Maps and Photos - Aetna Powder/Explosives Company


Aetna in 1919.

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Most of the images on this page will enlarge when you click on them.

This map, in the Surveyor's office, was drawn by the City of Gary's surveyor in 1919. It shows clearly the location of the railroads, the scattered sheds throughout the property, the main buildings, and the residential buildings.


If you click on the smaller below it will pop-up a map which overlays the current Google map of the same area.


To Google and Back

In the early years, until the Wabash Railroad extended its District 4 west to Hammond in 1892, the dynamite was trundled to the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern depot in Miller on makeshift rails.


The photo to the right is James Graham moving dynamite to the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern depot in Miller before the Wabash RR came to Aetna. (Jean Buckley collection)


The photo to the left is likely anytime between 1915 and 1919.

It looks northwest over the top of the company headquarters on the lower right. Above that is the Wabash depot. In the center of the photo is the superintendent's house with dormitories to the left. The box cars are reportedly on the abandoned, or so to be abandoned, tracks of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern, tracks which would be conveyed to the Lake Shore and South Bend RR. What one can't see is the track of the Wabash which would be between the depot and the road, 5th Avenue leading westerly to Gary. (Calumet Archives photo.)


The Office

The northwest facing front of the office building which can be seen from the back in the previous photo.


The collage of maps to the left show the location of the Wabash as it ran through Aetna imposed with a red line on a Google map of today as well as the location of the depot and where it is today, having been moved.


The Depot

One of the few remaining depots of the Wabash Railroad, the Aetna depot was moved at some point after 1919, used as a church in the 1950s and then as the real estate offices of Otto Fifield. A concrete block and brick structure was added to the east side of it.
The photo on the left, from the Jean Buckley collection, shows James Graham (Dirver), Bill Graham with his dog, Ruby Barnes, Gus Nelson, Magnus Olson, Mr. Rush the station agent, and one unknown person.

Built in 1914 to replace the 1912 depot which had burned.

See the Times article of June 4, 1914

This great photo of the plant was made into colored post-card. It is difficult to know when the photo was taken or from what direction, but could be looking southwest and the building that the railroad siding runs to in the the 1919 surveyor's map.


These two photos were from the Chicago Daily News photo archives at the Chicago History Museum website. Both are dated 1914 and made from 4x5 glass negatives.

There is a large collection of photos I hope to examine and copy in Wilmington, Delaware. Hopefully there will me some to add to this collection.



Page created November, 2018. Updated July, 2019.
Comments and questions? Email Steve Spicer at steve@spicerweb.org