Thursday, June 23, 2016

June 23, 1927 -- Material Services Makes a Deal

June 23, 1927 – The Material Services Corporation buys two parcels of property along the North Branch of the Chicago River, just north of Chicago Avenue and west of Halsted Street, a deal costing $200,000.  The east property is purchased from the widow of Charles M. Hewitt, who, before he died, was the president of a railroad supply company.  The western section of the property is purchased from the Parker-Washington Company of St. Louis.  Together the two tracts hold 670 feet of frontage on the river and 790 feet along the Chicago and North Western railroad right-of-way.  The property is today the location of Prairie Services Yard #32. Chicagoan Henry Crown began Material Services in 1919 with a borrowed $10,000.  By 1959 the company had a controlling interest in General Dynamics and was worth 100 million dollars.  He was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II and was always a well-prepared businessman.  “When the Colonel gets into a deal,” one real estate executive said of him, “he knows the size of your underwear.”  [New York Times, August 16, 1990]

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