Article 5 in Series: Remnants of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago
UPDATE ON TUBAL CAIN January, 17, 2013
As luck would have it a Mr. Alan Gornik had contacted me regarding Tubal-Cain and confirmed a couple of years ago its location which is still with Chicago Dreis & Krump in Peotone. I managed to contact a Mr. John Gervasi with Dreis & Krump who gave me a tour of their facility and an audience with the roughly 15 foot, copper, Mr. Cain! Mr. Gervasi has been with Dries & Krump since 1986 and when he arrived on the scene they were still at 7400 S. Loomis in Chicago but Tubal-Cain was horizontal in storage and was not taken out of storage until they moved to their present location at 481 South Governors Highway, #2, Peotone, IL 60468. He was told that the statue was fastened to the outside of the building but after time had been shot at by persons unknown and they thought it safer to bring it inside and put it in storage. When they moved to Peotone they had plenty of room on the inside and now the Biblical figure who has been credited with being one of the earliest and most talented “Artificers of Metal” has a position of honor high on a platform with accent lighting. Mr. Gervasi said the statue has been with the company for almost 58 years and if they move will move with them. I am so glad that yet another treasure from the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition is still on exhibit and appreciated for what it is!
Well it is time for another “What’s left from the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition” or “Where in the World is The White City” article and while I love writing all the articles on Strange Chicago History, there is a special place in my heart for investigating the spectacle that was, “The White City”. This is the fifth article in the series so far and I have plenty more planned. So much history, so little time.
This article is actually more of an online treasure hunt for all of you Columbian Exposition fans out there. I know you are out there! I am hoping I can use the power of the Internet to help locate a lost treasure.
This particular work of art was at the top of the then $200,000 iron works exhibit for the Stumm Brothers and Rudolf Bocking & Company of Germany. That was situated inside the Mining Building. It was a bronze casting of the Biblical figure Tubal-Cain. It was roughly 12 feet high and had outstretched arms holding metal working instruments.
Tubal-Cain was the 5th great grandson of Adam on Cain’s side of the family. The lineage was Cain who had a son, Enoch, Enoch had Irad, Irad had Mehujael, Mehujael had Lamech and Lamech married two women, Adah and Zillah. Tubal-Cain and his sister Naamah were born of Lamech and Zillah. In the book of Genesis, chapter 4, verse 22 it says, “Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.”
Tubal-Cain also figures into the history and traditions of the Freemasons. According to some sources, and I am not a member of the Masons nor an expert in their traditions, Tubal Cain figures into a password or greeting that 3rd Degree Masons greet one another with and is also respected as a master craftsman.
After the Fair had closed at the end of October in 1893, many of the artifacts including exhibits, works of arts and even the buildings that weren’t meant to be temporary were sold off. Charles Molitor bought the statue of Tubal-Cain and had it placed inside his machinery company at 24 S. Clinton in Chicago and his customers used to call it, “The place where the statue is.”
In 1945 Molitor’s company was liquidated and John Opie acquired the statue and it adorned his Sheet Metal Engineering Company at 4800 S. Hoyne Avenue and roughly ten years after that it became the property of Walter Dreis of the Dreis & Krump Manufacturing Company located at 7400 S. Loomis in Chicago. The last mention I could find of the statue was that it was attached to the building at 7400 S. Loomis in 1961 and then nothing after that.
The building and warehouse at 7400 S. Loomis is still there although it appears to be empty and for sale. There is only one half of the old Dreis & Krump sign left but no sign of old Tubal-Cain. The Dreis & Krump Company still exists and is called Chicago Dreis & Krump at 481 South Governors Highway in Peotone, IL. The company has been around since 1899 but is not owned by the same family as far as I could gather. I had tried emailing and leaving voicemails with regard to any knowledge of the statue and have not heard back as of the writing of this article. As far as property records go the property at 7400 S. Loomis appears to have been last sold in 2006 to a Mr. Saed Ihmoud. That name ended up being more common than I thought it would be so I haven’t tried to locate the correct Mr. Ihmoud as of yet. So the mystery of the missing Tubal-Cain remains for now. Is it sitting in a warehouse somewhere in Peotone where it is possibly displayed but not recognized for what it is? Is it in an abandoned warehouse at 7400 S. Loomis under the remnants of old machinery? Could it have been melted down for scrap? I sincerely hope not. The search continues and hopefully someone out there is reading this article and can shed some light on the plight of Tubal-Cain.
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