Kaste #chitrib #wehadaship#stopthepresses #1950s

1981 Photo from John F. Bjorklund
[Judging from the boxcars, it is servicing the Tribune printing plant. Newsprint delivery is one of the three jobs left for the UP/C&NW North Yard, but it is now delivered to the Tribune's Freedom Center. [comments in a post]
Andre Kristopans North Water St around where Columbus now is. 801 was regular on Pier branch a long time.
Andre Kristopans Only things I know of are Tribune and Blommer Chocolate. Division or North Ave yard still there, serviced by transfer from Proviso via Des Plaines. Only other industry I can think of is a plastics place south of Bryn Mawr on NW line
Dennis DeBruler North Yard:,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3
Blommer Chocolate:!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4... (NS services the second floor.)
Alpha Baking:!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4..., the local now has to shove south from the branch that parallels I-90.
The Google satellite map shows one car spotted at Bloomer and three cars spotted near Alpha.]
I added a red rectangle to this C&NW engineering diagram to indicate where the turnout under the first brown boxcar was.
Diagram from ChicagoSwitching

Mike Tuggle posted
Undated aerial view of the Chicago River looking east from Michigan Avenue.
Pat Dailey: The Mandel Building tucked in where NBC now is and for a while the temporary home of the Chicago Public Library during the transition from what's now the Cultural Center and the Harold Washington Library.

Mike Breski shared
Dennis DeBruler: I knew the Ogden Slip went further West than today's location, but I didn't realize that it was so close to the Tribune Tower until I saw this photos.

Kevin Gumball O'Malley -> Forgotten Chicago
At first I thought the water was very turbulent, which did not make sense to me. After reading a comment about "frozen locks," I decided I'm seeing ice, not turbulence, on the water.
Justin Reynold's added this 1985 photo
Justin's comment:
Here in 1985, Ogden Slip goes west all the way to Columbus. Today it ends at McClurg Ct. Almost 2 blocks shorter.
Note that all of the industries have been torn down to clear the area for the developments we see today. For example, the NBC Tower was built between 1985 to 1989. The white building along the slip is Pugh Terminal, which is now called the North Pier Terminal. It was built between 1905-20 and was renovated to retail and commercial space in 1990 (EoC)

John P Keating Jr. -> Forgotten Chicago

 Chuck Zornig III -> Forgotten Chicago
Chuck's comment: "This is North Pier Terminal. Circa 1940's. From Dad's Root Beer site."

The aerial photo I want, 0bwq08006, did not get scanned. Fortunately, 0bwq08006 overlaps enough to show the slip.

1938 Aerial Photo from IHLAP
(For my future reference, the Facebook query also retrieves a couple of postings on the railroad under buildings.)

A view of the north side of the North Pier Terminal
Don Wetmore posted
CNW 1127 switching the Tribune warehouse [actually, North Pier Terminal] near Navy Pier, Chicago in July 1975 (I was there with my brother and he took the photo).
Photo by John Z Wetmore, collection of Don Wetmore
Don Wetmore shared
Paul Musselman: I recall when those newsprint cars first came out-it was 1972......
Paul Schlichting: There were two tracks here , we would pull the cars in in the inside track and run around them , pull them west to clear the tribune switch and shove them in to trib.. Many times did this with out a radio.. The conductor would walk over to the trib and open the door, the hind man would wait at the switch and the head man would get off in position to pass signs. After we stopped clear of the switch when he was ready the conductor would give you sign with a fusee to shove ahead. Once he started shoving he was shoving blind until he was about half way in the plant.. I could never hold this job but caught it many time off the extra board.
[An EMD repowered Baldwin VO1000.]

