Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Brach's Candies of Quality


Bob Ewaniuk posted six photos with the comment:
Chicago was once known as the “World’s Candy Capital” and the massive plant that earned the city that name still stands, but it has been years since it produced any sweets, instead sitting abandoned and rotting, moving farther and farther from its sugary beginnings.
The historic Brach’s candy company built their giant Chicago factory in 1923 in order to meet the ever-growing demand for their confections, spending $5 million dollars (an almost unheard of amount in those days) on the complex. When the giant plant was finished, the company was able to produce more than 250 different types of treats and for a time seemed as though they were a candy juggernaut too big to fail. Surviving the Great Depression, a deadly explosion in the 1940s, and an ever changing taste in candy, it was not until the early 2000s that the factory met its match. It was sugar itself that was the downfall of the huge factory as the cost of domestic sugar went through the roof in the 80s and 90s making the giant candy operation unsustainable in the US.
In 2003 the plant finally closed, locking its doors and leaving the sprawling operation empty. While the fate of the huge space was decided, the factory simply began to fall apart with paint peeling and metal rusting under years of neglect. One portion of the plant was finally used in the movie The Dark Knight when it stood in for a hospital that was blown up in 2007.
[The remaining buildings were torn down in 2014. [Crain's has a gallery of eight captioned photos]]

Kevin Piper posted a history and nine images.






1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Lost Illinois Manufacturing posted
The Brach facility in Chicago would be the largest candy factory in the U.S. with 17 acres and 2,500 employees.

Andrew Lennie posted (Nov 2013)
Well it's official. As reported by WGN News earlier this year, demolition has finally begun on the old Brach's factory. By the looks of it, must've just begun this week.
Thomas E. Zimmerman They were using a Bobcat from the inside to break down all the exterior walls and brick. I imagine they are trying to salvage the Chicago Brick
Brian Peterlinz People have told me that Chicago brick is highly valued-- recycled and shipped everywhere. When I was still a teacher, at Spencer Elementary, I worked just a few blocks from the Brach's factory, which was still open.
Scott Greig Very much so. Even at the demolition of an ordinary brick house or two-flat the crews will be palletizing the salvaged Chicago Pinks. (I understand face brick is generally not salvaged.)
John Powers Brachs pretty much left because sugar is cheaper in Canada than it is in the USA, due to the tariff on imported sugar. Mayor Daley in a rare moment of common sense was campaigning all over the place trying to get rid of this awful tax.

It wasn't so much irresponsible ownership as it was irresponsible Government that drove out Brachs.

Mitchell Brown I don't know that you can blame the sugar tariffs on government. You can however blame it on private companies/corporations. Its the corporate farmers who grow and manufacture sugar who lobbied congress to protect their industries. Lobbying is protected by the First Amendment and will never be gotten rid of. Especially since corporations are considered people ever since Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific RxR (1886). Don't blame government, blame the private interests that subvert it for their own financial gain.
John Powers Nonsense. Government enforces this crooked swindle. Theoretically at least, politicians are adults and responsible for their own behavior.

If it was just a competitor, I could compete against him. It is the Federal government, and it is nearly impossible to compete with their overwhelming corruption.

Mitchell Brown You're wrong. If you NEED to blame the gubmint then of course, by all means knock yourself out. Corporations are the ones responsible for 3/4 of what's in the Federal Register. The "rules" were lobbied for by private corporations/private interests. Private corporations/private interests are the ones who keep the rules in place. In fact, the sugar subsidies were recently up for renewal and since I work from home I keep CSPAN on. I got to watch the hearings and the various legislators argue their cases. It was bipartisan - anyone with Big Agriculture in their districts were relaying the arguments of the interests they represent. It wasn't the "gubmint" doing this. But, this is my view - I know you have yours - consensus will never be reached. Happy Thanksgiving.
John Powers Who enforces tariffs, government or private industry? Government.
Mitchell Brown Government does of course. Tariffs don't come about out of thin air. If no one calls for the tariffs there are no tariffs. Who enforces freedom of religion? Who enforces freedom of speech? Who enforces public accomodation laws? Who came up with the idea of writing off your mortgage interest? Mortgage lenders and home builders, not politicians. They're simply the ones who do the people's bidding. Laws aren't written overnight either.
Dominic Lombardo The Mars Candy Company factory is still there and open at 2019 N. Oak Park Avenue in Chicago - just south of the Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children (2211 N. Oak Park Avenue), and just a little to the north of where one of Egidio Silveri's Go-Tane gas stations used to be (though the Go-Tane station was on the west side of Oak Park Avenue).

And, by the way, Mars Candy Company (along with Berkshire Hathaway Incorporated) also bought out Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company on 28 April 2008. The current incarnation of Mars, Incorporated encompasses not only candy and gum, but also a number of products for pet consumption - and, oddly enough, Uncle Ben's Rice.

Steven Pasek posted
I worked off of Lake and Cicero...would pass by the old Brach’s Candy Factory everyday...this was just before they started demolition.
Hans Wolff: Sad day. Bought by a german confectionery company as a ploy to import their confections here by bypassing tarifs and such .. brought an entire shipload over only to be told they couldnt sell here without proper paperwork. Ended up giving it all away to employees as a bonus. I personally inhaled about 30 lbs worth as the employee friend of mine gave me his as hes a diabetic .. out of spite they shut the plant down.
Cheryl Winski Rottmann

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A (very) amateur video of the explosion from a different angle (source)

They also had a plant in West Chicago. The remnant of a spur on the right from the Chicago Great Western used to go to a Brachs plant. (The other spur went to Clow Pipe.)
If you zoom in on the right end of the spur, you can see that some of the track is still left.
Larry Hagstad commented on Mark's posting: "Clow was gone by the early 80's and Brachs switched to all trucks until they pulled out of the building in the late 90's."

American Urbex (This is not photos of a decrepit building. It has a lot of text and photo history.)

Union Pacific Railroad Buys Vacant Brach's Candy Plant Site In Austin (source)

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