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South Deering Industry
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General Mills


Rialto Elevator and Star & Crescent Co.
Predecessors to General Mills

      It was in 1902, when the Wabash Railroad realizing Chicago's advantages as a wheat center, built the Rialto Elevator on a slip of the Calumet River near 104th Street.  One year later a flour mill was erected by Star & Crescent Milling Company.  Later in 1922, the Washburn Crosby company purchased the flour mill from the Star & Crescent Milling Company.  With that in mind the Washburn Crosby Company began to remodel and rebuild the mill. 
      In April of 1923 ground was broken for the cereal mill.  In August of 1923 the seven story building became the home of the Gold Medal Products Company.  Later that same year another Washburn Crosby subsidiary came into existence, The Star Grain Company.  It was established to provide the continuous supply of grain and sufficient wheat storage for the Chicago mill operation.  The first step to link the two plants place in February, 1922.  The Washburn Crosby Company purchased the flour mill from the Star and Crescent Milling Company.  They then immediately began remodeling, rebuilding, and enlarging the mill.  The plant was rearranged and new machinery was also put in all while the mill still in operation. 
      In early 1929, The Washburn Crosby Mill, and the two subsidiaries, Gold Medal Products Company and the Star Grain Company all became one.  This movement lead into naming the company General Mills, which continued to expand and modernize in South Chicago. 
Later they purchased a Rialto Elevator, as an annex added to it, doubling it's capacity.  Already 8000 hundred weight, covered it's rye mill to a wheat mill.  Later in order to supply the Cereal Plant with flour for Bisquick and Softasilk they installed a Redler conveyor.   The original Cereal Plant building expanded to eight stories, along with a seven story building was added.  During the first year the cereal plant produced pancake flour and other products.  As of March in 1949, an 80,000 square foot warehouse was added and put in place for operation.  Two stories, but two stories are one.  This is often told as the Chicago story. 
      On Sunday, October 10, 1948, the plant had an open house.  At 10:00 in the morning they opened the doors to the first open house in the history of Chicago.  Tourists and friends showed up and were shown floor by floor of the building. 
      In 1949, many workers were crowded and congested and anticipated an expansion of the facilities of the loading department.  On Monday March 7, 1949 their anticipation was granted when the new warehouse was placed in operation .  This represented more than an increase in space, it was a  whole new system of loading.  Under this new system, the conveyors line from the Packing Department joined a single main line.
      In 1955, an ingredient was constructed in the storage house between the Four Mill and the Package Foods Plant.  Later in 1958, another addition was done to the warehouse.  So then they continued to work and then they decided again in about 1966.  Around that time they decided to expand again.  After they were finished with the expansion to the warehouse so then again in 1958, they decided to add a four story addition was made to the Package Food Plant.  This then increased their sales by 15%.  In 1984, the Flour mill was closed due to the sales that weren't good.   Later in 1990,  The South Chicago Training Center built in the warehouse, making a four story packaging building complete.  Flour items such as Bisquick and softasilk are removed so that the Chicago plant only produces cereal.  About a year later ground was broken for a new facility that they called "HULK," that was going to produce a new cereal called Ripple Crisp. Unfortunately the company wasn't successful, after so many repairs and so many additions to the building they then decided to close.  In 1995 the announcement that the South Chicago Plant would close May 1, 1995. 


General Mills Cereal Plant, 1949

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