From its closure in 2004 to its demise 10 years later, the factory which Brach’s Confections called home for 81 years was a mecca for photogs and graffiti writers, alike. Rising 12 stories near the Cicero Green Line platform, Brach’s was easily one of the largest abandonments this side of the Packard Plant, and being occasionally pitch-dark with most of its stairwells cut out by the property owner and scrappers: it was also just as treacherous to navigate. I believe at least one scrapper fell to their death, here.
In May 2011, on my second and final trip: we happened across an emergency exit map screwed to a ground-floor wall near our entry point, and simply cut it down. Once home, I was then able to compare the map to satellite imagery, and identify roughly where the “good staircase” that leads to the roof was, for future reference. That staircase was located in the southeast corner of building M, alongside the two elevators; almost all the others were missing, and getting from floor to floor otherwise relied on a series of service ladders and crossing rooftops.
Though its proportions are a bit off, being hand-drawn; the building layouts are pretty accurate. Buildings M, T, R and S (S being our entry point, and where the map was found) were the 12-story buildings, with the freight yard running under R/S and between A, C, E and L. B was the cornerstone building with the Brach’s logo terracotta.
Unfortunately I was not able to put this map to further-use; in 2012 the property owner changed security companies to a crew who didn’t fuck around. The place was still doable but was now heavily patrolled on-foot and by vehicles; and remained under heavy watch until demolition began in the second-half of 2013.
(Welcome back to the Museum of Loot & Interesting: a regular feature of random acts of theft that may just crush every urbex ethics-Nazi’s will to live…)