A Victorian “Shell Building”…Where is this Historic Industrial Development?

It was built in 1883 on the vacant corner of rural intersection, a large two-and-a-half rectangular bulk in a residential neighboringborhood. It stood next to a gully that could be a dry creek or a flooding torrent – which was also the drain for its steam power plant.

There were 32 windows to each floor – and an elevator, a fast-rising convenience at that date!

At first it was a shoe factory, an outpost of a Portsmouth company. But it outgrew the building and moved to a larger building on the opposite side of town, only part of which survives today.

Small manufacturing businesses occupied the building afterward – making knives & shears; hosiery & “outing” shirts, and possibly underwear; and various “novelties” such as coffee mills, rat traps, and hat racks. In 1900 it was the home of a coffin factory.

But in 1903 the building was retrofitted as a four mill, housing the largest gasoline engine in the city. Through a series of different owners the mill was run under various names, with burlap sacks of one brand name tuning up every now-and-then as antiques.

Milling ended in 1971, and the brass machinery was eventually scrapped – but the elevator heads still stand atop the shed roof of this lone bulk still standing…for now.

Where is this building, which will be a feature on my “Cabin Fever” bus tour March 15th, 2015? The answer soon…after a hectic weekend for me!

In the meantime, tickets are still available for 1-3 or 3-5 pm Sunday. Tickets are on sale at the Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau.

 I already answered this on Facebook, so…

296-300 West Water Street - the Union Shoe Company, and many more...
296-300 West Water Street – the Union Shoe Company, and many more…

296-300 West Water Street:

The Union Shoe Company (moving to 457 East Main, which that building was reduced in height and is now Goodwill), Neely Knife & Shears Company, Famous Hosiery Mills, Chillicothe Manufacturing Company / Chillicothe Novelty Works, Scioto Valley Coffin Factory, Brown Milling Company with “Pride of the Valley” four, West Side Mills with “Home Pride” flour, and Clark Milling Company. I’ve heard the one-cylinder engine could be heard throughout the west side at times.

Read more of the story in Pat Medert’s High & Church streets (and more) volume, pages 135-136. Also, on page 16 of “Little Known Tales,” John Grabb also mentions workers in the Brown Brothers Mill fighting a flash flood from neighboring Honey Creek by building a dam on January 12, 1907. The creek was tunnelized by 1916 and its threat was eliminated.

And if you want to ensure the building’s survival and reuse, and not demolition for an expanded gas station – it’s for sale!

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