Building on the past to construct the future

Latest News

6/20/2012 1:15:00 PM
Hofmann Dam Removal Begins
Illinois Constructors Corporation has began dam removal operations in the Villages of Lyons and Riverside on June 20, 2012. This long awaited project...

About Us

Building on the past to construct the future.

In the mid-1920s, a young resident engineer named Jacob T. (Jack) Schless left the prestigious Chicago architectural firm of Holabird & Root to strike out on his own.
For the next 30 years until his death at the age of 66, Jack Schless would build buildings, manage construction projects, fulfill building contracts, and lay the foundation for what is today the Illinois Constructors Corporation.
Forming J.T. Schless and Company, Jack Schless was responsible for major building projects in the burgeoning DuPage County of the late 1920s. As Chicagoans were lured to the wide open spaces of the far west suburbs that blossomed along the tracks of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, Schless’s Downers Grove company seized the opportunity to build houses and schools and become involved in community service projects. From building a Girl Scout cabin in 1926, to constructing a model home as part of General Electric’s national Better Housing campaign in 1935, J.T. Schless and Company left an indelible mark on the community.
In 1928, the company completed construction of Sacred Heart Academy in Lisle, a building whose roof is a beacon that is visible for miles today. Another huge commercial project was the Tivoli Hotel and Theatre complex, complete with bowling alley and billiards parlor, in downtown Downers Grove. When it was completed, 4,000 theatergoers lined up for the premier performance at 1:30 in the afternoon, December 25, 1928. Today, the 1,011-seat Tivoli Theatre is a cherished landmark. It has been renovated and restored to its former glory.

The 1930s brought both success and new challenges to the fledgling company. After constructing many buildings, including the Merrie England Village, for The Century of Progress Exposition, which opened in Chicago in 1933 and remained open throughout 1934, the company incorporated in 1936 under the name of The Schless Construction Company. In 1939, the company became involved in a related venture in New York City, constructing a Merrie England Village for the New York World’s Fair.
In 1942, The Schless Construction Company played a pivotal role in the development of one of the nation’s important inland shipyards at Seneca, Illinois, on the banks of the Illinois River in LaSalle County. It was in this shipyard that 157 rugged, versatile LSTs (tank landing ships) were produced in response to the demand for American naval vessels to replace those that were destroyed at Pearl Harbor. The Schless Construction Company prepared the site, cutting trenches through solid sandstone for the installation of utilities and services in a shipyard that would eventually accommodate 15 ships that were 114 ft. long and weighed 285 tons each.
From shipyard building to ship building, in 1943 the company took over the operation of the Dachel Carter Shipbuilding Company in Benton Harbor, Michigan, at the request of the U.S. Navy. This work continued until the end of World War II.
Following the war, The Schless Construction Company was involved in residential construction projects in Cook and DuPage counties. As soldiers returned home from overseas and the nation enjoyed a period of growth and prosperity, the focus was on building schools, churches, factories and apartment complexes.
In the 1950s and 1960s, construction projects involved commercial buildings, roads, bridges, and sewage treatment plants. Following the death of his father in 1955, Robert M. Schless assumed control of the company. The company’s office was relocated to St. Charles in Kane County, Illinois, and R. Alan Gray came on board.
Schless_earth_movingThe Schless Construction Company was one of the primary contractors responsible for the construction of Fermilab (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory), originally named the National Accelerator Laboratory when the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission commissioned it in 1967. The Schless Construction Company built many of the buildings and structures including the first on site structure – the linear accelerator and a portion of the main ring used to conduct basic research into particle physics.
The Schless Construction Company continued to grow and prosper, taking on heavy construction projects related to land and water. In 1975, the construction firm reorganized and incorporated as Illinois Constructors Corp.
During the past 30 years, Illinois Constructors Corp. has completed major construction projects in the Chicago area including a reconstruction of the Dan Ryan Expressway from Congress Parkway to Taylor Street, bridge work for the Illinois Department of Transportation, lock shutdowns and repairs on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, railroad projects, Lake Michigan shoreline revetment reconstruction at Chicago’s Montrose Harbor, and bascule bridge work on the Des Plaines River.
Illinois Constructors Corp. is well positioned to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. In 2003, John Mackanin was appointed President of the firm, and in early 2004, he oversaw the purchase of a majority of the company through an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). Mackanin plans to lead the company through steady, responsible, manageable growth and his goal of adding well-trained construction professionals to the management staff will contribute to Illinois Constructors Corp.’s continuing success and ongoing commitment to excellence.
Illinois Constructors Corporation, Inc.
39W866 Fabyan Parkway, Elburn, IL 60119
T: 630.232.7280|F: 630.232.7281
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