William Frederick Howat.

A standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) online

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volatile spirits which were capable of substituting gasoline for internal
combustion motors. This is considered by authorities to be the most
important development ever made in the history of petroleum refining.
One hundred and twenty converters are now in process of erection at
the Whiting works, and the construction is being planned for other
refineries. This will result in doubling the production of gasoline by
these refineries.

"One of the largest caudle factories is included in the Whiting
works. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of candles go from this fac-
tory. The manufacture of Christmas candles is an important part of
the production, and is carried on throughout the entire year. The wax
refinery supplies wax to the world for candles, wax papers, domestic
purposes, etc.

"Enormous quantities of road oils and paving materials are pro-


duced. A method has been invented for making asphalt oils for road
construction that have the characteristics of the natural asphalts, and
these are now used in large quanties in substitution for natural asphalts.
They are also used, together with special pitches, for saturating rooting
papers and shingles.

' ' The Ohio and Indiana iields have long since become exhausted, and
the Whiting refinery is now using crudes from the Kansas and Okla-
homa fields. These are pumped directly through 8 and 10-inch pipe lines.

"The Standard Oil Company was the first corporation to recognize
the wonderful possibilities the situation of the Calumet region held for
great manufacturing plants. In the twenty-four years since its con-
struction began at Whiting, it has witnessed the most amazing growth
in industrial operations any section ever had. In the importance of its
products, the magnitude of its plant, the value of its shipments, the far-
sightedness and progressiveness of its officers, and the prosperity and
contentment of its employes, the Whiting works of the Standard Oil
Company of Indiana is now, as always, one of the leading industries of
the Calumet district."

Original Owners of the AViiitinc; 1'lat

The dimensions of the Standard Oil Company's i)laiit at AVliiting
are so overshadowing to everything local that there are few people who
know anything about the original ownei-s of the land upon which tlii^
industry and the city now stand. In IS.")!)-.").') George W. Clarke l)ought
thousands of acres of swamp lantls in tlie northwestern part of tlie Cal-
umet region, and soon afterwards George M. Roberts acquired sucli
large tracts in the same locality that nearly all of what we now know
as North Township was held by them as landlords. Mr. Clarke died in
1866 and left his Lake County property to his sister, who had married
Jacob Forsythe, general freight and passenger agent of the Erie Railroad
in Chicago. ]\Ir. Forsythe added to the original holdings of his wife,
so that within the next twenty years he controlled the present site of
East Chicago, and considerable of the land platted as AYhiting by the
Standard Oil Company in 1889.

Besides the Clarke and Roberts estates, there was a third large owner
of the land upon which the AA^hiting industries were planted. Henry
Schrage, a young German-American soldier of the Civil war, abandoned
railroad service in the late '60s, opened a general store at the settlement
which afterward became AA^hiting, bought real estate with some of the
profits of the business, and when the Rockefeller people came was in a


position to turn over portions of his property to the Standard Oil

First Builders of the Oil Plant

It may be interesting, also, to recall the names of those who were
most instrumental in the first construction work of the manunoth oil
refinery and accessory manufactories. It was prosecuted under the
direct supervision of W. P. Cowan, vice president, mth a long list of
assistants, such as J. G. Davidson, W. E. Warwick and Louis Graham,
engineei-s; William Curtis, master mechanic, and Charles Halsey, J.
N. Gow, Nicholas Seubert, R. Harris, J. P. Freeman, George Klein and
Edward Mack, in charge of the mechanical departments, ^^^th George
P. France as general superintendent. Alexander McClelland, a Chicago
engineer, drove a tunnel under Lake Michigan, and constructed the
first waterworks connected with the refining processes. And with this
first building and bustling and substantial development of a solid indus-
try, the original town of AYhiting sprung up around these operations in
all its mushroom crudeness.

Oil Cloth and Asphalt Factories

Outside the oil industries, the largest manufactories of Whiting are
those conducted by the Petrolene Company, turning out oil cloth, and
by the AA'^estrumite Company, the product of whose plant is a kind of
asphaltic cement, composed of the famous Trinidad asphalt of South
America and the invention of Baron L. S. Von Westrum, of Holland.

