February 25, 2013

Blue Collar Lake View

When Manufacturing was King
Until it Was Not
This post is about the manufacturing companies that once blanketed the Township/City and District of Lake View via the Sanborn Fire Maps of 1923 & 1950. Most manufacturers from the 19th and early 20th century was once located near rivers & railroads for easy and efficient access to their marketable area. The Chicago area had abundant of both. I will highlight the most notable manufacturers first while note-taking the names of the companies throughout this post while addressing the fact that Lake View was a blue -collar area much like the rest of Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Manufacturing the 'bread & butter' for labor and prosperity in Lake View as well as the nation.  Many mega manufacturers had problems surviving the Great Depression of 1929 many of which were located in the old Lake View area. Note: Please click on images to enlarge.
1947 image - Forgotten Chicago website
a proportional map that highlights manufacturing in the U.S.

Red areas indicated industrial areas
The areas were mostly along existing rail tracks or the river, the main source of jobs in the north-side.
1911 images - E.H. Talbot Map 
via University of Chicago Collection
entire sections of Lake View was devoted to manufacturing that included Illinois Malleable Irons Works
image - 1950 Sanborn Fire Map
The Great Depression of 1929 nearly ended most of the manufacturing base that was Lake View. The manufacturing giants disappeared with the smaller companies to continue until the 1960's.The below article for the popular magazine of the 1920's called 'The Chicagoan' dated January 1929 gives you an idea of the public's preoccupation with the stock market with no clue that in October fortunes would be lost forever and so the unscaled prosperity that was Lake View.
(click on article below to enlarge)

 
 page 2 
 page 2 last column
I will add whatever text and photos available from an online source for clarification. I begin with the most notable 
and nationally remembered...
Township of Lake View (1871-1960)
View their Trade Book of Accomplishments
image - Columbia Digital Library
1892 advertisement image 
 Art Institute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
1894 Sanborn Fire Map sheet 1 highlights 
other manufacturers as well
1894 Sanborn Fire Map sheet 2 highlights 
other manufacturers as well
 photos of this type - Ebay
in 1911 the original building was destroyed by fire and by the next year a new building took its place in the same spot depicting the popularity and financial strength of the company
 page 2
Rebuilt that Same Year 
'At the beginning of the 20th century, architectural terra cotta was firmly established as America's premier material for detailing commercial structures, especially the new, steel-framed skyscrapers then rising in Chicago and New York City. After the devastating Chicago fire of 1871, the fireproof qualities of this ancient, baked-clay form propelled its acceptance as a less expensive and lightweight alternative stone. Terra cotta's popularity peaked in the 1920's, before being eclipsed by modernist curtain walls of glass, exposed steel, and concrete.
 Workers feeding the kiln

mixing area
men with chisels
One of the nation's pioneering manufacturers was the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company (1877–1956), headquartered in Chicago. To direct both production and installation, the studio’s draftsmen transformed architectural blueprints into comprehensive "shop drawings" that identified exactly where and how each puzzle-like piece would be secured to its supporting structure. Favored by such international architectural luminaries as Louis H. Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, and Albert Kahn, the company ultimately contributed to thousands of buildings across the country in a wide array of styles.
 men working with molds
polychrome (painting or decorate) room
In the 1890's the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company successfully recruited European craftsmen to join the firm as sculptors in its modeling shop. These highly skilled artists could earn three or four times as much as a less skilled laborer at the same factory.
 Sculptors working on architectural molds models
drafting room
By 1920 the firm's Clybourn Avenue plant covered 24 acres and was the largest in the world. In addition to operating a second facility in Chicago Heights, the company subsequently acquired plants in St. Louis and Denver.
Northwestern Terra Cotta targeted its client base by advertising in trade journals such as American Architect. The company wasted no time promoting its involvement in the construction of the distinctive Wrigley Building—the first skyscraper completely clad "from sidewalk to searchlight" in terra cotta. Not only was the gleaming white-enamel office tower Chicago's tallest structure at that time, it was the first of a series that inaugurated new development north of the Chicago River.' - National Building Museum
image - Amazon
his death in 1929

a sample of their work  photos Ebay
photo - Andrew Jameson via Wikimedia Commons
what remains of the company
A residence entombed with terra cotta
The entire exterior of this house once located 
535 W Wellington was of terra cotta from this company
International Harvester - Deering Works


