Warehouse Fire ca. 1997


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Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: January 27, 2013 09:51AM

The coverage of this week's warehouse fire reminded me of another enormous warehouse fire about fifteen years ago. It was just east of California and south of the Stevenson (35th St, maybe?), burned for several days and had to be demolished in order to put it out completely.

Anyone know what building that was? The only thing I remember about it was the name 'Dickenson' in brick on the facade.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2013 09:52AM by WayOutWardell.

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Re: Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: b.a.hoarder ()
Date: January 27, 2013 02:00PM

That was the Dickinson Seed Company. In addition to being an employer that was very good to his people Mr. Dickinson was an early aviator and supporter of local airports, in particular Cicero Field (at 83rd & Cicero?) and he was instrumental in founding the Aero Club in 1910.
Dickinson had financed the building of a monoplane which he had named the "American Defender" and after a lengthy dispute with the intended pilot about it's air worthiness he withdrew it from a planned 1912 air show and race. In disgust he had it moved to the Dickinson warehouse where it sat in a courtyard and rotted away.
Two things stick in my mind about that building; the huge Beatles mural that my late brother-in-law helped paint for Triangle Outdoor Advertising, and the thousands of pigeons that seemed to hang there when I was a young kid. Pigeons and seed, who'd a thought?

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Re: Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: Berwyn Frank ()
Date: January 27, 2013 05:56PM

B.A., Cicero Field was in Cicero, IL between Cicero Ave & Laramie and 16th St. & Cermak Rd. It was turned into a sub division called Parkholme in the 1920s. The 1912 Chicago aviation meet was held there.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2013 10:51PM by Berwyn Frank.

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Re: Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: b.a.hoarder ()
Date: January 27, 2013 06:25PM

Thanks for the clarification Frank. I know there was an airstrip at 83rd.St. but didn't know the name and thought it might have been Cicero Field. By the way, Mr. Dickinson died in 1935. I have no idea when the seed concern went out of business; at the time of the fire the building served as a multi tenant warehouse.

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Re: Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: Lance Grey ()
Date: January 27, 2013 11:11PM



A hard to read map (probably a 'fax') of Cicero Flying field.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2013 11:12PM by Lance Grey.

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Re: Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: January 27, 2013 11:29PM

Thanks BA! In doing some digging into Dickinson Seed, I found that the family was related to Susan B. Anthony, and that Charles Dickinson's problems in running an air mail route from Chicago to St. Paul played a role in the formation of Northwest Airlines years later.

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Re: Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: 222psm ()
Date: January 29, 2013 06:54AM

Is this the same warehouse that used to have a giant Jim Beam advertisement painted on the side facing California, so drivers on the Stevenson going east bound could see it? Around Christmas time it had something to do with jingle bells (JB=Jim Beam/jingle bells). I remember seeing it back in the early to mid 80's, every time we went to my uncle's place in Brighton Park.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/29/2013 06:57AM by 222psm.

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Re: Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: jak378 ()
Date: January 30, 2013 01:09PM

The field at 83rd and Cicero was called Ashburn Airport. Until several years ao the hangar still stood on the site and had become a bowling alley I believe. That was torn down some years ago now.

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Re: Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: January 30, 2013 08:36PM

Not having much luck finding a photo of the Dickinson plant - the Campbell Soup factory turns up more often. I did, however, find a rendering of the plant in a trade magazine:

Dickinson Seed, 1915



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/30/2013 08:55PM by WayOutWardell.

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Re: Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: 222psm ()
Date: February 13, 2013 06:51AM

Found some pics on Eddie's Rail Fan Page: [eddiesrailroad.blogspot.com]

[www.flickr.com]

[www.flickr.com]

No pics of the whole building however. This is where the Jim Beam advertisement was back in the early 80's!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/2013 06:55AM by 222psm.

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Re: Warehouse Fire ca. 1997
Posted by: b.a.hoarder ()
Date: February 13, 2013 09:04AM

Great find, 222. I looked for that photo but apparently not hard enough. I notice that it was a Patrick sign, not Triangle Outdoor. I guess the passing of a quarter century gave me a foggy memory.
Just look at the size of that structure and then go to Historic Aerials to see the whole complex. Hard to believe that so much would be devoted to the marketing of seed.

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