20-28 Old Street>
Appomattox Iron Works, 20-28 Old Street, Petersburg, VA
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20-28 Old Street, VA
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Documentation compiled after 1968.
Survey number HAER VA-25
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (FN-5).
Building/structure dates: 1889 initial construction
Significance: A unique complex of structures which document the transition from antebellum agricultural economy to industrial development in the South following the Civil War. It is also one of the most complete physical records of an early iron foundry in the country. / Appomattox Iron Works is representative of thousands of small foundry and machine shops established in industrial and agricultural communities to provide machinery of all descriptions and agricultural implements to mill operators and farmers. These works were common in rural towns, especially in the South, until the Second World War when standardization of parts, the consolidation of many smaller works into larger companies and modern retail marketing practices put custom foundries such as this out of business. While other foundries disappeared, Appomattox with its physical plant, machinery, tools and patterns remained intact because Albert Steer, the son of one of the early owners, maintained the business until his death in 1972. Located in some of the oldest buildings to survive in the ante-bellum commercial district of Petersburg, the nine building complex is indicative of a small town iron works of the late-19th and early-20th century. It is the accumulated collection of buildings, machinery, patterns and tools, plus the business records, that make the site an unusual survival as well as an outstanding physical record of iron manufacturing in the south. Established in 1876, the Works moved to its present location in 1899. The foundry ceased operations in 1946 though the machine shop continued until 1952. The mill and hardware store closed in 1972. The site is being rehabilitated by Frank Peckinpaugh as a local museum, antiques and crafts shop.
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)
1. Rear of property. Scrap iron smashing derrick at left.
2. Ca. 1820 building.
3. Pipe fitting shop.
4. Ca. 1815 buildings.
5. Rear of property.
6. Rear elevation (1830s residence).
7. Entrance to machine shop.
8. Old street elevation.
9. Woodworking & pattern shop.
10. Yard between foundry and old street buildings; pattern and woodworking shop on left.
11. Peanut sheller factory.
13. Pattern storage bins.
14. Winching apparatus for cupola and metal polisher.
15. Working shop.
16. Metal storage and shear shed.
17. Base of cupola.
18. Machine shop shaft & pulley system.
19. Interior view of dilapitated room with storage facilities.
20. Peanut sheller factory.
21. Pipe fitting shop.
22. Pattern storage.
23. Machine shop lathe.
24. Storage room on second floor.
25. Peanut sheller factory.
26. Woodworking shop.
27. C-frame band saw.
28. Hardware store.
29. Woodworking shop.
30. Machine shop elevator & drill press.
31. Pattern shop.
32. Hardware store.
33. Hoist in attic storage space.
34. Hardware store.
35. Machine shop: Interior view showing horizontal mill & drill presses.
36. Collection of horizontal steam engines.
37. Hardware store storage bins.
38. Interior view showing small stool; pedestal grinder; metal shaper and drill press.
39. Pipe fitting shop.
40. Room on second floor, 1830-40s building.
41. Interior view of work space and storage racks.
42. Attic storage space showing alteration of roof line.
43. Interior view of basement room showing cooking and storage facilities.
44. Improved combination peanut sheller and separator.
45. Interior stairway showing wallpaper and handrailing.
46. Foundry building interior.
47. Foundry building ruins.
48. Interior view of foundry building ruins.
49. Machine shop.
50. Hardware store.
51. Machine shop interior view showing 2 engine lathes.
54. Third floor room.
55. Storage bins - 2nd floor.
56. Foundry car.
57. Machine tool repair and sharpening room.
58. Machine shop: Interior view showing a lathe and 2 shapers.
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