Freeport Illinois is a small town that had a surprisingly dense urban core. Some of that core has survived although a lot of it has been demolished and replaced with surface parking lots. It is surprisingly dense, to me, because Freeport never had more than 27,736 residents (1970). The largest employer in Freeport for much of the 1900s was the W.T. Rawleigh Company which made various ointments, salves, "medicines", spices, cleaning supplies and other household goods. These were sold by traveling salesmen working door to door. The company grew to enormous size from its inception around 1890 to its founder's death in 1951. W.T. Rawleigh operated a massive factory near the center of Freeport. Its surviving sections were built from 1912 to 1927. W.T. Rawleigh ceased operations in bankruptcy in 1987. The factory has been empty since. There are some plans to renovate and reuse the factory buildings. The plans look nice but Freeport is a very small real estate market and will struggle to absorb an extra 500,000 square feet of space. If it's successful though, it could help revitalize the entire downtown area. I'm very curious to know how it works out.
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