The Petrolene Company was established in Chicago in 1901, under
another name, and engaged in the paint and roofing business. Since
1903 it has been a Whiting industry, expanding all the time, although
slowly in comparison with other industries developed l)y almost un-
limited capital.

Gary, Young, but Quite Finished

It is a most trite statement that the City of Gary is the creation of
the United States Steel Corporation ; all the world knows it — no munic-
ipal creation has been more universally exploited — and yet to even the
constant visitor, or the actual resident, it is a daily wonder that any-
thing so young as Gary should be so metropolitan and finished. You
may repeat and re-repeat the common explanation that it is backed


and has always been pushed along by one of tlie richest and most power-
ful corporations in the world ; and yet you cannot snuff out that inclina-
tion to Avonder that within eight years these gigantic industries and
this solidly and beautifully built city were but plans in the brains of

The mighty work was clearly divided between the construction com-
pany and the Gary Land Company. As the latter has had in charge the
making of the City of Steel, a description of its work will be deferred
to the histor.y of the municipality and the various institutions identified
with its civic, social and religious life.

The development of the vast industries controlled by the United
States Steel Corporation at Gary has been so rapid and involves so
many intricate and interwoven details that there are probably not half
a dozen persons in the world who have mastered the subject completely
- — Judge Gary himself, its strong head, and a favored few. Even to
attempt it would be to write a book, without venturing lieyond the
one subject. The best that can be done is to give an idea of magni-
tude, and, even as the words are written, conditions may change and
some plant may be completed to which has been assigned a part in
the great metallic schemes founded and developed by the Steel Cor-
poration, whicli conducts the steel mills at Gary controlled by the cor-

With the late resumption of work at nearly full capacity, the steel
mills will probably employ 10.000 men, and other subsidiary industries of
the company, as follows: American Sheet and Tin Plate Company,
2,200: Universal Portland Cement Company, 1,500; American Bridge
Company, 1,500, and the P^lgiu, Joliet & Eastern Railway yards better
known as the Kirk yards, 2.000. Generally speaking, the statement will
hold to the truth that the industries now controlled by the United States
Steel Corporation at Gary give employment to 17,000 men and cover a
territory seven miles from east to west l)etween Lake Michigan and the
Grand Calumet River. The main steel plant of the corporation — the
steel mills, so called — occupies a tract of land two miles in length and one
mile in width lying along the shore of the lake immediately north of
Gary proper, and nearly in the center of tlie seven-mile strip. At the
eastern edge of the steel plant is the harlior, or slip, extending over
lialf a mile in from the shore and affording berths for half a dozen 12,000-
■ ton ore freighters and equipped with a .spacious turning basin at its inner
terminus. West of the steel mills are the shops and repair yards of the
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway. East of the mills and across the slip
is located the mammoth coke oven plant of the corporation and the site
of the National Tube Works.


Transportation by Land and Water

Ground was broken for the steel mills on the 1st of June, 1906, and
up to the present time the United States Steel Corporation has expended
approximately $80,000,000 in their construction and that of the sub-
sidiary plants, with harbor improvements. With the facilities pro-
vided by water transportation and the railways, to which every part of
its industrial territory is connected through the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern
System, it is difficult to conceive of more thorough means of freight
handling than those enjoyed by the Corporation. The Kirk Railway
yards, the home of that railway, as well as the Chicago Outer Belt, com-
prises a square mile of car shops, engine houses, sidings, coal chutes,
water tanks, freight houses and storage tracks.

The harbor is over a mile in length to the outer end of the breakwater
and about two hundred and fifty feet in width, with a 750-foot turning
basin, arranged to accommodate the big steamers operated by their own
power without the assistance of tugs. It is solidly walled in steel-rein-
forced concrete and has a mean depth of about thirty feet. The mam-
moth mills and coke ovens of the steel plan front upon the harbor and
docks, that are equipped with electric cranes, derricks and automatic
shovels for the rapid transferring of the iron ore from the freighters to
the docki^. The huge steamers ply continuously tluring the open season
between the iron mines of the ^lassaba Mountain range. Minnesota, and
the Gary Harl)or.

