Medora Brick Plant Site
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
With the smoke stacks and kilns of the Medora Brick Plant
in the background
this Sparksville Baltimore & Ohio Railroad section crew poses
at the head of the brick plant spur. Supervisor at far left is believed to be
Elmer Rudder who later (1914) was a supervisor at the plant. No
date or names known for sure, but if you have information on this photo,
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
- 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.
- Jackson Co. Banner
- Jackson Co. Banner
See also nearby, the
Big day (Dec. 28, 2017) for
Save the Medora Brick Plant organization Board of Directors signed papers to take possession of the plant property from owner Troy Darkis.
L-R Dale Shoemaker,
have been held monthly at Medora Senior Center since since Sept. 2016
on the subject of the plant property's preservation and uses.
Next meeting is April 30, 2018 at 6pm at the Medora Senior
Citizens Center at 52
Back in 1904
8, 1904 - formed stock co.
2, 1904 8:00am
A 50-man workforce once produced 54,000 handmade
bricks a day at the Medora Brick Plant. Founded in 1904 the company built
initial components of a plant and began brick production with its first
batch of paving bricks burned in March 1909.
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.
Site last updated April 19, 2018 by