Barboursville Clay Manufacturing Company

Industrial / West Virginia

The Barboursville Clay Manufacturing Company is a former brick factory that operated from 1904 to 1979 in Barboursville, West Virginia.


History

The Guyan Valley Brick Company was founded in 1904 on Peyton Street in Barboursville, joining several other brick plants that lined the Guyandotte River. 1 8 It produced 75 types and colors of brick and tile 1 from a thick deposit of gray sandy shale and from sandy river clay. 8 Initial equipment consisted of a steel disintegrator, two Frost nine-foot dry pans, a ten-foot pug mill, and a Steele and Company auger machine. 8 The brick was dried in two five-track National steam driers that held 85 cars with a capacity of 54,000 bricks. It was later expanded to contain eight down-draft kilns and six up-draft kilns.

A joint stock company, formed by Rev. M.C. Johnson, took over the Guyan Valley Brick in 1909, which was languishing in debt due to a nationwide financial panic. 9 It was renamed the Barboursville Brick & Tile Company.

One of the company’s crowning achievements came in 1921 when brick from the plant was used for a remodeling project at the White House. 2

On June 19, 1926, J.C. Alderson, manager of the Huntington Brick & Tile Company, purchased Barboursville Brick & Tile for $50,000 and became president and general manager. 7 By the 1970s, the Barboursville Clay Manufacturing Company employed more than 50 people and sold more than 20 million bricks per year. It closed in 1979 after an employee embezzled $1 million from the company. 4

On July 23, 2003, as a result of a lawsuit settlement, the city of Barboursville agreed to acquire the 20-acre Barboursville Clay Manufacturing site for $1.525 million. 2 3 An environmental study conducted in January 2004 4 concluded that the site contained 21,000 square-feet of asbestos and petroleum in the ground while the smokestacks featured high levels of arsenic. Asbestos abatement at the former factory was completed in October 2007 6 and by mid-November, the storied brick and tile factory was demolished.


Gallery


Sources

  1. Withers, Bob. “Barboursville plant once produced brick, tile.” Herald-Dispatch [Huntington] Jan. 15, 2007. March 21, 2007.
  2. Wartman, Scott. “Barboursville buys land from couple to settle suit.” Herald-Dispatch [Huntington] Aug. 13, 2003. March 21, 2007.
  3. Wartman, Scott. “Site must be clean before purchase.” Herald-Dispatch [Huntington] Jan. 21, 2004. March 21, 2007.
  4. Wartman, Scott. “Sale of land may hinge on cleanup.” Herald-Dispatch [Huntington] Feb. 13, 2004. March 21, 2007.
  5. Pinkston, Antwon. “Barboursville set to clean up brickyard site.” Herald-Dispatch [Huntington] April 9, 2007. April 9, 2007 Article.
  6. Alexandersen, Christian. “Old stacks come down at Barboursville brickyard.” Herald-Dispatch [Huntington] 15 Nov. 2007. 16 Nov. 2007 Article.
  7. “Barboursville Brick and Tile Plant Has Been Sold.” Charleston Daily Mail 19 June 1926. 25 May 2012: 10. Print.
  8. Krebs, C. E., D. D. Teets, Jr., and I. C. White. “The Barboursville Clay Manufacturing Company.” West Virginia Geological Survey: Cabell, Wayne and Lincoln Counties. Wheeling: Wheeling News Litho, 1913. 414. Print.
  9. “Kentucky Brick Plant Changes Hands.” Clay Record 35.2 (July 1909): 32. Print.