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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Austinville in Wythe County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Shot Tower at Jackson's Ferry

 
 
Shot Tower at Jackson's Ferry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2010
1. Shot Tower at Jackson's Ferry Marker
Inscription.  This renovated gray limestone shot tower was used to manufacture lead shot. This tower provides a visible example of a nineteenth century commercial venture in southwest Virginia. Construction of the tower, believed to have been built in the early 1800s, is credited to Thomas Jackson.

In the twentieth century, the shot tower was conveyed for purposes of restoration and maintenance from the Jackson family to the Stuart Chapter, DAR, then to the Lead Mines Ruritan Club, and most recently to the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Conservation and Economic Development.

In honor of this structure’s local historical significance, this tablet is placed by the Virginia District IV Regents Club of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. The DAR chapters representing this Regents Club are:

Appalachian Trail, Black’s Fort, Boone Trail, Carter’s Fort, Count Pulaski, Fort Chiswell, Fort Maiden Spring, George Pearis, Lovelady, Major George Gibson, New River Pioneer, Royal Oak, Stuart and Wilderness Road Chapters.

Marker placed
December 30, 2000

 
Erected
Shot Tower at Jackson's Ferry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2010
2. Shot Tower at Jackson's Ferry Marker
(marker on pedestal directly in front of tower • adjacent to the New River Trail State Park rail trail)
2000 by Virginia District IV Regents Club, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Daughters of the American Revolution series list.
 
Location. 36° 52.204′ N, 80° 52.225′ W. Marker is near Austinville, Virginia, in Wythe County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Shottower Road (County Road 624) and Pauley Flatwoods (County Road 608). Marker is located near the tower in Shot Tower Historical State Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Austinville VA 24312, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Jackson’s Ferry and Shot Tower (approx. 0.2 miles away); The New River (approx. 0.4 miles away); Railroad Depot (approx. 1.3 miles away); Austin's Birthplace (approx. 1.6 miles away); Carroll County / Wythe County (approx. 1.7 miles away); Fincastle County (approx. 2.1 miles away); To Mark The Site of The Lead Mines (approx. 3.4 miles away); Ivanhoe (approx. 5.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Austinville.
 
Regarding Shot Tower at Jackson's Ferry. National Register of Historic Places #69000286, National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, Virginia Historic Landmark.
 
Related markers.
Shot Tower Historical State Park Interpretive Panel image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2010
3. Shot Tower Historical State Park Interpretive Panel
(located beside marker)
Built and operated by Thomas Jackson in the 1800's, the Shot Tower was used to manufacture lead shot for muzzleloading shotguns and muskets. The Tower stands 75 feet high with a 75 foot shaft below. The lead needed a total fall of 150 feet to properly form the shot. A large kettle of water acted as a cushion and caught the shot at the bottom of the shaft. The shot was retrieved via a tunnel that came out at the river's edge. The Shot Tower has been designated as a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Jackson's Ferry Shot Tower
 
Also see . . .
1. Jackson's Ferry Shot Tower (Virginia DHR). Thomas Jackson erected this imposing tower on a bluff of the New River ca. 1807 to manufacture shot for the firearms of the frontier settlers. The enterprise was supplied with lead from the Austinville mines several miles away. The shaft was connected to the riverbank by a tunnel through which the shot was carried and loaded on boats. (Submitted on September 7, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Jackson's Ferry Shot Tower (Wikipedia). The 2.5-foot-thick solid stone walls not only made the Shot Tower an extremely strong structure, but kept its interior temperature cool and consistent, improving the quality of the shot it produced. The designers used the natural terrain to reduce the height of the tower they had to construct. They built the tower on the edge of a cliff, and dug a vertical shaft 75 feet deep, which reduced the height required of the actual tower to 75 feet. (Submitted on September 7, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Jackson's Ferry Shot Tower (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). Smelted lead from the nearby Austinville mines was melted at the top of the tower and poured through a sizing sieve to produce small
Shot Tower Diagram image. Click for full size.
4. Shot Tower Diagram
droplets. Surface tension caused the molted lead to assume a spherical shape that solidified during its 150-foot fall. The shot was then collected in a water-filled kettle at the bottom of the shaft. (Submitted on September 7, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Shot Tower at Jackson's Ferry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2010
5. Shot Tower at Jackson's Ferry Marker
(marker pedestal visible in front of tower)
Jackson's Ferry Shot Tower image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2010
6. Jackson's Ferry Shot Tower
Jackson's Ferry Shot Tower (<i>back side</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2010
7. Jackson's Ferry Shot Tower (back side)
(looking up from adjacent New River Trail State Park rail trail)
Shaft Entrance image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2010
8. Shaft Entrance
Access to the shaft was though this entrance on the back side of the tower – now adjacent to the New River State Park rail trail.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 5, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 81 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on September 7, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Mar. 7, 2021