This week’s Throwback Thursday nostalgic trip through the Epstein archives takes us back to 1947 for the opening of The Sampson Company’s massive new headquarters located at 2244 S. Western Avenue in Chicago. This new facility served as not only as the home for the executive operations of Sampson but also as a showroom, R&D facility, manufacturing facility and distribution center for this wholesale distributor of electronics and household appliances.
This Sampson facility featured warehouse space for appliances like Youngstown Kitchens, Ironrite Irons, Hamilton Dryers, Universal Vacuum Cleaners, Norge Home Heaters and a Domestic Sewing Machines. In addition, there was significant distribution space dedicated to music industry products like Columbia Records and Bendix Radios. In fact, this Sampson building featured a sparkling showroom displaying all the incredible products available for the modern, post-World War II, American home. (For those of you living now in Chicagoland, this Sampson facility for ‘47 was very similar to today’s Apt Superstore in Glenview)
Architecturally, the Sampson building featured an eye-catching Art Moderne-style entrance coupled with a sprinkling of up-and-coming 50s modernism. Additionally, natural light was brought into the entire facility through the ample use of skylights.
Another interesting factoid about this building was that it not only featured multiple truck docks but also a railroad spur was designed to enter the northwest side of the building and allowed for direct loading and unloading of product on trains.
Sadly, this building has seen better days. It is now home to a Smart Stop: Self Storage facility. The Art Modern-esque entrance has been painted a garish blue and white and most of the eastern façade’s windows have been filled in and, like the entrance, painted over. And if you are wondering, the railroad spur removed many years ago.