A shower of sparks bounced along the former factory floor while shafts of sunlight poured in through skylights, illuminating smoke and dust in the air in the on Techny Road.
The rattling sounds of the work echoed throughout the expansive building’s empty, cavernous interior and bounced off its many walls last week as a group of industrial recycling workers began the task of clearing out the building for sale.
The clatter was not unlike that made by the 300-plus workers who made industrial kitchen products at Anetsberger Brothers for nearly seven decades. Their work ceased in 2009, when the business was sold to companies based in Elgin and Concord, NH.
What’s the next step for the building adjacent to , which housed perhaps the largest industry in the area in the mid-20th century?
”We’re cleaning it up and out and then we’ll take it from there,” said Chris Anetsberger, a Northbrook businessman and third generation descendant of co-founder Frank Anetsberger.
As for his family’s former business, most of the equipment that could be moved has been removed from the building and either auctioned off or purchased by one of the former company’s new owners, he said. However, some historic objects lingered last Tuesday, including the modified remains of a former Depression-era school bus that Anetsberger was told was originally used to transport Northbrook students many years ago.
Long since reduced to a truck chassis, engine and part of a cab, the Ford bus appears to date to approximately 1938. The vehicle was tucked far inside the building Tuesday, in the Quonset hut that once served as the company’s shipping and receiving department.
According to Anetsberger, after its years transporting Northbrook students, the company used the vehicle to shuttle employees to their jobs here from the business’ former location on Chicago’s northwest side.
In more recent years, the approximately 72-year-old Ford was modified to pull gang mowers that were used to groom the fairways at the Anetsberger Golf Course. From the size of it, and the look of its hood with oval shaped grille, the old Ford appears originally to have been one of the company's 12 passenger school bus models.
Nearby the old Ford early last week sat two vintage tractors, which also were used to groom the golf course. Anetsberger said his family is considering donating the vehicle to the , along with two large, industrial themed murals that date back to the company’s relocation in Northbrook in 1949 and have greeted visitors in the building’s atrium ever since.
Most of the rest of what remained in the building Tuesday falls under the cleanup work, which is being headed up by Ernesto Borushek of All American Recycling.
“We’ll recycle the steel and wood from the shelving units, plus wood and cardboard from shipping containers and pallets, whatever’s leftover,” said Borushek, who was operating a tool that shot a streams of sparks fifteen feet into the air, ricocheting off the floor.
As for the all steel Quonset hut?
“I wish we could recycle this!” he quipped.