William Deering & Company
this postcard is from my personal collection
William Deering & Company
image - Ebay
image - Amazon

photos - Chicagology built in 1880
 
tradecard - Ebay
William Deering-a veteran dry-goods wholesaler who had been doing business in Maine and New York-had established a rival harvester factory at Plano, Illinois, southwest of the big city; in 1880, Deering moved his factory to Chicago. Weary of competition, the Deering [William Deering & Company] and McCormick families [McCormick Harvesting Machine Company began to talk about a merger of their companies during the late 1890's. 
6 photos - Ebay
By this time, McCormick had a plant at Blue Island and Western Avenues that employed over 5,000 people; the William Deering & Company on Fullerton Avenue on the city's North Side employed about 7,000. In 1902, McCormick and Deering along with the Plano Manufacturing Co. (which had about 1,400 workers at its West Pullman plant) and two smaller farm equipment makers merged to form International Harvester. The new company was capitalized at $120 million and dominated the American market and, as its name suggested, played an important role in world markets as well. For most of the twentieth century, International Harvester (IH) was one of the leading industrial corporations in the United States; its operations were concentrated in Chicago and its suburbs. 
1922 advertisement
photo - Throwing Wrenches
By 1910, when IH grossed about $100 million in annual sales, it had over 17,000 workers in the Chicago area, making it the leading employer in the region. By that time, IH had established its own steel mill on the city's far South Side, which it named Wisconsin Steel, as well as manufacturing plants in Sweden, Russia, and Germany. A manufacturer of trucks as well as tractors, during the first years of the twentieth century the company moved away from animal-powered equipment and toward motorized vehicles. By the 1930's, as the nation's leading manufacturer of trucks. 
– Encyclopedia of Chicago
;l;l
McCormick-Deering
image - Ebay
International Harvester of America 
image - Ebay
In the first quarter of the 20th century International Harvester had a presence in Europe particularly in Imperial Russia as well as Soviet Russia.
image - postcardy
the location via Sanborn Fire Map 1894
1923 Sanborn Fire Map - view the 1894 map for comparison
The Location After Manufacturing
Lathrop Homes
this planned development was original called the 
Diversey Housing Project 1935
photo - Art Institute of Chicago
photo - Yo Chicago
image - 1950 Sanborn Fire Map
story and image - The Architect Newspaper
photo - Living the New Deal
image - Curbed Chicago
2015 photo with article
 2017 photo with article below
The A.L. Luetgert Story
1894 Sanborn Fire Map - edited
North of International Harvester facilities within the manufacturing area along the Chicago River was Adolph Luetgert's Sausage Works once located at the post-1909 address of . Adolph Luetgert was regarded as the 'sausage-king of Chicago' according to Wikipedia.
image - Alchemy of Bones
'Albert had established a packing house and stockyard on the city’s North Side, in the 1700 block of  West Diversey Avenue, in 1879. It had become very successful over the years, from an initial investment of four thousand dollars to a point where the A.L. Luetgert Sausage & Packing Co. was considered the ‘sausage king’ in the 1890’s. 
On May 1, 1897 Mrs. Luetgert, Louisa, disappeared. Albert told his children their mother was visiting her sister. After a few days, Diedrich Bichnese, Louisa’s brother, reported her missing to the police. Luetgert [changed his story] now said Louisa had run away with another man.' Read more from Ravenswood-Lake View History Association along with several photographs from Murderpedia and with a complete accounting of the event by Historical Crime Detective.
1894 Sanborn Fire Map that highlights the location
Manufacturers along Fullerton Avenue
District of Lake View, Chicago
manufacturers of ‘Butcher Boy’ refrigerators and other commercial kitchen related products

