Pomona Terra Cotta Manufacturing Company, West Market Street, Greensboro, Guilford County, NC
Significance: In 1886 J. Van Lindley, John E. Logan, and William C. Boren incorporated the Pomona Terra Cotta Manufacturing Company to produce agricultural drain tile. The original plant contained a small steam engine, one boiler, two wood-burning kilns. It used locally mined clay. From this modest beginning, the company grew by 1925 to four plants in Greensboro, and it operated a major mine at Gulf in Chatham County. In Greensboro, terra cotta pipe was produced and fired in round down-draft or "bee-hive" kilns. Over forty kilns operated at the peak of production, when over three hundred workers were employed. The "bee-hives" stood at the end of a process that began at the Gulf Mine where the shale clay was mined, screened, and crushed. Freight cars brought the clay to Pomona were it was further mixed, blended, and reduced to a powder by milling machines. Water was added to give a paste-like consistency . Augers and presses formed the clay into pipe-forming machines where extreme pressure removed air pockets and gave it initial self-supporting strength. The pipe was then extruded. After air drying, the pipe was stacked in the round kiln where intense heat was applied (by coal in the early years, and later by oil and natural gas) until the temperature reached nearly 2,000 degrees F. The kilns operated on a ten day to two week firing cycle four days to fire and six days to cool. During this process, salt was burned in the kiln to give the pipe a glaze finish. In the 1950's, the Pomona Company began to modernize its facilities. It constructed a new plant equipped with tunnel kilns at the mine in Gulf. By the mid 1960's, the labor force was reduced at Greensboro, and in 1975, the Pomona Pipe Company announced the suspension of operations there. Demolition of the plant began in 1976. One "bee-hive" will remain at the site which will be redeveloped as an industrial park.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-2
Survey number: HAER NC-2
Building/structure dates: ca. 1890 Initial Construction