North Chicago in Lake County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Company
The Waukegan Works and North Chicago
The Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Company of Worcester, MA. established a wire mill – The Waukegan Works – east of this location along Lake Michigan. The land for its Illinois operation was purchased January 16, 1891, on the recommendation of its advisers: Philip W. Moen, Charles G. Washburn, Fred H. Daniels, and Edwin Lenox and included much of the Elisha Wadsworth estate. In March 1891, on forty acres, construction of the mill complex was started. By September, a galvanizing operation began. In November the company’s subdivision, the Waukegan Highlands, was platted west of the mill. The first wire was drawn in December.
In 1892, the company, a principal manufacturer of Glidden barbed wire, introduced Waukegan barbed wire, invented by John D. Curtis.
The establishment of the plant led both an industrial and population boom. Workers from Worcester and immigrants from Finland, Sweden, and Eastern Europe moved to the Washburn and Moen Subdivision. Slovenian workers called the area the “Kompanija” – the Company District. First named South Waukegan, the community that rapidly developed near the
The American Steel and Wire Company, which later became a part of United States Steel Corporation, acquired the mill in 1899. By the 1950’s, the plant had become one of Lake County’s largest employers. In 1979, the mill was closed for economic reasons.
Erected 1995 by Illinois State Historical Society and North Chicago Center for the Arts.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Illinois State Historical Society series list. A significant historical date for this entry is January 16, 1891.
Location. 42° 20.411′ N, 87° 50.039′ W. Marker is in North Chicago, Illinois, in Lake County. Marker is on Sheridan Road (Illinois Route 137) near 10th Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1028 Sheridan Road, North Chicago IL 60064, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Waukegan U.S.S. Maine Memorial (approx. 1.3 miles away); Waukegan Doughboy Statue (approx. 1.3 miles away); Cpl. Richard E. Bush Memorial (approx. 1.3 miles away); Waukegan Veterans Memorial (approx. 1.3 miles away); Orion Perseus HoweRay Bradbury Park (approx. 1.4 miles away); Welcome to Ray Bradbury Park (approx. 1˝ miles away); Building Four (approx. 1.9 miles away).
More about this marker. An urban marker with its own pullout on a busy road - a rarity! Kudos to the Illinois State Historical Society, the North Chicago Center for the Arts, the City of North Chicago, and the Illinois Department of Transportation for working together to allow travelers to safely stop and read about an important part of regional history!
Also see . . .
1. Washburn and Moen Manufacturing, Worchester, Mass. (Submitted on November 18, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. North Chicago. (Submitted on November 18, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 18, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 2,340 times since then and 199 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 18, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.