Thursday, June 28, 2018

Lighthouses and Steel Mills at Calumet River Mouth

(Satellite)

These notes cover Illinois Steel South Works on the north side of the river and Youngstown/Iroquois Steel on the south side. When US Steel was created in 1901, Illinois Steel became US Steel South Works. That is, old photos of the South Works are here and newer photos are in USS South Works. This plant was known as the South Works because Illinois Steel started along the North Branch of the Chicago River (rolling mill) and in Joliet (blast furnaces). It then moved here after the mouth of the Calumet River was developed for navigation.

Scroll down to Youngstown in idaillinois search results.

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.

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.

safe_image for Tugboat on the Calumet river in Chicago
This looks like what’s also in my home movie which I posted last year.

I included the 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

Rod Sellers posted
Iroquois Landing view south photo from Daily Calumet 1972. Calumet River is to the right, Calumet Park is out of picture to the left. South Slip of U. S. Steel, EJ&E Railroad Bridge and 92nd Street Bridge are top right in photo.

Nick Hart posted
After making a pickup and a setout at the Port of Chicago (Iroquois Landing), the "Short Line" makes the short trip back to its yard just a few blocks away. SW1500 #31 leads two bay window cabooses and a train of interchange from the CN. The general cargo ship, Fivelborg (visible along the Calumet River in the background), goes about its business at the port before beginning its trip up Lake Michigan.
November 11th, 2020

Twelfth Photo in a Media Set by Rod Sellers
Rod Sellers 1938 aerial photo of Youngstown Steel. Gas holder, casting long shadow, is at top, center of photo.

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.
[I could not find the gas holder in the 1938 aerial photo.]

Rod Sellers posted
Number 5 Trolley heading west on 95th Street crossing Chicago Short Line tracks just west of Avenue N. The gas holder in the distance at left was part of the Youngstown coke plant. Statue on the corner of Frank Kralj's Tavern at 95th Street and Avenue M and Texaco station at 95th and Ewing are barely visible if photo is enlarged. Attached photo is the tavern and statue. Thanks to Bob Lalich for assistance in identifying photo.

Steve Vanden Bosch posted
Chicago Harbor with a Whaleback and a Lake Michigan Carferry Barge on the near left. This photo is from the Library of Congress.

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.


Rod Sellers commented on his post
A map shows a 1910 view of area.

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....

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.

MWRD posted
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 St in Chicago on June 5, 1924. The pumping station went into service in 1925
[This photo is redundant. (I already have included it above.) But it is worth repeating.]

Dennis DeBruler shared
The bascule bridge on the right was B&O. The two blast furnaces are the original location of the Iroquois Steel Co. But what is the power plant with six smokestacks in the middle of the background? State Line was southeast of here, not east.
Bob Lalich: The building with six stacks was part of the Iroquois Iron plant on the east side of the river, likely the blower house for the two blast furnaces.
[There are some more comments about the building with smokestacks probably being a blower house and not the 100th Street Edison Plant.]

Dennis DeBruler commented on Bob's comment
Agreed. Back then the air compressors were reciprocating and were a couple or three stories tall. They needed a big building.

Rod Sellers posted
95th Street bridge, view east, nearing completion 1903. One of the earliest trunnion bascule bridges built in Chicago. Replaced a swing bridge originally at 95th Street. Tracks are for trolley cars. Replaced by current 95th Street bridge in 1958. Iroquois Iron blast furnace visible at back right. 

June Jurasko commented on Rod's post
Picture you showed June 12.

Daniel Bovino posted
Nighttime photograph (long exposure time) of the Iroquois Iron Works taken from the north bank at the mouth of the Calumet River c. 1913.
Tom Shepherd shared
Bob Lalich: This photo is the old plant at 95th St.
Rod Sellers: Iroquois became Sheet and Tube Company of America then Youngstown Sheet and Tube.

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.

Michael Mora posted three photos with the comment: "Found some circa 1890 photos of Calumet Harbor area under construction and early industry, by Army Engineers on National Archives website. Location not labeled in source." I'm using the images adjusted by David Daruszka.
1
"Ship and vacant lot next to waterway" - Found some circa 1890 photos of Calumet Harbor area under construction and early industry, by Army Engineers on National Archives website. Location not labeled in source. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/148721547


2
"Construction site and ship next to breakwater" - Found some circa 1890 photos of Calumet Harbor area under construction and early industry, by Army Engineers on National Archives website. Location not labeled in source.
https://catalog.archives.gov/id/148721545



3
"Waterway with ship" - Found some circa 1890 photos of Calumet Harbor area under construction and early industry, by Army Engineers on National Archives website. Location not labeled in source. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/148721543
David Daruszka updated
Bob Lalich That is the walkway from the 89th St gate.

Nick Hart posted
After making a pickup and a setout at the Port of Chicago (Iroquois Landing), the "Short Line" makes the short trip back to its yard just a few blocks away. SW1500 #31 leads two bay window cabooses and a train of interchange from the CN. The general cargo ship, Fivelborg (visible along the Calumet River in the background), goes about its business at the port before beginning its trip up Lake Michigan.
November 11th, 2020
Charles Heraver: EJ&E transfer cabooses. Didn't realize they have a pair of them.
Ean Kahn-Treras: Very neat. A google maps overhead view doesn't do this spot justice. Learning a lil bit from this view.
Nick Hart: Thanks. Yeah, it's a pretty big complex. It's no wonder the CN Lakefront Local spends so much time here.
I assume Fuldaborg is a sister ship. This was in July 2017.
(Click the link to see the photo of the ship. Facebook doesn't do a very good job of finding it.)

Ken Morrison posted a photo of a CN local on the South Chicago Bridge lead about to cross 98th Street with the comment: "I didn't know the South Chicago Bridge lead was still active. I thought the marine terminal there was getting its rail service from the Chicago Short Line. Now I know better. E. 98th St. crossing...looking N."
Zaky Joseph: CN takes a lot of lumber cars and other cars to the port there on a round trip originating from Kirk Yard in Gary. Usually during the week, arriving west at the port in the morning and departing east to Kirk later in the morning or afternoon.

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


Rolling first steel rail in South Works in 1880
The first steel rail in America was rolled in the North Works on May 24, 1865. [DeBruler] Rail must have been an important product for the South Works. In the 1980s, the last new mill considered for the South Works was a mill for rolling rail. [Cornell] But evidently management kept insisting on more concessions from the state as well as the union, and it never did get built. [ChicagoTribune] On Apr 10, 1992 the plant was shutdown with fewer than 700 workers remaining. [Facebook]




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