1923 Sanborn Fire Maps of a factory 
with a 1894 maps of  same location but of the 
 1894 Sanborn Map same location with a zoomed view below
A.H. Buhrke & Co. 
producer of leather products
producer of woodworkings
Standard Cap & Steel Co.
- sheet metal products
M. Linkman & Co. 
producers of pipes
Max Lau Colortype Co
publishing & postcards
with a sample of their product
 postcard - Ebay
Balkwill & Patch Furniture Co.
producer of furniture that included toilet commodes
... and a Lithographing Company of an unknown name
Eugene Dietzen Company
a producer of architectural supplies
with a sample of their product - drafting tool kit
Abbott Alkaloidal Company
4753 N. East Ravenswood Avenue


a medical kit - Ebay
Wallace C. Abbott
photo - Abbott Labs website
Abbott Laboratories traces its beginnings to 1888 when Dr. Wallace C. Abbott operated a small pharmaceutical facility in the kitchen of his apartment [and then later in the basement of his home on 4605 N Hermitage Avenue with images of billing with the factory address on them.
image - Ebay
 images - Ebay
image - Ravenswood-Lake View Association
He produced pills called "dosimetric granules," which provided a uniform quantity of drugs. He sold his products to other physicians, and in 1900 the business was incorporated in Illinois as Abbott Alkaloidal Company. By 1905 annual sales grew to $200,000. The name was changed to Abbott Laboratories in 1915. During World War I, Abbott prospered by developing anesthetics that were previously only available from Germany. These included procaine, a replacement for German novocaine, and barbital, a substitute for veronal. After the war Abbott built a manufacturing plant in North Chicago.- Lehmann Brothers Collection
Companies along the now defunct 
Chicago & Evanston branch of the
 St. Paul, Chicago, Milwaukee, 
& Pacific Railroad
The Chicago & Evanston rails were mostly used for the transportation of freight along short distances within the Chicago area as early as 1885 that was routed through the Township of Lake View from the City of Chicago to Evanston.
Collins & Wiese Coal Yard
unknown source
photo - Hank's Truck Forum
notice a RR watch tower that was once located at the intersection of west of Seminary, Clark, and Addison Street for the Chicago & Evanston RR freight cars

 The tracks appear slice through the middle of the blocks

 – a publishing company 1904-1956
a caption of their product from Etsy

composite of postcards - Etsy
their World Fair exhibit
postcard images - Ebay 
postcard - Ebay
Range of this location was from 3305 to 3359 N Racine on the east side of the street and with an apparent second factory section on the southwest corner of Clifton and Roscoe. The buildings were constructed in 1926 and 1933 according to a 1950 Sanborn Map, sheet 81.This company produced a lot of 1933 World Fair postcards. Below are their products. Their 'claim to fame' were their 'doll cut outs'.

and their doll house cut-outs
doll cut-outs - Ebay image


 photos - Ebay
... also located at 1800 W Fullerton Avenue
Apparently their administrative/storage buildings were located on Racine Avenue
 
