Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Grant Locomotive Works in Cicero in 1893.

Glenn Miller posted
Glen's comment:
Grant Locomotive Works in Cicero in 1893. The company spent millions of dollars moving from Patterson, NJ but a strike shut them down forcing them into receivership and they closed down. They were only in the neighborhood for a few short years but the neighborhood still carries their name, Grant Works The company built 1,888 locomotives but only 24 were built in Cicero.
That was a million dollars in 1800s dollars. I wonder what that would be in 2016 dollars. I recognize Patterson, NJ, as a hot spot of early locomotive building. Rogers Locomotive Works was also there.

From Railway Preservation News, I learned a fire provided the opportunity to move the business:

From this posting I found the comment:
> Does anybody know if the records of Grant> Locomotive Works still exist in some form> somewhere?
It seems unlikely; the firm moved from Patterson to Chicago and then went belly up back in 1894. Here's a bit from a Web site on Patterson industry:
"Meanwhile, in 1845, William Swinburne quit as superintendent of the Rogers works. His son-in-law, John Cooke, succeeded him. Swinburne became senior partner in Swinburne, Smith & Co., which in 1848 began building locos, its first one being the New York & ErieÂ’s No. 11. Three years later, the firm was reorganized as New Jersey Locomotive & Machine Co. (NJL&M). In 1867 it became the Grant Locomotive Works, operated by Oliver D. F. Grant and his son David B. Grant. Its masterpiece, the America, later Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific No. 109, won first prize, a gold medal, at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1867. Thereafter, the Grant works placed a replica of this medal on the cab of every engine it built.
Seriously damaged by fire in 1887, the Grant Locomotive Works moved to Chicago in 1890 and shut down in 1894. While located in Paterson, it constructed more than 1850 engines."
Another thought: have you tried this book by Ferrell:
A Description of Locomotives Manufactured by the Grant Locomotive Works of Paterson N.J. Author: (Ferrell, Mallory Hope).. Published by Boulder CO Pruett Publishing Co. 1971.

The Old Neighborhood Berwyn Cicero Chicago History Page It says at the southwest corner of 12th & 48th Sts. (Cicero Ave. was known as 48th Ave. prior to 1913)

But that must have been the Grant Works residential neighborhood.

Chicago Tribune Oct. 24, 1902
Larry DeGangi commented on Glenn's posting:
Thanks, my history had a senior moment, but I know I worked at that site for 18 years, a fun job in my younger days.
EMD bought castings from National Castings when I worked there. 
The Tribune article led me to National Mallable Castings Co., which led me to National Castings in Cicero and Melrose Park. I found the address 1400 S Laramie Ave. in ChamberOfCommerce. A 1986 Toledo Blade article indicates the company was still going strong in the 1980s. But now Cicero is a vacant lot. I wonder if it closed when EMD quit making locomotives in the US. (They moved all locomotive assembly to their London, Ontario, plant.) Melrose Park has buildings, but they don't look like heavy industry and the industrial spur is abandoned.

So, as you would probably expect by now, it is time to fire up the way-back machine and go back to 1938.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Comparing the top photo to the aerial photo, it is obvious the Grant buildings have been replaced, at least once.

Because it is more industrial history, I also include the Melrose Park location.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

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