“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Ironworks Oil House

Ironworks Oil House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 31, 2013
1. Ironworks Oil House Marker
Inscription. This stone storage shed was built to hold flammable lubricants and dangerous acids. The hand-cut stone likely was quarried here on Belle Isle. The shed served the Old Dominion Iron and Nail Company, which expanded from this area eastward, behind you, late in the 19th Century. An 1886 fire insurance map identified the shed as an “oil house” and showed a “laboratory” next to it. The oil house may have been constructed by 1876, when another map showed a similar building in about this location.

Notice the earth piled around the shed’s side walls. The earth once reached to within two feet of the roof. The thick stone walls, reinforced by the heaped earth, would have helped direct any explosion and fire upward rather than outward, to protect other buildings as well as the workers here.

When the 1934 Robert E. Lee Bridge was demolished after the new bridge was completed in 1988, the shed’s heavy slate roof was removed. The walls were temporarily buried under thirty feet of sand to protect them from any falling debris.
Erected by Richmond National Battlefield Park.
Location. 37° 31.767′ N, 77° 27.086′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Tredegar
Ironworks Oil House image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 31, 2013
2. Ironworks Oil House
Street 0.3 miles west of South 5th Street. Click for map. Located on Belle Isle which can be reached via a pedestrian bridge from the north bank of the river. Marker is at or near this postal address: 470 Tredegar Street, Richmond VA 23219, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cannon over the Camp (a few steps from this marker); Canons and Corpses (within shouting distance of this marker); Belle Isle Rolling Milling and Slitting Manufactory (within shouting distance of this marker); Native American Fishing (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Historic Belle Isle (about 600 feet away); Hollywood Rapids (about 600 feet away); The Power of Moving Water (about 700 feet away); Belle Isle Prison Camp Monument (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Richmond.
More about this marker. (caption)
Sanborn Insurance Company map, 1886, showing the oil house. Courtesy Library of Virginia.
Categories. Industry & Commerce
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 229 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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