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1. What they Made

2. How they Made it

3. Where they Made it

Where Fertilzer was Made: The Plant

Inside, the typical fertilizer plant would have cement floors and wood stalls, along with open areas for mixing machinery and conveyors. The potential fire hazard of materials required that they be stored some distance from each other, which in turn created inefficient movement.

The original Thomas Fertilizer plant on Virginia Avenue was a series of unheated storage sheds, with a scale and a large room for mixing. At the same time, in 1918, the Central Chemical plant on Mitchell Avenue featured three screening areas, separate storage areas for materials, and specifies the stalls on the left where materials were likely kept. It is likely from the flow scenario described above that materials were stored, screened and mixed in the main building and then the bagged product was kept in the storage room on axis with the office. This would allow customers to access the ready-to-purchase product from the road or the office without entering the main plant. The site appears radically different between 1926-1950, and it is likely that this is the reconstructed plant after the first fire of 1943. The main body of the plant consists of a large factory building, most likely where mixing and processing was done, that is connected to the tracks by a conveyer. There are more individuated warehouses for materials and they are separated from each other and the rest of the plant.

The final picture of the plant is from 1955, and illustrates that the company has begun making insecticides as well as fertilizers. There are now two loci of production—the northern insecticide plant, with two processing areas and a number of separated storage for specific chemicals. The southern end houses the original fertilizer plant. The progression of points to why standardized construction methods were chosen for this plant—over the course of forty years, the configuration of the plant needed to be adaptable and mobile to accommodate the materials and methods for a hazardous manufacturing process.

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