the plant on Fullerton Ave
image - 1950 Sanborn Fire Map
Rutter Coal Company
image - Ebay
From Belmont Avenue southward the tracks begin to route in a straight path down Lakewood Avenue
a coal company along its route
tracks begin to run along on Lakewood Avenue south
photo - garry albrecht 2013
View on Belmont Avenue where the tracks 
began to route northeast for some reason
photo - garry albrecht 2013
images - Ebay 
photo - Chicago Switching
below image - Ebay
  Best Brewing Company of Chicago
 photo - Layman Guide to Beer
a sample of their products
images - Ebay 
 photo - Garry Albrecht
 photo - Garry Albrecht
photo - via Christopher Brandt,Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - via Christopher Brandt,Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
”Chicago is the most important railroad center in North America. More lines of track radiate in more directions from Chicago than from any other city. Chicago has long been the most important interchange point for freight traffic between the nation's major railroads.” - Encyclopedia of Chicago 
One such railroad was the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company - Evanston Branch that had its beginnings in 1872 twenty-eight years before commuter elevated tracks were built by the North Western Company (Redline and Brownline). The CM&P delivered freight to and from Chicago manufacturers that once included Lake View. Lake View in the 19th and mid - 20th centuries was referred to as a blue collar manufacturing area that included coal yards, metal works, meat storage warehouses, greenhouses and a well-known Chicago brewery.
The Best Brewing Company of Chicago was located along the CM&P so to economically transport their product to market. The building was originally owned by breweries Klockgeter & Company in 1885 and then Kagebein & Folstaff one year later. The buildings occupants were many but all related to brewing beer. Their beer products of this company were the ‘Hapsburg Bock’ (1933-1962), ‘Hapsburg Beer’ (1933-1962), and ‘Best Ale’ (1937-1962). Currently, the building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 and used for residential space. Most of the buildings of the former manufacturing area are physically gone but not completely forgotten thanks to Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (Google maps of its day) that were created in the 19th century for property insurance, fire protection, and street & sanitation concerns.
Lakewood has a tree and shrub barrier at this point
 photo - Garry Albrecht
View north of the barrier on Barry Avenue
 photo - Garry Albrecht
crumbling of the street due to the covering of the tracks
 photo - Garry Albrecht

Tracks begin to appear as late as 2012
- view north and south on Diversey Parkway 
 photos - Garry Albrecht
a candy company
image - Ebay
photo - Chicago: ChiTown-My Town on Facebook
 images - Ebay
C&E heading towards Peerless Confection - 2000
photo - Chicago Switching
their tin of candies - Ebay
The most popular company along its route was
Peerless Candies once located at Lakewood and Schubert in Lincoln Park along with Finkl Steel once located further south. Read and view more about the Evanston Branch that link downtown Chicago with the Township of Evanston that was routed geographical though old Lake View with this link.
along with another candy company ...
Manufacturing North of Irving Park Road
Most of the manufacturers were located along railroad tracks for easy and efficient access to their markets. Companies listed here were then located in what was still referred to as the District of Lake View. 
Bowman Dairy Company 
 1906 photo - Chuckman Collection and
bottle caps - Ebay
Thomas Moulding Brick Co
Zipf Brothers Coal Company
J.C. Deagan Railroad Dining Car Chimes
for Lionel Train Locomotive - Ebay image
image - Ebay
This company provided an electrical [metal] tonearm that sat on the cabinet of wind up record players that allowed sound to be transferred to a volume control and then was connected to a table radio with an adapter that slipped between the detector tube and base of the radio.
 Shipman & Ward Manufacturing
manufacturer of Underwood typewriters
Schweitzer & Conrad. Inc.

and some unrecognizable or unknown manufacturers
Lincoln-Boyle Ice - The Ravenswood Plant - storage
Manufacturer of bakery equipment, commercial use dishwashing machine parts, food & beverage dispensing equipment, cookware & kitchen tools, tabletop & serving equipment, and restaurant furniture.
The Dartnell Corporation was one of the earliest companies to deliver easy-to-access business training for sales professionals.
J. Milhenning 
- casemaker for jewelry
Cummings Perforator Co.
- producer of cancel machines for checks
  Holmes Electrical Manufacturing Co., 
Barco Manufacturing Company
Portable gasoline hammer; plug valves; flexible ball joints; car connections; swivel joints; 3V type engine tender connections for steam, air, oil and water; valves and joints for direct steaming systems
Flexible Shafts & Equipment
photo - Antiques.gift
photo - Etsy
N.A.Strand Company-producer of flexible shafts
Drying Systems 
a producer of the dying method apparatus
some 'no-name' companies next to Rosehill Cemetery 
near Rosehill Cemetery 
From 1944 to 1945, entered into subcontracts with the University of Chicago to furnish personnel, facilities, and equipment to produce special tools, dies, fixtures, etc., from materials furnished by the University; was involved in the Hanford slug canning process. The company handled uranium according to U.S. Energy Department. 
no companies shown along this segment of RR
this map only highlights St. Henry's church & graveyard as well as the adjacent Holy Angel Guardian Orphanage
no manufactures shown - Devon Avenue northern border of the old township/city and District of Lake View
another company located along a RR
Once located at 3701 N East Ravenswood Avenue between 1950 - at this location; until 1992 in Niles Illinois.This company produce electric instrument panels, dial scales - tuning controls & knobs for radio's. Apparently, the company tired to make a market in the defence industry during the Korean War (1950-53) per this brochure ... (from Ebay)








