Created June 25, 2003
Updated February 29, 2004

© The Chicago Bar Project
Written by Sean Parnell

Pictured above is part of A. Finkl & Sons manufacturing campus. Not only has the company been one of America's leading steel manufactures since 1870, but A. Finkl & Sons also has been active in local environmental and social issues. A. Finkl & Sons also believes that a steel manufacturing plant doesn't have to be an eyesore. In fact, one of the most scenic drives at night in Chicago is Cortland Street between Clybourn and Ashland. You will pass well-lighted walkways, an illuminated sign promoting their having planted, "over 2 million trees," a fountain, and the walls of the buildings are lit up with thousands of lights. The drive is capped off with a trip over one of Chicago's old-school, narrow iron bridges that spans across the North Branch of the Chicago River.

The A. Finkl & Sons architectural improvements were designed by Sonic Architects, a firm that, "has taken on a number of challenging commercial and industrial projects that have helped to harmonize the city's architecture to coexist with its changing neighborhoods." This strip of Cortland has become so aesthetically pleasing, that it has been named the "North River Industrial Corridor," and, in recent years, A. Finkl & Sons has been awarded the Landscape Contribution Award by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, the Park Steward Award by Friends of the Parks, "Model Corridor" by the New City YMCA Local Education and Economic Development (LEED) Council, one of 10 Bright New City Awards, to name just a few. Daniel Burnham would be proud.

"Was a Finkl employee from 1978 to 1989. I moved to northern Minnesota. I left before the landscaping project took place. Still have a brother who works there. Went back to visit old friends and even though my brother had told me what had been done at Finkl. I was amazed when when I came over the bridge. It was more than I could imagine."

Richard Howe

~ Have a good story relating to A. Finkl & Sons? E-mail it to me. ~

[back to the Leopard Lounge] [back to the Chicago Bar Project]

written by Sean Parnell