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Village of Barboursville
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The Excavating of the Merritt Cemetery
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Moundbuilders of Cabell County
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Hit & Run Accident
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Marshall Alumni Day
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Blenko Glass
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Wreck of the J. C. Rawn
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Barboursville Brick Company
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Huntington State Hospital
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1933 Telephone Directory
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1880 Milton Census
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Huntington Barber School
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History of the Milton Community
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Fasenmyer Brewery
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Carter G. Woodson
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Stewart Drive Inn
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Central Babe Ruth League
1956
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Doors to the Past

Brick Company

The Barboursville Brick Company

The Barboursville Clay Manufacturing Company constructed a factory in 1904 on Peyton Street in Barboursville, West Virginia (1). It joined a list of others that lined the Guyandotte River, many that predated the Civil War, whose bricks went into the construction of homes and streets throughout the region. When the new factory opened, it initially produced 75 types and colors of brick and tile.

In 1921, one of its crowning achievements came when brick from the plant was used for a remodeling project at the White House (2). By the 1970s, the factory sold more than 20 million bricks per year and employed approximately 50 people, according to Jim Wiseman, whose family had operated the plant from the 1920s. Barboursville Clay Manufacturing Company closed in 1979 after someone embezzled $1 million from the company (4).

Cleanup

In 2002, a lawsuit, filed by Claude and Helen Wiseman, claimed that the city of Barboursville breached its contract when it purchased a 13.5-acre parcel from the them in 1996 (2). The acreage is located on US 60 and was to be used for the Barboursville Industrial Park, however, the lawsuit stated that the town promised to construct a new road connecting the land to the former Barboursville brick and tile factory so that it could be joined and developed jointly. The groundwork for the road was started but never completed.

On July 23, 2003 (2), the lawsuit was settled and the village agreed to purchase the 20-acre former brick and tile plant for $1.525 million (2)(3). According to the an environmental study conducted in January 2004 (4), the land contains 21,000 sq. ft. of asbestos and petroleum leaks that extend 18 feet into the soil. The remaining smokestacks also contain high levels of arsenic (3). Preliminary estimates for the cleanup of the asbestos alone range from $39,000 to more than $70,000. In early 2007, the village of Barboursville received a $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, with the assistance of the Brownfields Assistance Center of Southern West Virginia (5).

Asbestos abatement was completed in October. (6) On November 15, the six kiln stacks were demolished. Subsurface petroleum issues and risk analysis will be completed through the winter in preparation for new developments in 2008.

The land is slated to become home to a small park and multifamily housing.

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. Abandonedonline.net by Sherman Cahal

Going Down

BARBOURSVILLE - Under blue skies and chilly winds, a formable sign of Barboursville economic history came down Thursday afternoon.

With a strike from heavy machinery stack one fell. With another strike, stack two came down. For years the six stacks lingered in a field along Peyton Street, surround by plastic soda bottles, dirty diapers and other debris. Throughout the years, village youth, bored with small-town life and nothing better to do, spray painted anti-establishment messages on the brick stacks.

A sad ending to a once booming industry. In the end, plastic and other cheaper material made quality bricks nearly obsolete. The plant was used to fire the ceramic bricks used to produce houses in the better part of Huntington and the United States.

A sad ending to a once booming industry. In the end, plastic and other cheaper material made quality bricks nearly obsolete. The plant was used to fire the ceramic bricks used to produce houses in the better part of Huntington and the United States.

Recently, the city council applied and received a $200,000 federal grant to knock down the stacks and redevelop the brickyard property. Tuesday was the beginning of stage two of the three phased plan to clear the 20-acre lot. The bricks and associated kiln stack materials will be placed in a half-acre landfill on the property which has been approved by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
The third phase, slated to begin shortly, will remove the underground storage tanks.

City officials hope that after the clean up is completed, the land will generate income for the village by selling the property.

 

Submitted by Ed Prichard
January 4, 2008

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