an apparent factory location per this 1923 Sanborn Fire Map
image - Craig Lost Chicago

The other location was on northeast corner of Diversey and Broadway within their own building that was simply called the Curtiss Building according to this 1950 Sanborn Fire Map
with another location according to this 1950 map below

Their letterhead stationary - my personal collection

zoomed views of the address and products
image - Ebay
Its final location was 3636 N Broadway
1950's image - Ebay
and its final location on Broadway...
Chicago Coin Machine 
A pinball company 1932 - 1977

a postcard mailer - Ebay
Once located in Chicago, Illinois, the center of the pinball and arcade game industry since the early days of the coin operated amusement industry. The Chicago Coin was formed in 1931 by partners Sam Gensburg, Lou Koren and Sam Wolberg. Chicago Coin, more so than its main competitors, tended to be a general purpose arcade amusement company. The company made products such as shuffle bowling games, electro-mechanical car driving games, and skee-ball tables.
Around-the-World Trainer 1955 - Ebay
 
 
all images above - Ebay 1972 pinballs

was located at 1725 W Diversey Parkway 
photo - Craig's Lost Chicago
Flipper Unit Brackets for their machines - Ebay
 
all images above - Ebay unknown date
In 1973 Chicago Coin attempted to get in on the Pong craze by releasing two arcade game consoles: TV Football and TV Hockey. The company also manufactured a unique arcade video game item in 1975 called Super Flipper, which was essentially a video game simulation of pinball with a display monitor housed in a miniature pinball cabinet. In spite of these efforts, Chicago Coin was in financial trouble, and by 1977 the company's assets were sold to Stern Electronics.
Wikipedia
Best Brewing Company of Chicago
This building listed in the National Registry of Historical Places as of 1987Several brewers operated in these building(s) from 1885 as a beer producing plant or brewery until its demise in 1961.This historical building is located at 1315-1317 West Fletcher within the Belmont and Sheffield area of Lake View. Why is this a landmark - Chicago's growing dominance in brewing beer as these articles below will attest. 
Curt Teich and Company 
'Curt Teich & Company opened in January 1898 in Chicago, Illinois and closed in 1978. The Teich Company was the world's largest printer of view and advertising Postcards. Teich is best known for its "Greetings From" postcards with their big letters, vivid colors, and bold style.' - Wikipedia
postcard - Chicago History in Postcards
The Curt Teich and Company, Inc. building is a heavy timber and masonry loft industrial structure. It consists of an original three story (west) section and a five story (east) addition. The building is located on the southeast corner of Irving Park Road and East Ravenswood Avenue, along the ight industrial corridor next to the railroad tracks in the neighborhood known
at the time as Ravenswood. The building faces north on Irving Park Road.
Listed on the National Registry of Historical Places since 1990. It was known as the world's largest volume printer that manufactured postcards. The company operated from 1898 to 1978.  In fact, most of all of the postcard images in this blog are from this manufacturer and collected from various collections such as Chuckman Collection, and Chicago History in Postcards and once and awhile Ebay may sell one. Read more about these postcards with this link.
same location but original company - images from Ebay
'The earlier west section [of the building] sets on property purchased by James McDonald about 1891 and built a second plant?? - J. S. McDonald & Company by 1901. J.S. McDonald & Co produce loose-leaf ledgersIt was then purchased by Curt Teich in 1910. Though the exact date and the architect of this building are unknown, it bears resemblance to the Dearborn Street station at Polk and Dearborn, built in 1885 and designed by architect Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz. It is built of red pressed brick in a Romanesque design.' (The address is pre 1909.) 
- National Register Nominations For Chicago
 page 2

