Thursday, July 16, 2020

Lost/Wisconsin Steel

These notes are really raw, but I'm publishing them because I need to define a link. And some would probably argue that all of my notes are raw.

Raymond Boothe posted
Aerial view of the Wisconsin Steel Company in South Chicago ca. late 1940's (Dr. Raymond Boothe collection).
Dennis DeBruler posted
Raymond Boothe posted this photo with the comment:
Aerial view of the Wisconsin Steel Company in South Chicago ca. late 1940's (Dr. Raymond Boothe collection).
Bob Lalich: Anyone out there able to point out the #4 Open Hearth furnace. My Dad was a foreman there prior to 1969.
Bob Lalich: Marty Mroczkowski - the open hearth is the long building with tall stacks near the top right of the photo next to the slip.
The OH was shut down after Wisconsin Steel Works completed the Basic Oxygen Furnace shop in 1964 - the first in the Calumet region.
[Marty's Dad may have worked at US Steel South Works instead of Wisconsin Steel.]

Michael Siola posted 16 images with the comment: "Vintage views of International Harvester's Wisconsin Steel Works in the South Deering and Slag Valley neighborhoods on Chicago's far southeast side."
Michael Siola shared
Dennis DeBruler shared
Aaron Terres: Why was it called Wisconsin Steel while in Chicago?
Bob Lalich: Aaron Terres - International Harvester was a consolidation of several companies, one of which was a steel mill in the Milwaukee area. I believe that company and the South Deering mill were reorganized to form Wisconsin Steel.
Ralph Akers: I was working on a blast furnace reline there the day they closed
I remember that the contractors had about 3 days to get all their equipment out before the gate was locked, which was impossible. The company I worked for had the tower crane that sat there for at least 2 years , and still paying rent.
[Two people linked to these notes as comments. There are four photos of an IH refrigerator made in Evansville.]
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Michael Maitland: Great photo - Wisconsin Steel foreground then Interlake across the river with the coke bridge and works out of picture to the right. In the background after the coke bridge are the old Republic works
Mike Deleney posted
Dave Swiatek: Good ole #4 coal belt bridge spanning over the Calumet River, I remember walking that belt checking inspecting the rollers, a couple guys road that belt back to the furnace plant lol.
Bob Green: I believe there are 6 blast furnaces in the picture.
Dale Windhorst: Before Wisconsin steels BOF was built and the Rock Islands elevator is still standing.

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[This duplicate is a higher resolution copy of this photo.]

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[Some comments on the main post indicate just south of Wisconsin Steel was Great Lakes Carbon, which is in the upper-left corner of this photo. The Interlake/Acme/By Products Coke Corp is in the top middle.]

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[According to some comments, these were the shops across Torrence Ave. from Wisconsin Steel.]

Dennis DeBruler commented on his share
Wisconsin Steel was south of 106th, west of the Calumet River and east of Torrence Ave. I dropped the pin on the diagonal slip that has now been filled in.
41°42'03.3"N 87°33'12.5"W
The steel mill on the other side of the river in the fourth photo was Interlake/Acme,
The steel mill south of Interlake was LTV/Republic/Interstate,
I really like that photo because it shows the conveyor belt that went to the Interlake/Acme coke plant that was west of Torrence and the two Hullets that were at the Republic plant. They were the last two operational Hullets. No museum could afford to save them.


A history and four images    In the foreground of an idaillinois aerial view   an older illustration   search results

<Deering's vertical integration>

slag pile remnants    finally reusing some of the WC land   1974 photo (lots of good comments e.g. "WSW closed March 28, 1980.")

Larry Grzywinski commented on a post

Denise Spremo Ambry posted, cropped
Wonder when this was taken?
I remember sometime in the mid-50’s, the big noise about the new rolling mill that was constructed along 106th street. That mill is not in the picture.
I believe the photo was taken sometime between WWII and 1956. Setting those boundaries are the Great Lakes Carbon plant in the top left corner, which was built during WWII, and the Interlake Coke Plant, which was rebuilt in 1956. This photo was taken before that rebuild.
 
Rod Sellers commented on Denise's post
Wisconsin Steel aerial c1960 shows Wisconsin Steel Merchant Mill No 6 built 1959 and Acme / Interlake Coke Conveyor Bridge across Calumet River built 1958 so posted photo is earlier than those dates.
 
Rod Sellers posted
[Note the IH sign in the lower-right corner.]
Aerial view of Wisconsin Steel view south c1950. Intersection at lower right is 106th and Torrence. Attached photo with key was created by Clarence Wigsmoen longtime employee of Wisconsin Steel and dedicated volunteer of SECHM.

