To sites 30, 31 and 32
Continue north on Commercial Avenue to 83rd Street
Turn east (right) to South Shore Drive
Turn north (left) on South Shore Drive to 79th Street
Turn east (right) on 79th Street and drive to Brandon Avenue (site of the former South Works Plant)
at Illinois Steel (later
U. S. Steel) with a sign in six languages
30) Saint Michael Archangel Polish Catholic Church (83rd and
South Shore Drive)
St. Michael’s Parish, Eighty-third Street and South Shore Drive, South Chicago, was organized in 1892 from a division of the parish in the Immaculate Conception. St. Michael’s was founded as a national parish to serve the Polish families of the “Bush”. The work of organizing the new parish out of a nucleus of about 300 families was at first entrusted to the Rev. John Zyla. However, he was soon succeeded by the Rev. Adolph Nowicki, who immediately, with the help of his parishioners, constructed a small temporary building, in which services were held until the completion of the large brick building on Eighty-third and Brandon Avenue, in September, 1892. The parsonage was built in the same year. The current Gothic revival church structure with a 250 foot steeple was built in 1907 by architect William Brinkman. It is a masonry building constructed of brown brick with limestone trim. The building is cruciform in plan with large Gothic-arched stained glass windows designed by F. X. Zettler of Munich, Germany.
31) The “Bush” (Area east of South Shore Drive
(US Route 41) from 79th Street to 85th Street)
32) U. S. Steel Site (79th Street to 92nd Street along
the shore of Lake Michigan)
The first steel plant in South Chicago which began operations in 1880 was the North Chicago Railway Mill Company. The lake offered economical shipping routes for iron ore, coke, and limestone that could be shipped here by boat or barge to various industrial markets. Fresh water needs were met by Lake Michigan and the Calumet River. Ground breaking for the mill was March 22,1880, with the first steel produced on June 14, 1889. North Chicago’s Steel Companies: Union Steel, Joliet Steel, and the Bayview plant of the Milwaukee Iron Companies later merged to form the Illinois Steel Co. In 1890 the company merged with the Union Steel Co. to form Illinois Steel. In the year 1901, U.S. Steel South Works, Illinois’ largest steel mill, was Incorporated It occupies about 576 acres of lake front property. In 1913, steel production in the U.S. was 31,300,874 tons, more than Britain and Germany combined. In 1917, production of steel in the U.S. was 45,060,607 tons, more than two-thirds of the world output. At its peak of production South Works employed close to 20,000 workers. In 1979 the number of employees was down to about 10,000, and layoffs became common. On Thursday, January 9, 1992, when the shutdown became official there were less than 700 workers. On April 10,1992 South works was permanently shut down. The plant was closed partly because of the stagnation of the economy, which had depressed demand for the structural steel that was South Works’ only remaining product.