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.