Tony Margis posted
Wisconsin Steel in 1948
 
"The attached reference"
 
Tony Margis posted
Wisconsin Steel, Acme/Interlake Steel, and Republic bordered with the South Deering and East Side neighborhoods. (photo pre-1950)
 Top right, Republic Steel and to the left of it Acme/Interlake also to the right of Wisconsin Steel across the river to the south and bottom left Wisconsin Steel.

Michael Siola shared a different post
 
John Ruiz posted
Wisconsin steel, Chicago in 1970
[Interlake/Acme/Federal Furnace is across the river and State Line Generating Station is in the right background.]
William O'Neal Stringer: I delivered several coal trains alongside the long buildings at the bottom as EJ&E engineer.
Bubba Dubs: William O'Neal Stringer the long building on the bottom right was the Basic Oxygen Furnace.
 
Rod Sellers posted
Unloading Ore at the Wisconsin Steel Works, 1916
The story of Chicago's Southeast Side is the story of steel. At one point the region was one of the largest steel producing regions in the world. Heavy industry, especially steel mills, came to the area after the Civil War drawn by natural features compatible with their business. The Calumet River, shown here, provided cheap transportation for the heavy, bulk materials needed to make steel.
Image is an ore boat unloading iron ore on the Calumet River at Wisconsin Steel.

Rod Sellers posted
Answer to Apr 26 "Where are we?"

Rod Sellers commented on his post
Wisconsin Steel Works, 1913.
No further identification is given. Exact location within the mill is not given. Any guesses or suggestions of where this photo was taken are welcome. Will give my best guess tomorrow. Another photo of this area of the mill.
Bob Lalich: Rod Sellers - the main photo is looking south at the main gate on 106th St, about a block west of Muskegon. The other photo is looking NNE from inside the property.

Rod Sellers commented again on his post
I would agree that this is a view looking south toward 106th Street entrance to the mill. In the distance to the left looks like Irondale Elevator. Attached photo is c1924 aerial view, earliest available, with my guess circled.

Bob Lalich commented on Rod's comment
The gate in the main photo is circled in red here.

Rod commented on his comment
Found another aerial (undated) but the gate is clearly visible.
Dennis DeBruler: And this aerial provides a good view of the grain elevator. It shows that it had a concrete annex added to a wood structure, and it shows a ship docked at the elevator.


Wisconsin Steel from PullmanMuseum
Wisconsin Steel - Aerial Protographs 1976 
Wisconsin Steel aerial views. Photo at left is a composite of three images showing Torrence Avenue across the top, Calumet River across the bottom, and Wisconsin Steel in between. From left to right, photo includes Acme conveyor, Wisconsin Steel south slip coal storage and coke ovens, north slip ore yards and blast furnaces, vaious mills, 106th Street, "Slag Valley" area. The right photo is a composite of two photos, and focuses on the Calumet River showing Wisconsin Steel at the top of the picture and the Acme Furnace Plant and Valley Mould at the bottom. 106th Street and 106th Street bridge are near the bottom of the picture and north of 106th Street are General Mills slips and plant. Photos were taken May 18, 1976
Craig Wilson posted 1982 BRC calf-cow-cab trio
BRC, Belt Railroad Company, at Wisconsin Steel, before it closed and Dad lost 26 years of service.
It is my understanding that this was a partnership between Pullman and IH. Don't know if that is correct or not.Larry Graham Omg I saw the ruins right after I hired out in '93. We had KCBX jobs that worked down there and South Chicago extras at times. Believe this was still standing in '94. The entire area is now part of a BP asphalt plant served by CRL.Larry Graham Craig Wilson
Got more info on this shot.
Location is 112th St. Afternoon shot, track in foreground is the connection to the CWI main. South Deering interlocking. Was on a job about four years ago and cruised down there lite engine to check things out. Our engineer was an original Belt guy that had worked down in there when started about 40 years prior. Just took an archeological tour for laughs one day.
Larry Graham Also didn't realize that Wisconsin Steel covered as much area as it did. From 106 to 112.
Craig commented on his post
Larry Graham Craig Wilson
I think I might see Irondale in the upper right corner. A little bit of it. The CNW elevator. The Belt used to deliver and pull there as well.

Lou Gerard posted
The International going into Wisconsin Steel's north slip, South Chicago. 1975.

