Abandoned Factory, East St. Louis

Update: Readers helped identify this plant as having once been owned by Pfizer and that it once produced pigments. While it may have been operational in 2012, when this post was originally made, as of 2021, it is almost certainly abandoned.

I continued down the hill and entered a neighborhood off of St. Clair Avenue. I can imagine a century ago, men would walk these sidewalks from nearby houses, and work in the factory.

I have no idea what the factory was, or when it closed, but the relatively new looking office wing (not pictured) suggests it only closed a decade or so ago.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. This place is right near our family business. There are some great urban ruins down in that area.

  2. NV says:

    There is a building at 5th and St. Louis (right down the track from the 5th and Missouri MEtro station) that looks like an old hall or an old industrial building of some kind. Haven't been able to learn anything about it though.

  3. sublunar says:

    This factory isn’t abandoned….. A quick google search will even uncover their phone number.

    “The Elementis Pigments Inc. East St. Louis plant has been at 2001 Lynch Avenue since the early 1900s. The plant produces inorganic pigments and specialty barium sulfate intermediate chemical products.”

  4. Ed S says:

    Elements Pigments in the past was a division of Pfizer and previously was once known as the C K Williams Company. Across the street was an old East St Louis gas company. Parsons Field, the sports field of the High Schools was across and west on Lynch Ave. My grandmothers house on Baugh Ave had the gas jets on the walls but I was never able to see them work because of the electrification of the city

    1. Chris Naffziger says:


  5. Al Benton says:

    I searched for C K Williams Paint knowing that was near the athletic field, hoping to discover the name of the field. Success! Parsons Field brings back many school memories from the 50s and 60s.

  6. George says:

    I worked at this plant from 1974-76 when Pfizer owned it. At that time, it produced yellow paint pigment, red paint pigment, and magnetic iron oxide used for magnetic cores in IBM computers, as a coating for magnetic tape for storage purposes, and for other purposes. The basic process was dissolving scrap iron into giant stainless steel tanks which contained heated acid, and then at a certain point removing and crushing the rust to one of the other processes. They also had a barite plant which at that time was used as a soundproofing material on automobile undercarriages.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Thank you for helping identify this plant! Was it Pfizer branded or did it have a different name?

  7. Marjorie Badgley says:

    I worked there in 1953 secretary to Voce president, just wondered if they were there.

  8. Nash says:

    Yes Pfizer owned it up till the early 90’s I worked there till 1999. Ton of history was in that old pigment plant.

  9. Marguerite says:

    I believe was Pfizer over 60 years ago when my uncle worked there.

    1. Jim Foster says:

      60 years ago it was still CK. I worked there then too.

  10. Cheri says:

    My dad retired from Pfizer in I believe 1990 after working there for 25 years. I think he worked there when it was C.K. Williams, as well as my grandfather. Early on, when my dad worked out in the plant, he would come home with red pigment on his clothes — white socks were a permanent, pale orangey-red color. Later he worked in the front office. I worked there on a temp basis in the early 80s (switchboard-reception, typing in front office, data entry out back in plant office). My father is now 93 and has many memories of this place.

  11. Jim Foster says:

    I worked there about 60 years ago for 2 summers. For a budding chemist it was an interesting place to work although several of us were given the hard jobs lie working in the “hot end’, cleaning out the chasers, firing the kiln and handling endless bags of pigments from box cars and baggin barium sulphate.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      These stories about this factory are great! Keep them coming!

  12. I remember that factory. It was behind my elementary school. We would go to school with white shirts on and come home with pink shirts on because of the smoke. That couldn’t have been healthy for us kids, but no one cared because it was in the ghetto.

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