Illinois Brick Company

From HistoryWiki

Illinois Brick Company Soundex Code B620

The Illinois Brick Company was formed in April 1900 when 36 local manufacturers of common brick joined forces to become one large conglomeration. This marriage was expected to cut their overall costs while adding some profitability. As is the case in such joinings, the less-profitable brick yards were to be closed. In creating the new company, a representative of the new brick manufacturer stated that the various companies had not made any money in the previous three years, or more, owing to the small demand and the low prices.

In West Ridge, the Illinois Brick Company’s Plant No. 5 was located on the east bank of the North Shore Channel and a sister plant, Plant No. 2. was located just south of Oakton Street in Evanston.

In February 1905, the Illinois Brick Company recapitalized. They changed their stock offerings from preferred and common. Preferred old stock was exchanged for the new stock one for one. The old common stock was to be exchanged at a ratio of six old shares for one new share.

When local brick production peaked in the 1920s, the Illinois Brick Company operated 10 brickyards with a total annual output of about 685 million bricks.

By 1938, when aerial mapping of the region took place, the two Illinois Brick Company kiln sheds and associated buildings were already gone. The plant at Pratt Boulevard was just an overgrown empty lot. The Evanston plant at Oakton Street would later become the site for a rolled steel company, which, too, is now gone. Now it’s a new Shell Oil Company gas station and a multi-story public storage facility.

Source: Rogers Park Directory, 1919, page 39.



Charles Benjamin Obermeyer


RPWRHS photo C043-32280 shows a circa 1945 aerial view of the Illinois Brick Company-owned Clay Pit in the area defined by Touhy Avenue on the north, Pratt Boulevard on the south, Sacramento Avenue on the east, and the North Shore Channel on the west. At this point in time, Kedzie Avenue had not been extended north of Pratt. The photo was probably taken from the roof of the Peoples Gas Light & Coke Company's North Shore gas holder at Pratt and the North Shore Channel.

RPWRHS photo M069-3860 shows Turner family property between Pratt Boulevard and Touhy Avenue at Kedzie Avenue. March 6, 1908. This later became the Illinois Brick Company Clay Pit.

RPWRHS photo T006-6001 shows the Illinois Brick Company Clay Pit which was on the land between Touhy Avenue, Pratt Avenue, North Shore Channel, and Sacramento Avenue. The area was flooded at the time of the photo (1950). This area is now occupied by the Winston Towers complex.