The bridges along the North Branch used to be movable up to, and including, Belmont Avenue. Grebe Shipyard took advantage of this navigation channel because they built some fairly large boats. It used to specialize in building custom luxury wooden yachts. They used exotic woods like teak and mahogany.
And the mahogany was not just for interior use. This boat was listed for $134,500. The listing indicated the hull material was "Double Planked Mahogany" and the deck material was Teak.
|1964 55-foot Flushdeck Pilothouse|
|The interior of the above 1964 boat|
I found someone's recollection that it closed in 1995. [YachtForums, Jeff Ondrla]
I first learned about this shipyard because they made minesweepers during WWII and the Navy installed machinery in the railroad swing bridges on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal so that they could be opened to allow the minesweepers to get to the ocean via the Mississippi River. (The St. Lawrence Seaway would not open until 1959. The Navy also shipped other ships from Great Lakes shipyards down the Mississippi River such as Manitowoc Submarines.) I dug through a lot of luxury yacht photos before I figured out how to search for photos of mine sweepers. A collection of photos of their yachts is at the end of these notes.
Displacement is 270 British tonnes, length is 136', and the crew was 32 men. It had 2 shafts and 2000 hp. 494 ships of this class were built, which was, by far, the largest class.
It struck me that minesweepers are one of the few military assets that continue to do their primary job after a war is won. A lot of mines had to be removed from the English Channel. During the war, they just cleared lanes across the channel.
During the Korean War, they built 3 more that were delivered in 1953-54. [ShipBuildingHistory] So the photo below would be of one of the three ships for the Korean War. During WWII, they also built 20 tugs, and in 1945 they delivered four water tankers that had a displacement of 440 tons and were 174' long. [ShipBuildingHistory]
U.S. Navy minesweeper under construction at Henry C. Grebe & Co. shipyard on the west bank of the North Branch of the Chicago River, June 1952.
[We can see they built them from the bow backwards. I don't see any cranes big enough to lift in pre-built modules like they developed for Liberty Ships.]
|Photo from MaritimeMuseum|
|1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP|
A sampling of the Grebe yachts. Except for the Wanigan III at the end, I have sorted the photos into chronological order.
|Lock Lomond, 1948, 67 foot|
|Full Moon, 1948|
|1950 55-foot flushdeck|
|Millie Jean, 1959|
|Lady Grebe, 1961, 48-foot yacht with a mahogany deck|
|1965 55-foot Flushdeck|
|In case the link does break, I saved this image.|
|In case the link does break, I also saved this image.|