Santa Fe Grain Elevator Complex #1

copyright Jeff Ball

This building is part of the Santa Fe Grain Elevator Complex in Chicago, IL near Interstate 55 and Damen Rd. It was build in 1906 and then rebuild in the 30’s after a grain elevator explosion. There are several buildings including a power plant, a drying building, a rail car repair shop and several large grain silos measuring 40′ wide by 100′ tall.  At one time, this complex could process and store 1,700,00 bushels of grain.

The whole complex is now abandoned and is the substrate for graffiti artists, sleeping quarters for a few homeless and the muse of urban explorers and photographers. When I was on the site, I could just sense the productivity that it once had. It is also flanked by a small waterway and frames the downtown skyline of Chicago.

This image is of the only one story structure on the complex that still stands.  The eerie feel of this image is exactly what the space felt like. It was very calm with the only sounds being the dull roar of a nearby highway  and the creaking of  metal hanging from the roof as they blew in the wind.  Despite the beauty of the sunset, I couldn’t help but feel disturbed by the piles of debris and wet insulation that littered the space.

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