images - Ebay
tri-image postcard with a linen surface
From the 1920's to the 1940's, Curt Teich & Co., the company that originally occupied this northside address, churned out more postcards than any other printer in the world. Over its 80-year history, the company produced cards featuring more than 10,000 towns and cities in North America and 87 foreign countries. According the publication 'Hidden History of Ravenswood & Lake View' by Patrick Butler (p 116) "salespeople would take pictures of local landmarks or businesses and try to get those businesses to order postcards to promote the local attractions". 
Sample of a 1910 Booklet




images - Ebay
The location of the building is on the corner of Irving Park Road and Ravenswood Street.  Currently, the building houses residences and is now called Postcard Place as of 1996.
J.C. Deagan, Inc 
District of Lake View - Ravenswood
The finest mallet percussion instruments 
ever created in the United States
J.C. Deagan succeeded in transforming the rough pieces of metal into a set of perfectly tuned bells which soon became standard orchestra equipment. He began to manufacture these bells in 1880. Later he developed many other musical instruments, including the xylophone, organ chimes, aluminum chimes, aluminum harp, Swiss hand-bells, and orchestra bells. The marimba he developed from a novelty from the jungle into an accepted musical instrument.
from Chuckman Collection
 
Currently, home of the Century Mallet Instrument Service 
 Watch a video about their instruments
Manufacturers of 
Southeast Ravenswood Community 1950
Irving Park Road to Belle Plaine
The Manz Corporation
once an engraving business
now owned by Hayes Properties
Sample of their products
 images from Ebay
 
Belle Plaine to Berteau Avenue
 
once created weight & recording systems
Per Wikipedia, a ‘watchclock’ is a mechanical clock used by security guards as part of their Guard tour patrol system which require regular patrols. The most commonly used form was the mechanical clock systems that required a key for manual punching of a number to a strip of paper inside with the time pre-printed on it. (photo below from Ebay)
Berteau Avenue to Cullom
 Deagan Building
view the segment post before this one
 photos - Century Mallet Instrumental Service
 
Pacific Flush Tank Company
a sewage and treatment company
image - Stor
Cullom to Montrose Avenue
F.W. Steward Manufacturing Company
... and still in business
 all images - EBTH (Everything But The House)
 
 
The Greenhouses & Hothouses
Township/City of Lake View
Greenhouses and hothouses were used for growing fruits, vegetables and other plants. Choosing between the two is entirely dependent upon the area and climate in which you live. For example, a greenhouse would be ineffective in northern climates during the winter, while a hot house would function perfectly in those conditions. The townships of Jefferson and Lake View had both - greenhouses for floral growth and hothouses for fruits and vegetables.
I have listed a few ....
University of Illinois in Chicago maps
This 1861 map depicts both Lake View and Jefferson Townships during the era of the hot and greenhouses. Western Avenue was the border between them.
Budlong Pickle Works

