40 E. Railroad Ave.
Grayslake, IL 60030
1922-1982 (as Grayslake Gelatin; buildings on property date as early as 1904)
Abandoned small-town industrial site with buildings comprising of a former fruit cannery (1904), a dairy cannery (1912) and an office building. The dairy cannery was repurposed and incorporated as Grayslake Gelatin in 1922, its founder inventing the concept of using animal hides for gelatin production instead of bones. The other buildings on the property were later absorbed into the operation. Manufacturing ceased in 1982 amid the energy crisis and the buildings were leased for various alternate uses. Decades of of poor upkeep (and the source of childhood lore) led to the site’s purchase by the Village of Grayslake in 2015 — by 2017 the land was cleared.
Status: DEMOLISHED 2017, site converted into a park with the restored smokestack as its centerpiece.
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Loot: product and labels left behind when the plant shut down, site plans, research notes, bricks, file cabinet full of vintage maps and travel guides.