Sunday, August 9, 2020


Marker Details

Historical Marker:

Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Company

The marker is located on the north side of Illinois Route 176, just east of the toll road.
Dedication Date:
Dedication By:
North Chicago Center for the Arts, Inc. and The Illinois State Historical Society

Marker Description:
The Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Company of Worcester, MA., established a wire mill - the Waukegan Works - east of this location along Lake Michigan. The land for its Illinois operation was purchased January 16, 1891, on the recommendation of its advisers: Philip W. Moen, Charles G. Washburn, Fred H. Daniels, and Edwin Lenox and included much of the Elisha Wadsworth estate. In March 1891, on forty acres, construction of the mill complex was started. By September, a galvanizing operation began. In November, the company's subdivision, the Waukegan Highlands, was platted west of the mill. The first wire was drawn in December.

In 1892, the Company, a principal manufacturer of Glidden Barbed wire, introduced Waukegan Barbed Wire, invented by John D. Curtis.

The establishment of the plant led both an industrial and population boom. Workers from Worcester and immigrants from Finland, Sweden, and Eastern Europe moved to the Washburn and Moen subdivision. Slovenian workers called the area the "Kompanija"- the Company District. First named South Waukegan, the community that rapidly developed near the mill was later incorporated as North Chicago.

The American Steel and Wire Company, which later became a part of the United States Steel Corporation, acquired the mill in 1899. By the 1950s, the plant had become one of Lake County's largest employers. In 1979, the mill was closed for economic reasons.

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