This 1894 Sanborn Fire Map indicates the location of the hothouses of J.A. Budlong company farms 
note: N. 59th = Foster Avenue
Beginning in the mid 19th century ‘truck farms', a term used for the transportation of farm produce to market, were mostly owned and operated by German speaking folks, called Luxembourgers who used the historically regarded first settler of Lake View Township, Dr. Conrad Sulzer, business practices. The truck farmers would drive their product in horse-drawn wagons down the Old Little Fort Road known today as Lincoln Avenue to City of Chicago. Celery was the chief crop with pickles as important. This crop gained such broad distribution throughout the Midwest and East Coast, the legend is told, that local growers proudly called the area the nation's celery capital. The most well known if not the most successful of the greenhouses and hothouses of the this area was the  J.A. Budlong Company located in Jefferson township community of  Bowmanville with the boarding house and plant office located on Lincoln Avenue north of North 59th (Foster Avenue) blocks west of Western Avenue. Western Avenue was the border between Jefferson and Lake View Townships
The J.A. Budlong Greenhouses and Hothouses
The Budlong Brothers opened a successful pickle factory in 1857 and expanded into the commercial flower business with the opening of Budlong greenhouses in 1880. The farms were noted not only for pickles but cucumbers and onions. They employed Polish workers from Chicago on a seasonal basis. They are regarded by locals as the original guardians of Budlong Woods as well as Bowmanville community. 
The Chicago Daily News 1903 article below highlights the farms features and its workers.
(click on article to enlarge)
Below is a Chicago Tribune article about school revisiting their namesake and honoring a man who was one of the first to settle in the area.
Lynn Budlong: A Memory in 1965
page 2
 The Albert Fuchs Greenhouses
This 1894 Sanborn Fire Map depicts the location of one of his properties on Halsted Street 
Rokeby = Fremont
This 1894 Sanborn Fire Map depicts the location of one of his properties on Evanston (Broadway) Avenue between Addison and Waveland Avenues

Mr. Fuch was noted for his prized Cycas revoluta
Fuch would replace his greenhouses 
with flats (apts) called the Chateau
and created a theater of the same name on Grace off Halsted Street. The article below highlights this fact.
Wittbold & Company 
Greenhouse and Nursery

George Wittbold arrived in Chicago in 1857 on the heels of Dr. Conrad Sulzer, the grandfather of Lake View Township and at the same time of J.A. Budlong. George Wittbold was apparently the former gardener of King that governed the Principality of Hanover (Germany), King Ernest Augustus who died in 1851. Upon Mr. Wittbold's arrival the rural German population in the township were general known as farmers or commercial gardeners. He followed suite and later would create a multi-generational business that would last well into the 20th century by adding a nursery/retail shop on Buckingham Place. 
Wittbold & Company grew tropical plants that included ferns and palms as wells as roses and chrysanthemums in the family greenhouses located on the corner of Halsted and School (Aldine) Streets. The family business would sell their product in their store located in the pre-1909 address of 1657-59 Buckingham Place (745 West Buckingham) currently luxury condos. 
The Buckingham Place building was renovated from a storefront to condo units during the 1990's. I remember the store as an expanse, independent floral store when I moved to LakeView in 1993 as highlighted in the article below.
(click on article to enlarge)
Most of the earliest greenhouse were located near cemeteries of the old township much like J.A Budlong properties near Rose Hill Cemetery.
The Sanborn Fire Maps of 1894 highlights most of them located in the newly formed district of Lake View in Chicago.
Greenhouses Near Rosehill Cemetery
Front = Ravenswood Avenue
Armin Avenue = Thorndale Avenue
Commercial = Ashland Avenue
Cemetery Road = West Rosehill Drive
1894 Sanborn Fire Map
Ridge Road = Bowmanville Avenue
1894 Sanborn Fire Map
Ridge Road = Bowmanville Avenue
1894 Sanborn Fire Map depicting hothouses
Ridge Avenue = North Ridge Boulevard
Pratt = West Pratt Boulevard
Other Greenhouses Further South
1894 Sanborn Fire Map depicting Chicago & Evanston Rail tracks for easy transport to market
Evanston = Broadway Avenue
1894 Sanborn Fire Map depicting a location at top of image
Commercial = Hermitage Avenue
1894 Sanborn Fire Map
Perry = Greenview Avenue
Cosgrove = Warner Avenue
1894 Sanborn Fire Map
Dunning = Altgeld Avenue
Note: Are commercial greenhouses making a Chicago comeback?
The Clay Pits & Ice Ponds
the making of bricks
photo - University of Chicago Digital Maps
1888 map zoomed highlighting both the City of Lake View and Jefferson Township with Western Avenue as the border 
Also view a 1887 Sanborn Fire Map (zoom) showing most of clay pits and ice ponds that were located south of Diversey in the then Township/City of Lake View.
The Clay Pits
‘Fired clay brick’ is a type of brick that has been used as a primary building material before the United States became an independent nation. Clay and shale are the important ingredients in the manufacturer of bricks and are dug original from earth pits then fired in a kiln at up to 2,000 degrees. By going through a chemical-transforming, verification process in the kiln, the minerals in the clay/shale unit fuse together and become a material that looks great, lasts an incredibly long time and needs practically no maintenance. With its modular-unit size dimensions and built-in design flexibility, brick has always been a material of choice for this country's residential and commercial structures. - The Brick Industry Association, edited
simple kiln design
Frank Lloyd Wright used brick for many of his Prairie Style residences throughout the Midwest.
‘Clay pavers’ are another type of clay brick that have been used in the United States since colonial times. A company called Indianapolis Motor Speedway installed over three million clay pavers in 1910-1911, and they are still residing under the asphalt surface of many urban areas.
The Ice Ponds
When clay pits satisfied or nearly satisfied their usefulness, most often, the earth pits would be allowed by the owners to be filled-in with water (naturally?) so that an ice pond would be created for winter fun. But as the articles below indicate the summer months tell a different and much less fun story of the unhealthy conditions of the pits when the brick manufacturers abandoned the useless pits. The article mentions that the pits were allowed to filled with garbage and other waste products in the humid and hot summer months some of the pits located near schools. Some of the pits would be covered during the summer months the odor was repugnant to bare.The Chicago Tribune article below is dated June 17, 1892. 
Below is a short history of the clay pits and its relationship to manufacturing of bricks from Lake View Saga 1837-1985
and the issue of public safety after the clay pits 
were exhausted of material in the article below
The issue continued as of 1913 as this article below indicates
Below are 1894 Sanborn Fire Maps depicting either clay pits or ice ponds is what was then called the newly formed District of Lake View established after the annexation of the City of Lake View in 1889.
An Ice Pond on Nelson Avenue
The Clay Pits on Paulina