John P Keating Jr. ->  Forgotten Chicago, 1998
Glen Miller posted
Chicago on Sept 6, 1955 from Wrigley Tower, east view looking out over Navy Pier in the distance.
Richard Pitchford posted
The Curtiss Candy Company was founded in 1916 by Otto Schnering near Chicago, Illinois. Wanting a more "American-sounding" name (due to anti-German sentiment during World War I), Schnering named his company using his mother's maiden name.
Their first confectionery item was Kandy Kake, later refashioned in 1921 as the log-shaped Baby Ruth. Their second confectionery item was the chocolate-covered peanut butter crunch Butterfinger. In 1931, Curtiss marketed the brand by sponsoring famous air racer, John H. Livingston, in the Baby Ruth Aerobatic Team flying the air-racer Howard "Mike" at airshows, and sponsoring Livingston's Monocoupe racer in the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race.
In 1964, Standard Brands purchased Curtiss Candy Company. Standard Brands merged with Nabisco in 1981. In 1990, RJR Nabisco sold the Curtiss brands to Nestlé.
The Baby Ruth / Butterfinger factory, built in the 1960s, is located at 3401 Mt. Prospect Rd. in Franklin Park, Illinois. Interstate 294 curves eastward around the plant, where a prominent, rotating sign, resembling a gigantic candy bar, is seen. It originally read "Curtiss Baby Ruth" on one side and "Curtiss Butterfinger" on the other. It was changed to read "Nestlé" following the acquisition.

A Chicago Tribune article has more details on the Curtiss Candy Company after a general introduction to candy companies in Chicago.

Update: The Chicago Tribune tied up to the printing plant. Curtiss candy pulling machine. Baby Ruth sign along the river. Bjorklund's photo of C&NW switching Tribune's printing plant with newsprint cars. A 1955 Tribune photo of a freight train on Illinois Street. (There is not much left of St. Clair Street.)

Steve Lewandowski posted
A somewhat grainy unrestored image from an original negative of the dreaded S Curve and Navy Pier June of 1943.

Photo from  LC-USF33-016082-M1 from LOT 1073, Jul 1941
[The viaduct for the S-Curve is on the left. Note that one of the Illinois Central grain elevators is still standing.]

Xavier Quintana posted
Lake Point Tower is surrounded by a rolling fog bank in this 1969 view looking east from the Tribune Tower. Photo by Ray Foster (Vintage Tribune Chicago, IL)

James Stein posted
[I'm so glad the resolution is high. You can see three boxcars on the C&NW tracks to Navy Pier and many cars on the C&NW industrial leads running between the buildings on the north side of the river and the south side of the slip. If you follow the link, you can get to an even higher resolution photo by doing the usual Facebook "dance" of clicking than photo, then clicking the "Fullscreen" arrow in the upper-right corner.]
James Stein posted
LSD the S curve 1960
[Fortunately, you can follw the link with a Facebook member ship to get to a high resolution version of the photo. Then you can see quite a few boxcars on both sides of the road between the buildings between the slip and the river. Furthermore, you can see two gasometers and some railroad yards near the top of the photo.]
David Daruszka posted
Delivering paper to the Chicago Tribune. Early C&NW diesel boxcab.
Steve Winike posted three photos with the comment: "the Curtiss Candy company."
Irvin Galloway I remember the factory near Waveland on Broadway. I believe that it's still there. Recycled Paper Products used the building for years prior to being sold.

Michelle Singer Gilbert My dad worked a 3rd part time job as a night security guard. Did anyone know they made candy for other places besides America? Stuff my dad brought home was never seen on American candy shelves.



John Tkalec posted
1929, this area south of the Chicago River has been completely retransformed and looks nothing like this today.
John Tkalec posted
Gold Coast and Streeterville looking southeast about 1925.
John TkalecJohn and 7 others are consistently creating meaningful discussions with their posts. Grant Park going thru its final landfill stage to incorporate what will be Lake Shore Drive.Dennis Kamalick No Palmolive even. Just the Drake, the Allerton and Trib Tower.
[A couple of the comments have photos looking north along Michigan Avenue.]

