Chicago’s Least Official Landmark Can be Yours for a Cool $4mil

Santa Fe silos

A Chicago building that has trained generations of graffiti artists, nurtured generations of vandals, and been cold harbor to generations of squatters will soon face the auction block, and possibly the wrecking ball shortly thereafter.

The Santa Fe silos at 2600 South Damen Avenue were built after another set of nearby grain silos exploded in the early 1900’s.  It was a horrific scene, and one man died not from the flames, but when he tried to jump from the burning elevator and hit the weir instead of the water.

To erase the memory of that incident from the populace, the city of Chicago traded the land where the Santa Fe silos are now for the ruins of the old silos, which were razed.  The railroad was OK with it because the swapped land was a better location with better water access.

The new silos had their share of explosions, too, and were eventually shuttered in the 1970’s.  By then they were owned by the State of Illinois, which is now trying to sell them off.  According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the auction will be held online starting early next month.  Starting bid: $3.8 million.

Location: 2600 South Damen Avenue, Heart of Chicago

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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