As the Park District of Forest Park demolishes the Roos factory this week, here’s a brief history of the building:
1918 – Edward Roos builds the E.D. Roos Cedar Chest factory at 7329 Harrison St., with financial backing of his Forest Park bank-owning cousins, Albert Roos Jr. and Fred Roos.
1928 – The Forest Park Review describes the 18,000-square-foot Roos factory as the town’s “largest manufactury,” employing 400 people. Through shrewd marketing in newspapers and magazines, the company sells “must have” Roos cedar bridal chests all over the U.S.
1939-46 – The U.S. government curtails manufacturing, declaring the cedar chests ‘luxury items.’
1943 – Edward Roos dies at age 62.
1951 – Roos company sold and all 150 employees laid off.
1950s-2000s – Factory building home to Fisher Pen Company, Castle Soap Co., Kirk’s soap company, art studios, rock ‘n’ roll band rehearsal space.
2005 – Developer Alex Troyanovsky begins work converting the building into 70 condo lofts and 28 townhomes. Takes out $15 million construction loan.
2009 – Troyanovsky goes bust, building reverts to Amcorp bank.
2010 – Park District of Forest Park passes referendum to purchase building, which they value at $1.3 million. Proposal includes rehabbing building to hold indoor gym, classrooms, preschool and other amenities.
2010-2012 – Amcorp bank closed by FDIC. Assets, including Roos property, assumed by BMO Harris. Property on the books for $4.5 million.
May 2013 – Property enters final stages of foreclosure. Park district acquires for $499,000. Parks Director Larry Piekarz recommends demolition to the park board as the building has sat vacant for three years and sustained severe water damage.
June 2013 – Microburst storm causes a portion of the roof on the north end of the building to collapse. Emergency demolition ordered by the village of Forest Park.
August 2013 – Demolition begins, performed by Midwest Wrecking.