John Tkalec's post
Looking south towards the Chicago River from North Water Street. Michigan Ave is to the right. A pick up baseball game is being played on an empty lot which is now Pioneer Court and the Apple Store. Circa 1930.

Dennis DeBruler shared
Across the river is part of Illinois Central's freight handling facility. The gantry crane over team tracks and the row of boxcars next to a freight house were not surprising. But the two coal cars in the foreground were a surprise. I have confirmed that they are setting on C&NW's Navy Pier branch.
Andre Kristopans In that era all downtown buildings heated with coal. Probably used large quantities, so you can assume had large coal bins in basements. A carload of coal would not be an unreasonable amount for a large building or industry to take at one time.

Dennis commented on his share
This 1938 aerial photo is one of the sources I used to confirm the C&NW Navy Pier route.

Jeff Bransky commented on John's post
 Heres an old map showing many of the RR tracks and the pier.

Dwayne Weber commented on Dennis' share
1903 Map

MWRD shared
Navy Pier and the Chicago River from Marina City 1974
Carla Rodgers commented on the posting that MWRD shared

Bill Molony shared
Gene Rebeck And there's the old Curtiss candy plant, which was north of Ogden Slip.

The Ogden Slip is the background of several photos in this Outer Drive posting, especially the dedication photos near the end.

A Chuck Zeiler photo of a switcher with the Ogden Slip in the center background and a grain elevator in the right background.
TBurke commented:
Re: CNW Low Line questions
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2013, 03:46:06 PM »
That last picture of the switcher on the Navy Pier line is great.  It's the first one I have seen that shows the various spurs branching off it including the one to the Tribune's loading dock.  I believe the track on the right that is partly paved over is the former lead to the area between the river and the Ogden Canal which included Curtis Candy Company.

Looks like there is evidence of derailments and cars dragged down the asphalt in between the rails.

And it looks like the Ogden Canal was not yet partly filled in as it was in later years so that it terminated in a line with the western end of the North Pier Terminal (large brick building in the far left background).

Time capsule from an automotive perspective too. That's a '74-'77 Mercury Comet on one side of the white truck and a '76-'77 Oldsmobile 98 on the right, and a '75-'77 Pontiac GrandAm or LeMans in the distance.  Now Mercury, Oldmobile, and Pontiac are all gone too.

VintageTribune photo with a couple of boats docked along the river

(This photo was supposed to be further up in these notes. But a Google bug put it at the bottom of these notes. Instead of wasting my time working around a bug that I reported weeks ago, I leave the photo here as a monument to Google's bug.)
Nicole Thorton posted
20200805 CHICAGO TRIBUNE Welland canal in July 1982.
Out of my past oldieRobert K Tompsett What did it carry? It's got funny sides!Nicole ThorntonAuthor Robert K Tompsett
Pulp wood I believe. 
Extra side height was just for more capacity.
Doug Moran News print by the roll.saw it in Marithon Ont in 1974 when we were unloading fuel from the Lakeshell at the pulp and paper mill.
Dennis DeBruler Here it is docked in the Chicago River by the Tribune's old printing plant. It would be carrying newsprint in this case.

Mike Harlan shared
Ronald L Sutton Saw her in the River once with a deckload of Newsprint.Gordon Woollard when the newspaper was king. I remember the Winnipeg Free Press being draped in black mourning cloth on the death of King George Fifth. Newspapers were the great communicators before radio took over.

Some comments on a post concerning the Franklin Park plant.
Dennis Webster
Still running in Franklin Park.
Ferrero bought the company from Nestle.
Did occasional work there until Covid-19 hit last March.
New owners immediately brought back butter fingers original recipe coating.
Nestle ran it into the ground.
Jeanette Millines: I worked at Curtis Candy in Franklin Park in the early 70s. My job was to sit on a high backless stool alone in room with a long pair of tongs and watch marshmallows come down a conveyor belt and grab the ones that didn't have powdered sugar and drop them in a barrel. I lasted for two days! I went back to college and tried to forget that awful experience!

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