Kings Mills, Ohio
Kings Mills Ohio was a company town built to house people who worked at the Peters Cartridge ammunition factory. The Peters Cartridge factory (pictured) was built in the 1880s to 1916 and closed in 1944 or 1958 depending on the source. Gunpowder and ammunition had been manufactured in the area as early as the 1860s. Various sources put the date of construction of the factory at 1860s 1880s and 1899. The EPA Superfund fact sheet has the date of construction as 1916. Some of the compound looks to me like it was constructed in the early 20th century. Other parts of the compound are hard to see. It is an imposing structure. The tower gives the facility an domineering, paternalistic look. The tower however was not built for aesthetics alone. It was apparently a "shot tower". Molten lead was poured from the top of the tower into a vat of water at the bottom. This allowed the lead to form spheres and solidify before hitting the water for final cooling. This was one of the historic methods of manufacturing shotgun pellets.
The factory compound has changed hands and served marginal uses several times since ammunition production ceased. Over the years the compound has deteriorated significantly. The current owner leases storage and work space in the buildings. There were maintenance workers on-site when I was there and it is not possible to explore inside the compound without permission. It is possible to walk two sides of the perimeter of the compound. There is a parking area immediately across the street from the plant entrance that's used by people who run and walk on the Loveland bike trail which follows the little Miami. As a result the area is fairly crowded with joggers and power walkers. The town of Kings Mills is just across the Little Miami river from the plant. Over the years the town of Kings Mills has been enveloped by the Cincinnati suburbs.
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