The Face of Nature Changed

The bold work required to plant the great steel mills where they are
is told thus in an official publication of the City of Gary: "In erecting
the mills of the Indiana Steel Company the builders changed the topog-
raphy of the Calumet region almost beyond recognition. They took the
Grand Calumet River and bodily moved it half a mile south of its ancient
bed and gave it a new channel. Then they took the Lake Shore and
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tracks, and played the same trick with them.
In other words, a river and more than twenty miles of railroad track
were shifted around to make a suitable site for what is destined to be
the greatest steel-making plant in the world. The lake front itself was
filled in and a harbor excavated from the lake to the river, where for-
merly the wild deer stalked. The site of the steel furnace where 9,000
men are now employed was formerly occupied l^y a fishing and hunting
club, composed of Chicago men who hunted through the swamps and
sand dunes along what is now Broadway and fished in the Grand Cal-


umet River near the site now occupied by the steel hospital and admin-
istration building'. In those days there was good fishing where the
Gary Hotel now stands, and that was only five years ago."

Some Big Facts About the Steel Mills

Few clearer and at the same time more condensed statements have
been made regarding the giant industries in the hands of the United
States Steel Corporation than those contained in the following paper
written by A. D. Schaffer, secretary of the Gary Commercial Club :

"The erection of the gigantic structures intended for the use of the
United States Steel Corporation was marvelous. The loss of life attend-
ing such work was reduced to the minimum. Buildings arose as if by
magic. Some of them have a length of 1,900 feet. The great blast fur-
naces are intended to produce raw material to be used in the various
mills. Eight blast furnaces were completed, and when the mills have
reached their capacity these furnaces will be required to produce 7,000
tons of basic metal each twenty-four hours. Twelve hundred acres were
covered with buildings very rapidly. In order to give each department
ample switching facilities, it required 160 miles of railroad track to be
laid in the yards.

"The power to generate the electricity that drives the entire insti-
tution is produced by thirty-three gas engines of 3,000 horsepower each,
working side by side in one building. These engines are driven by what
was formerly allowed to go to waste. Think of it ! One hundred thou-
sand horsepower generated by waste gas. and you have an idea of the

■'Ten thousand tons of coal are now being used each day in the By-
product Coke Ovens. The E. J. & E. R. R., or the belt line having its
terminal in Gary, is the means by which large quantities of raw material
are transported from one department to another, and it handles all the
finished product in its out-bound shipment.

■'Let us stop and figure; from 128 to 135 trainloads of thirty-five
and forty loaded cars every twenty-four hours, or a train every thirteen
minutes, and we shall have an idea of the tremendous extent of this
industry. ' '

The site of the manufactories operated by the Indiana Steel Com-
pany has an area of 1,400 acres, or over two square miles. There are
already in operation eight blast furnaces, fifty-six open-hearth furnaces,
plate and rail mills, merchant bar mills, billet mills and a large car-axle
plant, the last named being the only concern of the kind west of Pitts-
burgh. The exclusive use of the open-hearth process in steel making has


Up Bec'Adw.vy Toward the Steel ]\Iills

At the Gary Irox Ore Docks


resulted in a marked increase in the capacity of the plant as compared
with the output of pig iron, making it a rival of the South Chicago and
Homestead mills in that regard. It is estimated that eighth- million dol-
lars, or fully ten million dollars yearly, has been expended in the con-
struction of these various manufactories.