with another view from 1887

The Clay Pits on Perry (Greenview)
along with their kiln storage sheds
The Ice Ponds on Clybourn
with their kiln & sheds 
 Kiln facility from above zoomed below

The Ice Ponds on Wrightwood Avenue
(Wrightwood Playground)

 image #2

The Ice Pond and Clay Pit
at Belmont & Robey (Damen Avenue)
The Ice Pond along the Chicago River
as early as 1887

The Clay Pits at Western & Grace
with kiln, kiln sheds and drying racks
The Clay Pits on Western & Warner
kiln, kiln sheds, drying racks

image #2
the tools used to remove ice blocks from the ice ponds to be stored in the precursor to electric refrigerators - ice boxes
 
2 images - Ebay
All the green/hot houses and clay pits/ice ponds have been replaced by dwellings that mirrored the technologies and/or usefulness of an era that is now mostly forgotten. 
This post reminds the reader/viewer what once was in our neighborhood area. When you walk down a street shown above ... pause and remember with some regret for these pits could have been natural reservoirs or lagoons.
When you fool with Mother Nature
 before the Big Tunnel 1970's by Lance Grey
"Interesting how they took advantage of the ancient lake beds in the swath from Fullerton to Belmont. - Not only for brickyards, but in the Winter months for small artificial Lakes centered near today's Wrightwood Park, to build Ice Houses & Kilns (per Chas. Rasscher 1887 maps) - And the role the clay plays in recurring flooding problems in the area- as experienced near this Quonset Warehouse known as Majestic Screw & Bolt where I worked in the '70’s just south of Diversey on Greenview. [Shown in a May-1955 photo]"
an ageless company since 1868
photos - Yo Chicago
'Among the dozen or more binderies of the day, his alone survives, at 1751 W. Belmont Ave., where the bindery's success over 128 years stands as a monument to shrewd adaptation to changing times.' 
Read more from this 1996 article by Chicago Tribune
 a sample of their craftsmenship
images - Elston Press
The tradition continued 1936
(click on all segments of this article to enlarge)
(click on segment of this article to enlarge)
Read more from this 2007 online 
article from Yo Chicago about this ageless company


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Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!