University Area Historic District
Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad administrators envisioned a bustling warehouse district paralleling its spur line along South Fourth St. East. That district never materialized, but by 1912, the warehouse stood here, kitty-corner to the freight depot. The Swift Co., a national meat processor, occupied the solid brick structure from 1913 into the 1920s. The company shipped freight cars full of meat and meat byproducts (including soap, glue, and fertilizer) from its Chicago processing plants to warehouses like this one across the country. Designed to hold heavy loads, the warehouse relied on massive timbers and rebar-reinforced brick walls to bear the weight of the stored freight. The architectural format is typical masonry construction and exhibits a craftsman's flair in the raised brick accents (quoins) at the corners. Two large front openings (now window bays) once served as loading docks, reflecting the building's original function. After 1927, Blair Transfer and Storage occupied the warehouse into the 1960s.