The plans of the United States Corporation for the Indiana Steel
Works comprise sixteen blast furnaces and nearly a hundred open-
hearth furnaces, of which there are in actual operation eight of the for-
mer and fifty-six of the latter: so that substantially one-half of the
grand scheme has been realized. The ultimate capacity of the works
is placed at four million tons of iron ore annually, or the outf>ut of two
million tons of finished steel and more than one million tons of .-reel

American Sheet axp Tix Plate Plant

The plant of the American Sheet and Tin Plate Company is located
on a tract of 240 acres, which lies on the lake front 4.1H30 feet west of
the western line of the steel plant proper, and north of the Kirk Railway
yards. It is a branch of the Pittsburgh concern controlled by the cor-
poration and represents an investment of half a million dollars — and
this, although but one of the six contt'mplated units of the establish-
ment has been completed. Ground was first broken in March. 1910. and
the first sheet of tin rolled in June of the following year. The build-
ings ai*e all of steel on concrete beds. EverA-thiug in tin will be turned
out of this plant, which consists of a series of structures which resemble
long train sheds, all connected by corrugated roofs. Tht- plate and
jobbing mills and warehouses comprise ten separate departments, and
the sheet mill plant fifteen. There are also a bar storage bmlding
a quarter of a mile long, and an office building within a few feet of the
western limit of the steel company's plant and immediately north of
the offices of the Elgin. Joliet & Eastern Railway. In the autumn of
1910. soon after the completion of the plant. 100 concrete houses and
apartments were begun for employees of the company — ^the first experi-
ment iu this wholesale construction of homes at reasonable rates for
which the corporation — in particular, the Gary Land Company — ^has be-
come so widely known.


This leads quite naturally to a notice of the operations of the Univer-
sal Portland Cement Company, at Buffington. four miles west of the
business center of GarA-. Ifs plant covers 100 acres and stretches for a


mile along the lake shore and the tracks of the New York Central, Balti-
more & Ohio and Pennsylvania. It is one of the most important of the
numerous auxiliaries controlled by the United States Steel Corporation,
as the plan is one of the most extensive in the country.

The Buffington Cement AYorks, comprising an imposing array of
crushers, furnaces and warehouses, is another example of the alertness
of modern industrialism which converts all by-products into profit.
Before the construction of the cement mills the slag from the steel mills
was dumped into the lake for filling purposes ; now it is used in the
manufacture of cement and goes into the construction of sidewalks,
streets and houses. The cement is composed of limestone and furnace
slag, which are crushed and fed into gyratory furnaces, after which
they are mixed in the proper proportions and passed through mills which
complete the process of pulverization and amalgamation. The mixture is
then passed through the calcining furnaces, and again run through
crushers, after which it is mixed with a certain amount of gjT)sum,
again ground and then sacked for the market. Altogether, over one
thousand men are employed in the cement works, the entire valuation
of which, with real estate, is placed at $8,000,000.

Decided progress has been made in the progress of the steel company's
coke by-product plant. From 10,000 to 12,000 tons of coal are now
used daily in the manufacture of coke for the blast furnaces, gas for
the heating of the steel to be rolled and for lighting purposes, with such
other by-products as tar and ammonia sulphate. The process by which
coke is made at the Gary plant is entirely different from that which has
been in use in the Pennsylvania coke regions. The batteries are lined
up on either side of an area through which passes a railway track. At
the rear of the batteries are openings and the coal which is crushed to
the size of small screenings or slack is dumped into the ovens from
the top of the battery. The coal is never allowed to come into contact
with the flame which plays around the oven, but which does not enter
it. The result is distillation of the contents, the gas escaping through
the top of the oven into a pipe which carries it to the gas tanks and the
far falling into another carrier which leads it into the by-products
house. The coke is pushed through the front of the oven into a waiting
car and transported to the screening house, where the various sizes are
assorted on screens. The gas, tar, ammonia sulphate and cyanide, all
of which are by-products of the coke ovens, are afterward purified to
whatever extent is necessary, much depending upon their future use.


American Bridge Company, Ambridge

In the names Ambridge and the American Bridge Companj-, the
industrial workers of the country recognize a high standard of efforts
made by the United States Steel Corporation to bring capital and labor
into friendly relations. Ambridge, Pennsylvania, the eastern home of
the American Bridge Company, and Ambridge. Indiana, a western

Street Scene at Ambridge

suburb of Gary, the headquarters of the company in Indiana, illustrate in
a marked manner the desire of moneyed interests to provide neat, com-
fortable and healthful homes for those in their employ. Success in such
efforts has nowhere been more manifest in the Calumet region than at
the " workingmen 's suburb" of Gary.

