Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Lost/Interlake/Acme/By Products Coke Corp

(Satellite, west of Torrence between 110th to 116th.)

(Update: A web site about this coke plant. I just scratched the surface of these pages. But the interview with D.J. Podgorny caught my eye. And the Resources page provides the "how it works" information that I have been wondering about.)

Rod Sellers posted, cropped
By Products Coke plant, 1907. Eventually became Acme Coke Plant.

Tony Margis posted
Acme Coke Plant, aerial view, in 2004, 109th & Torrence.

safe_image for ACME COKE PLANT

This coke plant supplied the ACME iron plant, which supplied the ACME steel plant.
(I added the wwCalRiver label to make it easier to access all three Acme plants and because they did build a conveyor over the river to transport coke from here to the iron plant.)

A comment Rod Sellers added to his post
Acme Coke Plant 112th Torrence Avenue. Top of coke ovens Battery #1. Coal was loaded into the ovens through the round openings in the top of the ovens. Attached photo shows view from top of Battery toward the coal bunker (large concrete structure) which loaded coal into a Larry Car which then loaded the individual coke ovens where it was baked into coke, the fuel for blast furnaces.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Rod Sellers posted
East Side / South Chicago #5 trolley at approximately 116th and Ewing view WNW. Republic Steel blast furnace and coke plant in background.
[The gasometer on the left side of the photo would be for Wisconsin Steel. The "dimmer" one that is left of center would be for Interlake/Acme/By Products Coke Corp.]

Rod Sellers posted
Where am I?
Rod commented on his post
Answer: Acme Coke Plant coal car rotary dumper. Attached photo shows dumper in May 2004 a couple of years after plant closed.

acme coke plant: car dumper

map of By Products Coke Corp (predecessor to Interlake and Acme)

Coal bunker and battery #1 of coke ovens from ACME Coke Plant share
Rod Sellers comment on a share

Rod Sellers posted
 Torrence Avenue approximately 112th Street view north, 1938. Wisconsin Steel on the right, Acme / Interlake Coke Plant on the left. First building on the left (partial view) was the light oil building. Next building on left is the gatehouse and entrance to the coke plant. Attached photo is gatehouse and entrance to plant a few years after the plant closed.
Lucille Tidmarsh Torrance ave, I went to the building on the left to apply for a job in the office, I was all dressed up but that building was so grimy and dirty I had to stand the whole time, not a clean chair in the place.
Rod Sellers commented on his post
Attached photo is gatehouse and entrance to plant a few years after the plant closed. Photo by Rod Sellers Sept 14, 2004.
Street View

Bob Green commented on Rod's post
Eight photos from an album by Gabe Argenta. Since he considers being copied as flattering, I'm more than willing to flatter him.








Rod Sellers posted
Where am I?

Rod Sellers commented on his post
Quench Tower at Acme Coke Plant, August 2004. Coke plant is located at 11200 Torrence Avenue but the tower is located on the south portion of the property, approximately 115th or so. The tower was used to dump water on the freshly baked coke to stop it from burning any further. The upper portion of the tower was made of wood and over the years has fallen apart and is no longer standing. Attached photo was taken in May 2004 a couple of years after the plant closed.
John Orlando Plant closed in 2002.
Ernie Sanchez As a child riding in the car with mother I believed that the tower made clouds, which caused it to rain. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan of tower. My great grandfather Giovanni DiFillipo worked there if it is the gas plant near 112th and Torrence.
Roger Yates The old Republic Steel plant on Ave "O" had a similar coke making facility on the north end. I worked there as a millwright helper during the summers of 1969, 70, 71 and 72. Recall the huge cloud of steam that would erupt when the hopper car loaded with red-hot coke was "quenched". A great job meeting interesting "real" people and learning what "real work" is all about. For a good read...."Fireflies in a Jar...A Milltown Reverie" by Georgia Nejak Kraff.

Michael Mora posted
Great vintage photo of activity at Interlake Steel coke plant, April 1958, 112th & Torrence. "Hot cargo of coke being dumped into a wharf from which it will be transferred by conveyor system to blast furnaces for use in melting iron ore." GE Photo Collection, Museum of Innovation and Science, available at https://cdm16694.contentdm.oclc.org/.../p16.../id/7929/rec/1
Andy Nossem: I worked at a coke plant a few years ago and they still do it the same way, furnace to car to quench to warf.

Bob Green posted seven photos "What left of Acme Steel’s Coke Plant Chicago. Shut down November 2001. Photo taken in 2016 and 2018."
I copied this one because of the comments
ShawnandDebby Arlow: They shut it down fully charged?
Bob Green: Not full charges. Enough to crate gas to keep them hot till the sale failed.

Bob Green commented on his post
Acme Steel's coke conveyor belt bridge over the Calumet River in Chicago. No longer standing. IH Wisconsin Steel and Acme in the background, no longer standing. Picture taken from Republic Steel.
It was the only suspension bridge in Chicago while it was still standing.

safe_image for 1995 14:41 video


  1. excellent photos i have not seen before! i launched acmecoke.com recently, i have been pulling old documents out of the plant and scanning them for a few months and recently got in touch with an ex-employee (manager) who is giving me great insight. i hope we can share information and continue to build a database of information on the coke plant because it just isnt out there! great site my friend and please reach out!

    1. All that I know about this facility is in the notes. I added links to your work at the top. May I use some of your photos in my notes with a link to the specific post in the caption? The one that caught my eye is the ruin that still had coke in it. I learned about larries just a couple of weeks ago: https://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/2021/01/larry-cars-in-steel-mills.html
      I added a link to your salvaged Larry Car training documents to those notes.

    2. While chasing a different topic, I just found a photo collection that has three ACME coke plant images at the beginning.
      I'm not going to pursue how much it costs to use a copy for low-res, non-commercial blog use. But if you do, let me know the results. For now, I'm just going to use a link:

  2. photo marked "quenching tower and bank of coke ovens from ACME Coke Plant" is not the quench tower, that is the coal bunker and battery #1. the quench tower is a few minutes walk south from there.

    1. Thanks for correction. The notes have been fixed.