Lynchburg Glass Corporation Site Photos
Then and Now
An aerial view of the Lynchburg plant site today, now occupied by an industrial complex. Hudson Street runs diagonally across the center of the photo. Ann Street intersected Hudson at the upper left; it was replaced later by access roads for the nearby Lynchburg Expressway. The industrial access road below the warehouses, Robins Road, was built with the newer buildings and was not present in the 1920s. The center part of Robins Road in the photo is approximately where the railroad siding for the plant ran.
In this photo, the Lynchburg plant buildings were located just about in the center of where the large tan roofed building now sits. The X in the photo marks the approximate location from which the third photo of the plant below was taken. The Dawson Brothers Manufacturing Company buildings were situated approximately where the rectangular white roofed building at the right is now located. The remains of the original Southern Railroad siding turnout are visible crossing the road at bottom right (see Photo 8 below).
Aerial photo of the Lynchburg Glass Works plant (upper left) from the early 1920s, looking slightly northeast. Along the top of the photo is Hudson Street. Through the center of the photo runs the spur of the Southern Railroad that served the plant. On the far right are the facilities of Dawson Brothers Manufacturing. The original Lynchburg Glass Works was built to supply glass containers to this facility. A second railroad spur ran in front of Dawson's two main buildings.
This May, 1918, survey plat was done for the original sale of the land to Lynchburg Glass Works from the Chamber of Commerce's Lynchburg Industrial Realty Corporation. On the right is the five-plus acres of the Glass Works, which paid $9,000 for the land. On the left is the property of Dawson Brothers Manufacturing Company, whose food packing business prompted the building of the glass works. The undeveloped land in the center would later be occupied by the Snidow-McWayne Furnature Company, and later the Morton Company. -1- (Note that the orientation of the plat is from the opposite direction of photo 2 above.)
The plant as it appeared in early 1919 viewed from Hudson Street looking southwest (see aerial photo 1 above; the X marks approximately the spot from where this photo was taken). There are shipping barrels and containers stacked near the rear entrance to the ware shed (right center foreground). This building appears larger than it actually is because it sits higher up the hill than the main plant (see #7, Photo 5 below).
The center building is part of the main building and sports more than a dozen roof vents marking the location of the annealing lehrs. The Box Shop (far left) is connected to the main building by an elevated walkway, which leads to the sorting and packing area. Barely visible behind the Box Shop is the elevated railroad trestle leading to the Producer House (lighter building, center rear) and Batch House (not visible behind main building).
Photo 4 - The plant as it appeared in late 1922 viewed from the northwest corner near the intersection of Ann and Hudson streets looking slightly southeast (see larger photo below, photo 6).
Photo 5: A detail of an aerial view of the plant facilities (the numbers identify the various buildings in the description below). The date of this photo is uncertain, but is likely from between 1919 and late 1921. Not listed in any of the descriptions of the plant are the two storage/loading sheds visible along the railroad tracks at bottom right (#8 in the aerial photo above). Finished ware was carted from the ware/storage shed (#7) to these sheds for loading onto railroad cars. Two boxcars are spotted on the tracks nearby. Clearly visible is the elevated railroad trestle used to deliver raw material to the Batch House (#3), as well as coal to the Producer House (#5) and oil to a twenty-two thousand gallon capacity oil tank visible to the rear of the Power House (#4; see Photo 7). For a more detailed description of the various buildings, see Lynchburg Glass Works, 1919-1922.
The main building was composed of two parts. The taller section with a concrete basement/ground floor with a board and batten exterior (#1) housed the tanks and furnaces on the main level, as well as the glass forming machines. The lower roofed section to the right (#2), also with a board and batten exterior, housed the annealing lehrs, with Machine and Blacksmith shops in the basement. The ware shed (#7) was used to store finished and packed ware awaiting movement to the Loading Sheds (#8).
The smaller building immediately to the left of the main building is the Batch House (#3 above) where ingredients were stored and mixed before being fed to the furnaces. The ingredients were measured and weighed on the first floor then conveyed to an electric powered Beckwith automatic batch mixer on the second floor, which in turn fed the mixed raw material to the furnaces. An elevated conveyor and delivery system connected the two buildings. The elevated railroad trestle allowed material to be unloaded directly into the top of the storage bins.
Behind the main building and on the other side of the railroad trestle was the Producer House (#5), which housed four Cox gas producers that burned coal to produce fuel gas used to fire the furnaces. Adjacent to the Producer House (#4) was the smaller Power House, which housed boilers to produce steam as well as air compressors to power some of the equipment and bottle blowing machines. A 22,000 gallon oil tank was located near the railroad tracks at the rear of this building.
The two story Box Shop (#6) produced packing creates and barrels in which to pack ware. The first floor was used to store lumber and the second floor was the work area. It was connected to the main building and sorting area to the rear of the annealing lehrs by an elevated walkway.