Rod Sellers posted
Where am I?
Larry Grzywinski Wisconsin Steel from the south, Interlake bridge cranes on the right. The stack on the far right is in Republic Steel..
Bob Lalich Looking north at Wisconsin Steel from the vicinity of 112th St. It appears the photo was taken before the Interlake conveyor suspension bridge was built.
Larry Grzywinski Republic Steel in not in the photo, Valley Mold and Interlake blast furnace plant were across the river from Wisconsin Steel.. Wisconsin Steel was in the area from 106th Street south to about 111th Street and Torrence Ave. on the west and the Calumet River on the east.

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.
Harold Hanley During the winter, we played hockey on the frozen ice out there in the swamps. And then walked home. Temperature? The colder, the better.
Chuck Craven And when the weather started to warm up, the ice would melt around the edges but still be a couple of feet thick in the middle. We would put boards down to walk onto the ice, and play hockey until we lost all the pucks, which happened every time.
[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.]


Asphalt Operating Services of Chicago using some of the Wisconsin Steel land

Slag Valley

Rene Rodriguez Hernandez posted
Wisconsin still works vanished in the 80's 106th and Torrance I lived on 108th there were like 4 to 5 bars on each block all the way to 102
All gone to. South Deering was live today it's like a ghost town.
Deb Denier Stanko Imported steel was brought in without import taxes and tariffs specifically from Japan, unions kept pushing higher wages and benefits, union bosses got richer, union workers lost everything when the mill closed and discovered their pensions had been stolen by union management.


Dwayne Stegner posted
Chicago, West Pullman & Southern RR.
February 12, 1978 finds Chicago, West Pullman & Southern Railroad's Unit Number 46, and EMD SW-8 Switcher, working a slag train at Chicago, Illinois
Adrian Alvarez posted
[There are a few more photos of both Lakers in the comments.]
Scot Perry posted a high resolution photo
Jimmie Moran The other was the S.S. Harvester. Both were the same design as the Edmund Fitzgerald!
Dennis DeBruler IH also owned Wisconsin Steel along the Calumet River in Chicago. These ships delivered iron ore to the blast furnaces there. Deering was a strong believer in vertical integration.
[2019 Update: it also carried grain and coal.]

Red Sellers commented on Adrian's posting
Weren't there 2 WSW boats? The "International and The Harvester? Here is the Harvester.

Red Sellers commented on Adrian's posting
The International

James Torgeson shared
The 600' Str. The International is upbound for another load of ore to feed the blast furnaces at the International Harvester Wisconsin Steel Works in South Chicago. Later in 1977, IH would sell Wisconsin Steel to Envirodyne, but the plant closed in 1980.
She was scrapped in Turkey in 1988, long after her service to International Harvester!

Rod Sellers posted
Where am I?
Larry Grzywinski Wisconsin Steel from the south, Interlake bridge cranes on the right. The stack on the far right is in Republic Steel..
Bob Lalich Looking north at Wisconsin Steel from the vicinity of 112th St. It appears the photo was taken before the Interlake conveyor suspension bridge was built.
Larry Grzywinski Republic Steel in not in the photo, Valley Mold and Interlake blast furnace plant were across the river from Wisconsin Steel.. Wisconsin Steel was in the area from 106th Street south to about 111th Street and Torrence Ave. on the west and the Calumet River on the east.

Rod Sellers commented on his post
View of Wisconsin Steel from south of mill, looking NNE, Republic Steel at right of photo. Probably c. 1950. Attached photo is aerial view of same location.
Attached photo does not show Republic or Acme / Interlake.
Kevin Piper posted
This view is looking northeast at 108th & Torrence in Chicago's South Deering area. That is part of the Wisconsin Steel Works in the background. The undated photo was probably taken in the late 1930's.
Today the mill and trolley cars are gone, but Torrence still exists.
Bob Lalich In 1977 Harvester sold WSW to Envirodyne, a company with no experience in steelmaking. Harvester remained the largest customer for WSW and a strike at Harvester in 1980 sealed the fate of the plant.
[Contemporary view]

Kevin Piper posted

Rod Sellers posted
Where am I?

Rod Sellers commented on his post
Answer: South Deering bus at about 108th and Torrence. Wisconsin Steel in view. Attached photo is a little further south on the South Deering route.

Rod Sellers posted
Wisconsin Steel Works, 1913.
No further identification is given. Exact location within the mill is not given. Any guesses or suggestions of where this photo was taken are welcome.
Bob Lalich: Rod Sellers - the main photo is looking south at the main gate on 106th St, about a block west of Muskegon. The other photo [below] is looking NNE from inside the property.

Rod Sellers commented on  his post
Another photo of this area of the mill.

Raymond Boothe posted
Wisconsin Steel Company (a Division of International Harvester Co.)- View of the blooming mill (IHC photo/Dr. Raymond Boothe collection).




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