Schulze Baking Company Plant
Schulze Baking Company Plant is a factory building located on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is located at 40 East Garfield Boulevard (also described as 55th Street and Wabash Avenue) in the Washington Park community area in Cook County. Built in 1914, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 12, 1982. Originally built for the Schulze Baking Company, it is now the home of the Butternut Bread Company. The building features a terra cotta exterior with ornamentation that pays tribute to Louis Sullivan. The original flooring is made of reinforced concrete. In the early 21st century, the building fell into a state of disrepair.

Location and function
The building is located between the western edge of Washington Park and the Dan Ryan Expressway along a section of Garfield Boulevard that formerly hosted prominent businesses such as the Wanzer Milk Company and the Schulze Baking Company. The area has suffered from economic decay and crime. One of the few significant remaining businesses in the old Black Belt is the Butternut Bread Company, which occupies the building. According to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, its current function is as an Industry/Processing/Extraction - processing site, and its original historical function was as an Agriculture/Subsistence - processing site.

Baking company
The business was once Chicago's largest wholesale business entity. Although, according to Form 10-K filings by the Interstate Bakeries Corporation with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the Schulze Baking Company was not formed until 1927, many records contradict this claim. Historical accounts of Chicago claim that Paul Schulze, 1910-11 president of the National Association of Master Bakers, started the Schulze Baking Company in 1893 with his brothers. In 1912, prior to the construction of the plant, the company had four baking plants throughout the city of Chicago and general offices in the Chicago Stock Exchange Building on LaSalle Street in the Chicago Loop. In the 1910s, the company had extensive legal battles regarding protecting its trademarks. Interstate's own company history even confirms the 1893 beginning of Schulze.

The building is a white terra cotta structure designed by John Ahlschlager in 1914 for the Schulze Baking Company. The terra cotta walls were five storeys high. The building featured blue lettering, foliated cornice ornamentation, and stringcourses of rosettes. The building uses 700 windows grouped to complement the ornamentation's allusion to themes of nature and purity. The ornamentation is considered abstract, Sullivanesque and modern. The company used Apron conveyor manufactured by the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company of Columbus, Ohio. A lengthy low industrial complex extends northward behind the main five-story building. The structure has a flat concrete slab floor with four-way reinforcement designed to support 300 pounds per square inch (2,100 kPa). The dimensions of the building 298 feet 4 inches (90.9 m) by 160 feet (49 m) and it is composed of floor space segmented into 17 feet 6 inches (5.3 m) by 20 feet (6.1 m). The second floor is 9 inches (23 cm) thick except in the 7 feet 6 inches (2.3 m) square surrounding each column where it is 14 inches (36 cm) thick. As of late 2008, the building was showing signs of wear, disrepair and neglect. At least one terra cotta cornice was missing, and the building had numerous walkway coverings to protect passersby from falling debris such as further terra cotta loss. One side wall was propped up with wood beams at 45 degree angles. In addition, the building has some graffiti markings.

Building Activity

  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov activity.buildings_person.create
    about 6 years ago via