http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/il/il0600/il0641/data/il0641.pdfIt was for grain...here is the engineers report
Older photos showing buildings at the Damen silos that have been torn downhttp://pruned.blogspot.com/2006/10/grain-elevators.html
Thanks for those links. You're right -- they're grain elevators. I did a little more research later and forgot to update this article.I found some old Chicago Tribune articles referring to the location as the Santa Fe silos. It stated something along the lines of the city gave the land for the silos to the Santa Fe railroad in exchange for giving up other land nearby where there had been a deadly silo explosion (the guy jumped from the burning silo hoping to land in the water, and splatted on a dock). The railroad was OK with the deal because it wanted another way to access the Chicago River.
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