If there is one part of Chicago history that has been ignored, it is the steel industry on the cities southeast side. Once a driving force behind beams for skyscrapers and rail for railroads during the first industrial revolution, all that remains are contaminated fields and old foundations.
That was not the case up until early 2005. The Acme Steel Plant was still sitting there, shuttered in bankruptcy since 2001. Sadly, the opportunity was lost to save anything. The entire plant was demolished and removed for its scrap value. Rumor has it that pieces were saved for a possible museum at the Acme Coke Plant, but that has yet to be seen, as have the artifacts.
Even if chunks were saved, the fact remains that the last blast furnace in Illinois is gone forever.
When the mill's blast furnace "A" was running at full capacity it was capable of producing about 3,400 tons per day. Another blast furnace at the site, blast furnace "B", was used as an emergency backup. A costly relining of blast furnace "A" was done in 2000, less than a year before it shut down.
The furnace was fed from the Acme Coke Plant, more than a mile away, via overhead conveyors. Hopefully the Acme Coke Plant will become a steel museum to preserve what little is left of Chicago's industrial past.