Friday, August 5, 2016

"Come, let us make bricks"




     I've decided to create the tradition of "Trumpless Friday," between now and the election. 


Scott Miracale at Glen-Gery
    "Please excuse any mess," says Scott Miracle as we step into the Glen-Gery brickworks, "but understand we make brick out of dirt."
     With that in mind, it's surprisingly clean.
     We are in Marseilles, Illinois, 75 miles southwest of Chicago. I'm here due to one of those delightful connections that are made in a great city. Last April, I toured the Inner-City Muslim Action Network on West 63rd Street. IMAN runs a health center, transitional residences, social halls and an art studio. There I met a sculptor preparing the monument to honor the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's 1966 march in Marquette Park, to be unveiled at 67th and Kedzie Friday.
     The  bas-relief sculpture was being carved from fresh bricks, appropriately enough — King was hit in the head by one of the bricks, stones and bottles thrown by white protesters, opposed to his notion that Americans of any race should be able to live wherever they please.
     Most know about King. But bricks? I wondered where they planned to fire the monument's bricks. They pointed me toward Marseilles (pronounced "Mar-sells") to Glen-Gery Brick, the biggest brickworks in the state, last of what used to be a busy hub for brick-making in and around Chicago.
     Brick-making goes way back; it's discussed in the Bible.

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10 comments:

  1. It was likely the actual brick thrown at Dr. King was a Chicago common pink brick. They are no longer manufactured for some reason. Mr. Google has revealed a concise reason why they are only available from salvage companies.

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  2. I do enjoy these visits to manufacturers (and applaud the No Trump Fridays!). May I suggest next a visit to H.J. Mohr Concrete Ready Mix in Oak Park? Everybody does Ferrara Pan across Harlem there in Forest Park, but I've never seen anyone do the Mohr concrete plant just east of it.

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  3. Factory tours are neat, aren't they? I used to do a lot of them in a previous job, and always enjoyed them.

    Bitter Scribe

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  4. I'm glad you included the video; I was having some trouble visualizing the prices you described. (Also, made me realize I'd never heard your voice before.)

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    1. Thanks for mentioning the video -- I would have missed it entirely, having read the column in the newspaper.


      john

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    2. You're very welcome. ("Prices" was supposed to be "process," BTW.)

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    3. Don't you love auto-correct!

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  5. Mr. Miracle indeed. Trollope should have included him along with the Rev. Crawley, Mrs. Proudie and the Prettyman sisters in The Last Chronicle of Barset, among whose colorful characters are the brickmakers who comprise a large portion of Crawley's parishioners.

    john

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  6. Love these columns! Makes me wish you had a video of your visit to Chicago Mailing Tube Company!

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  7. Love these columns! Makes me wish you had a video of your visit to Chicago Mailing Tube Company!

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