Summary of early history of warehouse at 501 North Sacramento, Chicago, Illinois
Original Plans: Date on blueprints: August 1940.
Title of drawings: “Warehouse and Office Building for Sprague Warner & Company”.
Engineer/Architect: A. Epstein, a firm founded in 1921; one of the oldest and largest architecture, engineering and construction firms in the world. This Chicago firm exists today as A. Epstein and Sons International/ISI with offices in Chicago (headquarters), New York, Warsaw and Bucharest. For nearly 90 years, Epstein has been associated with landmark projects throughout the world. With the rebuilding of the Union Stockyards, Epstein made a name for himself in the food processing industry. Building the 501 N. Sacramento Building in 1940 for Sprague-Warner (whose name you can still see on the chimney stalk) ranked at that time as the largest retail grocery store in the U.S. Ranked in the Top Ten by Architect Magazine, some of Epstein’s Chicago projects include the Harold Washington Library, United Airlines Terminal One Complex at O’Hare Airport, McCormick Place Convention Center South Hall and West Expansion and Midway Airport New Passenger Terminal.
The Chicago Landmarks Historic Resources Survey provides the following details
for the building:
Architect: A. Epstein
Constructed: Started in 07/01/1940
Style: Art Deco/ Moderne
Possesses potentially significant architectural or historical features.
National Register: NO
Corporate Headquarters for Kraft General Foods: Drawings dated January 4, 1948 indicate that the building was owned by the Kraft Foods Company.
From 1949 to 1978, Kraft, the largest food company in the United States, housed it’s Central Division Headquarters at 501 N. Sacramento. Today, the Global Corporate Headquarters is located in Northfield, Illinois.
This was also the home of the Lakewood Fan Company until 2009. The Lakewood Engineering & Manufacturing Company, which once had 80 million in annual sales, was liquidated under chapter 7. Next time you see a fan, check the label, it’s probably a Lakewood Fan.