The plant of the American Bridge Company, at that locality, is dis-
tributed over 140 acres of ground, and although only two of the four
units contemplated have been completed, the works already give employ-
ment to 1,500 men. Construction was begun in April, 1909, being
pushed at record-breaking speed so that the works might be able to sup-



ply the structural steel for the lumierous other l)uil(lings being erected
at the same time by the United States Steel Corporation. Ultimately,
it is contemplated that the works at Ambridge, Indiana, shall be the
largest structural steel-making plant in the world.

As it now stands, the plant consists of two bridge shops : bending.

An Independent Plant

forge, machine and rivet-making shops; oil, store and power houses;
shipping and receiving yards and a large office building. The present
units in operation have an annual capacity of 120,000 tons of structural
steel and iron.

The office building overlooks the Grand Calumet Eiver, and is set in
the midst of a park, both natural and artificial. The front, extending
to the river's edge, has been terraced in a series of grassy steps, and in
the grounds are a baseball park and various tennis courts for the use
of employees. Across the river, south of the works, is the resident dis-
trict, connected with the works l)y a substantial bridge. This is the
suburb, or settlement, called Andjridge, and its main avenue, by that
name, is a practical illustration of modern theory and practice in the


construction of good homes for industrial workers and all others of
moderate means and intelligent ideas of their living rights.

Gaby Bolt and Screw Works

The only industry of any magnitude which is independent of the con-
trol of the United States Steel Corporation is known as the Gary Bolt
and Screw Works, completed during 1910 in East Gary. It is a branch
of the Pittsburgh Bolt and Screw Works and a heavy customer of the
corporation. The works cover twenty acres, employ 1,000 men and are
valued at $1,500,000.

Industries of the Future

There are a number of industries, promoted to a greater or less extent
by the corporation, which have either purchased sites or negotiated for
them at Gary ; among these are the American Steel and Wire Company,
National Tube Company, American Locomotive Company and the Amer-
ican Car and Foundry Company, most of which have proposed to build in
Gary not far from the center of the city.

Industrial Summary

From a careful sifting of accessible figures and a conference with
acknowledged authorities on conditions in the industrial centers of the
Calumet region, the editor believes that the following summaries are as
near the facts as may be obtainable :

No. of Acres Amount

Cities — Employees in Sites Investment

Gary 18,000 . 2.000 $90,000,000

East Chicago (Indiana Harbor).. 10,000 1,000 40.000,000

Whiting 2,500 650 50.000,000

Hammond 8,800 600 12,000,000

Total 39,300 4,250 $192,000,000



In Honor of John Brown — The, Speakers — First National Bank of
Crown Point — Personal Side of John Brown — Second Bank in
THE County — First National Bank of Hammond — Founded by
Messrs. Towle and Hammond — Reorganized by Messrs. Turner
AND Belman — First Trust Company — Other Financial Pioneers
— Absorption op the Coaimercial Bank — Lake County Savings
and Trust Company — Citizens German National — State National
Bank of Lowell — Bank of Whiting — First National, op Whit-
ing — East. Chicago Bank — First National, op East Chicago — In-
diana Harbor National Bank — First Calumet Trust and Savings
Bank — First State Bank of Tolleston — First National Bank of
Gary — Gary State Bank — Northern State Bank — South Side
Trust and Savings Bank — Other Late Banks and Trust Compa-
nies — Commercial and Peoples State Banks. Crown Point —
Lowell National Bank — First National Bank, Dyer — Farmers
AND Merchants Bank, Highland.

It is only necessary to revert to the year 101 -'] in onler to uiieover
the most interesting and significant facts connected with the early history
of banking in Lake County; for on November 19th of that year was gath-
ered at the elegant headquarters of the Hammond Country Club a
notable company of bankers to do honor to the good, strong father of
the financial fraternity in that section of Indiana — John Brown,
founder of the First National Bank of Crown Point in 1874, its presi-
dent since 1881, and one of the most sncces'^fnl men and great liearts

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 31 of 44)