Jay, I could literally write a book on the Hawthorne Works, and have actually considered doing it. I have LOADS of information, TONS of memorabilia, and dozens and dozens of images related to the plant. The plant was located in Cicero and was as you said "a city within a city." In the factories peak during WWII the plant employed about 45,000 people. My father worked there from 1969-1975. They started laying people off at that time and the factory was closed by 1984. When time permits I will add a lot to this thread.
The plant is gone, having been replaced by a large shopping mall, but the tower shown in the vintage image below still stands.
Here is a blurb from my book and a neat image from my collection.
"Home ownership and the rest of life's necessities were attained through hard work and steady employment. Thousands of Lawndale-Crawford's residents found both at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works on the communities western border in neighboring Cicero. Having opened in 1904, the Hawthorne Works factory had quickly expanded to a 150 acre facility manufacturing telephones and related equipment."
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2011 01:07AM by Berwyn Frank.