News / 7.9.18

97th Anniversary!

Our existence is very much the embodiment of the American Dream

This Sunday, July 15, 2018, marks our 97th anniversary. Our existence is very much the embodiment of the American Dream. Our founder, Abraham Epstein, as a teenager fled persecution in his native Russia (today, Kiev, Ukraine) in 1906, crossed the Atlantic as a solo passenger aboard the Hamburg-Amerika Line and eventually settled in Chicago, living at 671 W. 14th Street, in what today is known as University Village. A year later, Abraham would be accepted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he would earn his Engineering degree, with a concentration in civil engineering, as a member of the class of 1911. 


A - Abraham Epstein (circa 1905); his ticket that took him from Hamburg, Germany to New York City; the menu for the first night of his Atlantic voyage (a meal that included Salmon and Leg of Mutton); and a photo of his first home in Chicago at 671 W. 14th Street (where he lived in the basement room at the back of the building).

B - Abraham's acceptance notification to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Abraham learning how to survey while at UIUC; and Abraham's 'I' pin.

C - Abraham along with architect S. Scott Joy (circa 1914), where Abraham learned the trade

D - Chicago's Central Manufacturing District and the Clock Tower, where we had our first offices at 2001 Pershing Road

After graduating from UIUC, Abraham returned to Chicago to begin his professional career working as a structural engineer for a variety of engineering firms. In 1914, Abraham would come to work for the architect S. Scott Joy, who at the time was the preeminent industrial architect in Chicago, responsible for designing many of the industrial facilities comprising the relatively new Central Manufacturing District (CMD), a 265-acre development that has been called our nation’s first planned industrial district. It was while serving as Joy’s structural engineer that Abraham’s talent caught the eye of the operators of the CMD, who eventually convinced Abraham to form his own engineering company and become the CMD’s on-call engineer. And, on July 15, 1921, Abraham would complete the official paperwork and establish his own firm called A. Epstein – Structural Engineer, and officially set our firm’s incredible story in motion.


In our nearly 100 years of existence, we’ve grown from our very small first office located within the ‘cozy’ confines of the CMD’s ‘Clock Tower’ building to a world-wide organization with offices today not only in Chicago, but also in New York, Warsaw, Poland and Bucharest, Romania. Additionally, our list of professional services and markets served has also evolved from a structural engineer serving industrial companies located within the CMD to a corporation that provides a full-menu of design, engineering and construction services for a client base that covers almost every industry and market throughout the world. 


It should also be noted, and definitely not understated, that Epstein has thrived during a time period of enormous change. 97 years in which our organization has witnessed the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Space Age, Civil Rights Movement, Middle Eastern Turmoil, the Tech Revolution, as well as the sudden death of our founder Abraham in 1958 and the transition of ownership from the Epstein family to our employees in 2000. Our ability to adapt, survive and evolve, all while staying true to our dedication to our trades and clients, is one that we, the current Epstein employees, take immense pride in achieving. We say to this accomplishment, one that is the direct result of our current efforts as well as those of the thousands of Epsteiners that have been part of our great work family over these 97 years, thank you very, very, very much!