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
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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