An Art Deco-era factory that has long anchored a stretch of Division Street in Humboldt Park is currently being demolished. According to preservationists, the building that spans from 4422 to 4500 West Division Street was listed on the city's 90 day demolition delay list, but was released before that period had been reached. The sprawling factory was once home to the Salerno Butter Cookie company, and similar to the old Wrigley Gum Factory and the Brach Candy Factory which have also been demolished in the last couple of years, helped make Chicago the "Candy Capital of the World." In a joint statement, Preservation Chicago's Ward Miller and Andrew Schneider reveal that preservationists were not made aware of the situation until it was too late.
"The former Salerno Cookie Factory, home of that familiar and delicious butter cookie, at 4500 W. Division, an orange-rated building, has apparently been cleared for demolition, despite the fact that it is a rare example of famed architect Harold Zook in an industrial context," Miller and Schneider state, "The building appeared on the city's mandatory demolition delay hold list, that typically requires buildings of significant architectural merit to be held for 90 days. That doesn't appear to have happened in this case. The application to demolish the building was received by the city on June 29 and was released little more than one week later, on July 8."
In addition, Miller says that there has been no word on why the city did not allow the full demolition delay hold to complete its cycle.
The building is certainly a unique example of Chicago's history of a confection capital but also of striking Art Deco design of Harold Zook. After the Salerno company left the factory behind, the building was home to a graphic imaging company and then later a small parts supplier. While demolition has started on the factory, Miller hopes that the main entrance will be preserved and readapted.