The two story Office Building (#9), visible more clearly in the photo below) housed not only safes and office supplies, but was also equipped with a small kitchen and bed on the second floor. J. William Gayner stayed in this building while he was factory manager of Lynchburg Glass Corporation.
The plant as it appeared in late 1922 viewed from the northwest corner of the site on Hudson Street near the intersection of Ann street, looking slightly southeast. The pole at far left holds a fire alarm call box. The sign on the office building reads Lynchburg Glass Corp., the later plant (1923-1925). This photo is from a brochure of 1925 that used an earlier photo of the plant from a "for sale" circular (see above) with the office building sign edited.
A Sanborn insurance map showing the basic internal layout of the Lynchburg Glass plant (this map can be compared to photo 6, which was taken approximately from the black dot on Hudson Street). -2- While this is an updated version from around 1927 after the plant had ceased production, the basic configuration had not changed. Not shown on the map are the two loading sheds along the railroad tracks to the left. Perhaps they had been demolished since by this time the Snidow-McWayne Furniture Company facility had been built just southeast of the plant near where the buildings had stood.
The main caption reads:
Sunday & night watchman Eco clock 7 stas. Hourly rounds. Power and lights: electric. Fuel: coal, coke, and gas. 9 two gallon chemical extinguishers. Liberal supply of casks and pails distributed. To have supply of 2 1/2" hose. 1 40 gal chem. eng.
Photo 8: View of the rear of the Lynchburg Glass plant from the southwest looking northeast, unknown date.
At far left is the office building. To the right of this is the batch house. In the center foreground is the gas producer house (the boiler house is hidden behind the tree). In the center background is the part of the plant that housed the annealing lehrs (the main building is hidden), with the railroad trestle that supplied the batch house with raw materials, as well as the oil tank. To the right, the roof of the box shop is visible. This photo reveals that it was the south furnace that was in production (middle smoke stack, the right stack is for the gas producer); the other furnace was never used by either company. Photo courtesy of Mitch Zoll, great great grandson of E. J. Gayner, who was treasurer at Gayner Glass Works when J. William Gayner was vice president (1916).
The arrow marks the location of the Lynchburg Glass Corporation site on a 1927 City of Lynchburg Public Works map. -4- This map corresponds closely to the Sanborn map above. Not all of the buildings are shown, but that may be due to the map's lack of detail showing only major structures. To the southeast of the plant is the recently constructed Snidow-McWayne furniture company. Further southeast are the buildings of the original Dawson Brothers food plant (see below).
The buildings of the Dawson Brothers Manufacturing Company, a food processing plant, was located to the east of the Lynchburg plant. Built in 1917, this plant was intended to be the primary customer for the glass ware produced by the original Lynchburg Glass Works. The demise of this business in 1919 just about the time the glass plant went into production no doubt contributed to the failure of the first glass company. The two railroad bridges in this photo still exist today (see photos below).
Photo 10 - Closer view of the original railroad bridge for the Southern Railroad siding that served the Lynchburg plant,
which was located above and to the left of the photo, as it appeared around 1919.
Photo 11 - Aerial view of the remains of the original railroad bridges today (2012). This short section of railroad siding is all that remains of the original plant. (See photos 13 and 14 below)
The Lynchburg plant site as it appears in a 1938 Sanborn map. This suggests that by this time the entire plant had been demolished. However, since the Sanborn maps were primarily to document property for insurance purposes, it is possible that this indicates no insurance was in place on the property. At this time, there is no solid evidence for exactly when the plant was demolished. The Snidow-McWayne furniture had become the Morton Manufacturing Company. -4-
A US Geological Survey Map of 1939 shows the railroad siding to the Lynchburg plant still intact (arrow), although by this time the plant itself had likely been demolished (see photo 11). -5- However, according to the Sanborn map above, this is inaccurate since it shows a building placed where the railroad siding had stood.
A similar USGS map from 1944 still shows the siding. -6-
Photo 13: Remains of the siding that served the Lynchburg plant, looking slightly northeast (November, 2012).
Photo 14: Remains of the railroad siding that served the Lynchburg Glass and Dawson Brothers facilities, looking slightly southwest (November, 2012). The siding ends at a parking lot a short distance behind this location.
1. Survey plat by C. L. DeMott, May 1918, attached to deed, Deed Book 114, p. 1, City of Lynchburg, accessed April, 2013.
2. Several Sanborn Map Company insurance maps of the site are available at the City Hall of the City of Lynchburg, VA., where this map was accessed, April, 2013.
3. Sanborn Map Company insurance map of the site, accessed at the City Hall of the City of Lynchburg, VA., April, 2013.
4. Map of City of Lynchburg, Virginia, compiled from topographic map sheets and information obtained from the Department of Public Works, City of Lynchburg, 1927, revised 1963.
5. US Geological Survey Map, 1939
6. US Geological Survey Map, 1944 (Reprinted 1955 with corrections, Surveyed 1938, 1939, 1950 Revised)