In Lockport, Illinois on 10th Street and the Illinois and Michigan Canal is an imposing structure known as the Norton Building. This building was constructed in the 1850’s by Hiram Norton, a local entrepreneur. It was 3 and one half stories high. The limestone used in its construction was quarried locally. It was strategically located between the I and M Canal on the west and the Chicago and Alton Railroad on the east. The Norton Company was a major player in Lockport economy for nearly 50 years. It was a large employer and helped to establish the city as an agricultural center.
The Norton Building had many uses during its history. It was used to house grain; it was a supply store: it was used as dormitory for canal workers; it was used as a grain processing facility to the 1950’s. Norton, Inc. was sold to American Grains in 1897. It was subsequently sold to Quaker Oats. In the 1950’s, it was sold to a steel fabricator.
In 1980’s, it was sold to the Norton Building and Company. This organization undertook an extensive restoration project. It was developed as a multi-use facility. There were residential lofts, offices, and commercial space. The Illinois State Museum Complex occupied most of the first floor.