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Markers & Museums
South Central Edition
August 02, 1904 - Medora Shale Brick Company Founded
West Lee Wright platted the town of Medora in 1853.
West Lee Wright (Feb. 14, 1803 - Sep. 16, 1876)
The son of Revolutionary War veteran William Wright and his wife Martha Morgan Wright, West was a native of Wayne County, Kentucky. The family moved to Washington County, Indiana around 1808, settling near Salem. He married Nancy Wright in 1824. The couple would have eight children. The family moved to Jackson County in 1832.
Medora Shale Brick Company
Samples of the clay were made into brick and found to be an excellent paving and construction brick. The Medora Shale Brick Company was founded on August 02, 1904. Construction of the plant along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad began in 1910. The plant included six beehive kilns for firing brick. The structures were wrapped with steel bands and had square chimneys. By 1927, the plant would have ten kilns. The kiln produced agricultural tile, street paving bricks and home construction bricks until the 1990s, when it closed. Indiana became a leading producer of clay products in the 1920's, ranking seventh in the nation in production.
Medora Shale Brick Plant
The Medora Shale Brick Plant was one of fifty-five brick plants that existed in Indiana at the turn of the Twentieth Century. The plant provided jobs for over fifty people and, at its peak, turned out 54,000 handmade bricks a day. The hills around Medora contained an abundance of the clay and shale needed for brick production. The Medora Shale Brick Plant is privately owned and is not open to the public. However, for more information about its history, click this link.
Portions of the article excerpted from the author’s book: