Medora Brick Plant Site

Medora, Indiana
Indiana 425 southwest of Medora in Jackson County

History        Photos        preservation        BrickMaking        People

A 1988-1991 photo taken from the grain-elevator across from plant.- Mark Hill

 

Thanksgiving meal inside a kiln at Medora brick plant ~ 1952
names - part of the Gray Photo Collection

 

 

brick building at Univ. of Kentucky
A brick campus building at University of Kentucky.  Could this be Medora brick by the 'Hand of God'?  See History & Stories
 

 

With the smoke stacks and kilns of the Medora Brick Plant in the background (right) this Sparksville Baltimore & Ohio Railroad section crew poses at the head of the brick plant spur. Supervisor at far left believed to be Elmer Rudder who in 1914 was a supervisor at the plant. No date or names known for sure, but if you have information on this photo, please email info@medorabrickplant.org
photo credit - the Jackson County, Indiana, Digital History Archive Project
 

 


Kiln #3 today


 

Owner Joe Robertson (back row far right) poses with employees of the Medora Brick Plant circa 1926.  From the photo submitted by George L. Shepard of Seymour shared and run in The Banner in 1981.  
Larger photo and names
 

  

- February 1913 -

Thornton Heller, of the Jackson Brick and Hollow Ware Co. (Brownstown), and C.C. McMillan, of the Medora Shale Brick Co., sent by parcel post a brick each of local manufacture to be used in building a brick house at the coliseum, Chicago, during the Clay Products Exposition in March. These bricks will be among 25,000 sent by parcel post from every brick plant in the United States to be used in the construction of this house which will be given away and re-erected after the exposition.
Source - Jackson Co. Banner

Indiana Landmarks

See also nearby
Medora Covered Bridge
The longest historic
covered bridge in the USA

info

Save the Plant Movement

2016

  • Second public community meeting considering paths for future use of plant property Tuesday Oct. 19
    at 7pm
    at the Medora Senior Center 52 West Main Street in Medora.

  • WBIW radio's Tim Norman at 1340 AM recently  interviewed "Brick Plant Tim" Reynolds - leader on the Save the Brick Plant activities and Bernard Gray who knows more about the brick plant than anyone - he and his family lived it beginning with his father starting to work there in 1925. Listen if you can. Will aim to post a recording here.

  • Second public community meeting considering paths for future use of plant property.Tuesday Oct. 19 at 7pm at the Medora Senior Center 52 West Main Street.

  • Two plant grounds clean-ups have been held in June and August  2016. Tribune & Banner article about 1st clean up June 18, 2016

See interviews
&

 Bernard Gray
photo collection


May 3, 2008
Historical Marker Dedicated

An unveiling ceremony for a
State of Indiana historical marker
honoring the Brick Plant
 location and those who work there
was held at

the marker site outside of
State Bank of Medora
24 E. Main St. in Medora

Story
See marker photos and background

 

 Back in 1904

July 8, 1904 - formed stock co.
July 15, 1904 - signed articles

Aug. 2, 1904  8:00am
recorded and officially organized as
"Medora Shale Brick Co.
"
_________________

A 50-man workforce once produced 54,000 handmade bricks a day at the Medora Brick Plant.  Founded in 1904 the company built a plant and began brick production in about 1907. 

The company had chosen a parcel of land one mile outside city limits southwest of the small town of Medora.  The plant  was surrounded by hills containing a ready supply of material  for brick production. 

The B & O Railroad tracks at the edge of the plant complex carried Medora brick  to pave streets throughout the Midwest initially. 

In 1925 after financial troubles stemming from an economic slowdown prior to the Depression the plant went into bankruptcy.  It was then purchased at auction by the owners of Jackson Brick & Hollow Ware Co. of  Brownstown, Indiana.  Thereafter the Medora plant concentrated on wall brick for facing new buildings while the Brownstown company focused on drain tile.   Joseph Robertson served as President of both companies until about 1941.  After WWII James P. Heller became President. 

The plant operated between nine and ten months out of the year producing  standard and custom brick until it officially closed January 31, 1992.  Medora resident today, Bernard A. Gray worked the plant since 1946 and was Superintendent for the plant's last 24 years of operation.  His father Ralph was superintendent before him beginning in about 1935.  His brother Erridine served as the plant's salesman. Bernard Gray knows brick.  Especially Medora Brick!  Several interviews with Mr. Gray are included in this website along with photos from his personal collection as well as from others.

The company had over the years built a complex of 12 brick kilns with 7 tall square stacks complimenting  them.   The round, domed (beehive) kilns have  arched doors on two sides along with 10 small openings at the their base for feeding the kiln's fire.   A long, covered storage shed was constructed parallel with the rail siding.  A smaller shed sat in the middle of the complex.  Also still standing are a  horse barn with an employees changing and showering addition with accompanying 2-holer frame outhouse, a machine shop and power plant building , walls of another brick building and the small office.  The large frame shale processing &  brick forming building was dismantled after the plant ceased operation.  The mechanicals and equipment were taken to other brick plants in Indiana.

In 2004, the site was named to the 10 Most Endangered Landmarks  list by the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana.  Eleven domed kilns remain with 5 stacks (the 'five sisters') along with four small buildings. 

The plant  site points to our proud industrial and local heritage with a special bow to the plant workers and their families.

   Note - the Medora Brick Plant site is privately owned and IS NOT open
to the public in any way.

Click to
Stories people have told about the plant


Help get the story of the brick plant correct!

  • What do you know about the brick plant's history? 

  • And how do you know  it? Do you have photos?

  • How are names mentioned here familiar to you?

              

email  info@medorabrickplant.org

                  

      How to help tell the story           

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Site last updated September 30, 2016 by  Steve Graves