I have a friend who lives in the McKinley Park Lofts at 2323 W Pershing..I asked about the history of the building and as far as they knew, the previous resident
(before the conversion) was Desks, Inc., an office furniture manufacturer..
Upon further research, I learned the building was the home of Popeil Entreprises in the 60's and 70's. Popeil was the creator and inventor of "Vegamatic" "Pocket Fisherman" "Showtime Rotisseire", "smokless ashtray", and "Mr Microphone", among others...Ron Popeil was best known for the quirky TV marketing that was all over the tube in the 60's and 70's..
Also, the original occupants were United Drug Co., which later became Rexall Drugs..
This building was one of the later additions to the Central Manufacturing District, the first modern industrial complex, the kind we see scattered all over the Chicago area presently, mostly out in the burbs..
My only other experience with any facility there was the building that housed the draft board for the US Army...I remember registering for the draft and getting a physical there in the early 70's...what I learned later is that this was a major send off point for draftees during WW II..
A lot of interesting history in that district...I was wondering if anyone had anymore info or tidbits concerning the structures in that area...
The US Army's Fifth Army Headquarters was in the industrial district during and after WW2, as was a major Westinghouse Electric warehouse and service center.
A friend of mine, a retired tool-and-die maker by trade, worked for Herbst-Lazar in the 1960s and 70s as a maker of prototype models for consumer goods. He did a lot of work for Popiel and had saved prototypes of the Pocket Fisherman and some other products.
He had some hair-raising stories about ol'man Popiel, and stuff he worked on for the company...supposedly they made a lot of things besides "pocket fishermen"....