Calumet Heritage Partnership

Identifying, protecting, and preserving the natural, cultural, and recreational heritage of  the Calumet region of Illinois and Indiana
About CHP The Calumet Heritage Partnership is a diverse, bi-state partnership of environmental, cultural and historical organizations and individuals, libraries, educational institutions, municipalities, and governmental agencies.  Each partner is committed to celebrating, preserving and protecting the unique heritage of the Calumet region.


To identify, preserve, protect and reclaim the natural, historical, cultural and recreational heritage of the Calumet region of Illinois and Indiana for the purposes of educating and inspiring the public, restoring regional pride, and revitalizing our communities and their interconnectedness.

Remains of  ACME Steel



Chicago's Steel Heritage Project

The Steel Heritage Project of the Calumet Heritage Partnership was unable to raise enough money and surmount other obstacles regarding the Acme Coke Plant property and no longer has any rights to the structures at the coke plant.  The plant is presently controlled by a demolition contractor and may be torn down at any time.  The good news is that during the period that demolition was postponed many documents, architectural drawings, photographs, artifacts and other materials were salvaged from the plant and are currently stored at the Pullman State Historic Site.  There were also several photographers, (some professional, some amateur, some oriented toward history, and others oriented toward fine arts) who visited and photographed the coke plant and created a wonderful collection of pictures that document this facility even more extensively that many of the larger, more famous, steel facilities in the area.  It is planned that the Calumet Heritage Partnership and Pullman State Historic Site will cooperate in developing a Calumet Industrial Heritage Project on the Pullman site.  They are in the process of obtaining other large items including an Acme switching locomotive for the planned industrial project. 

Steel Heritage Project Background
Steelworkers, union leaders, labor historians, industrial archeologists, business organizations, and university representatives joined together as Chicago s Steel Heritage Project in an attempt to save the last vestiges of Chicago s historic steel making structures, located in Southeast Chicago, the heart of Chicago s early steel industry.

The Acme Coke Plant, and two Hulett Ore Unloaders have been designated among Illinois  2004 Ten Most Endangered Historic Sites by the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, and judged eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Hulett Iron Ore Unloaders
Hulett Iron Ore Unloaders
Click on photo for enlarged view


It is likely that the present owner of the world s last operable Hulett Ore Unloaders will reuse the machines for coal or bulk metal handling operations. It is necessary to establish a viewing area since there is no access on the land where the Huletts sit. The Huletts can best be seen from the Calumet River. 

Acme Blast Furnace

Last Blast Furnace Demolished

The Acme Blast Furnace, also included among Illinois  2004 Top Ten Most Endangered, was demolished over the July 4th weekend 2004.

The current owner of the land on which the furnace were located, agreed to store and transport pieces of the furnace to a future exhibit site.  The Calumet Heritage Partnership plans to display these pieces at the Pullman State Historic site.

Photo courtesy of the
Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois
Click on photos for enlarged view

Coal Handling StructuresCoal Handling Structures

Ram end of two Pusher Cars Ram end of two Pusher Cars

Quenching Tower
Quenching Tower

Oil House
Oil House

The Calumet Heritage Partnership, on behalf of Chicago's Steel Heritage Project, signed a contract to purchase the coke plant structures.  The structures included:

  • two batteries of coke ovens with the attached mechanized door systems and pusher cars;
  • 15 unique brick buildings (built between 1905 and 1930) used for offices, locker rooms, maintenance and operations, totaling 100,000 square feet of floor space;
  • elaborate and historic coal handling structures with 100 year-old wooden mixer cars;
  • historic steam driven gas powered exhauster fans.

Generous contributions have come in from Steel Heritage Project partners and a range of donors. We are very grateful to the following donors:

  • United Steelworkers of America, District 7, $40,000.
  • Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, $10,000.
  • Ispat-Inland Steel in Chicago Heights, $10,000.
  • Local donors including businesses and individuals, $5,000.
  • Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, $1,700 (for publicity)
  • Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, $38,000

While the Partnership has received some donations of equipment, it still must bear the cost of moving it. If you'd like to help with the Partnership's efforts, send your check to:

Calumet Heritage Partnership, 13300 S, Baltimore, Chicago, Il 60633


Mechanized Door Systems

Mechanized Door Systems

Pusher Side of Coke Batteries

Pusher Side of Coke Batteries

Employee Entrance

Employee Entrance


Gate House
Click on photos above for enlarged view.

Chicago's Steel Heritage Project Partners

Chicago's Steel Heritage Project is continuing  to accept donations to repay loans and to help secure the Calumet Industrial Heritage Project at the Pullman State Historic Site

The Calumet Heritage Partnership, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the fiscal agent representing the project.   The following entities made up the Chicago's Steel Heritage Project:

For more information contact Mark Bouman, President of the Calumet Heritage Partnership at 773-646-0436.