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South Deering Industry
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South Deering Industry Introduction
 Wisconsin Steel
 Interlake Steel
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Wisconsin Steel


Early View of Wisconsin Steel Looking West

      In 1875, there were plans to make the Calumet district the largest steel producing center in the world.  On July 5, 1875 a large group of state and local citizens gathered at what is now 109th street at the west bank of the Calumet River, to lay the cornerstone of Joseph H. Brown Iron & Steel Company, the first steel plant in the Calumet territory. 
      Breaking ground for the first mill was a festive day for South Chicagoans. People traveled through the murky swamps of the wetlands to witness this community altering event.  Many important people attended this spectacular event.
      Wisconsin Steel's beginning years were successful.  It became a very prominent company in the steel mill industry.  Wisconsin Steel continued operations as a wholly owned branch of International Harvester, with roughly one-half of its production used by the parent company (Harvester) and one half sold on the open market.  Then from 1970 and onward, the mill began to lose large sums of money.  This loss was mainly attributed to the passage of the Environmental  Protection Legislation in 1970.  For decades Wisconsin Steel had polluted South Deering skies with carbon monoxide and its water with cyanide, iron and lead.   By March 1980, Wisconsin Steel had lost $44 million dollars over a period of twelve months. It definetely had to "clean up" its act.  They needed a cash infusion to survive.  Basically, Wisconsin Steel was struggling to hold its position.  Then, on March 27, 1980 Wisconsin Steel was shut down.  The closing of Wisconsin Steel resulted in the closing of many others steel mills.


Wisconsin Steel After Shut Down

     This sudden closing of the mill reduced its value to an estimated $20 million dollars below what it would have brought for an ordinary closing.  Wisconsin Steel had declared bankruptcy.  They were deep in debt and to go on would have killed the company even more.  This was the reason for its sudden closing and its decrease in value. 
      Wisconsin Steels, slowly declined from a successful industry to a  non-existent one .  During the court hearings following the bankruptcy all machinery and other equipment could not be used because these items had to be accounted for.  Later after the hearings, a cleanup was begun and to this day has not been completed. 

Dumping Slag from Wisconsin Steel

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