The Lynchburg Foundry Company once employed thousands of workers in Central Virginia. The closing of the Archer Creek Foundry on Mount Athos Road - the company's last operating arm - in December 2009, marked the end point of a 113-year history that dates to the founding of the Lynchburg Plow Company in 1896. Through the years, its workers at the Lower Basin factory produced pipes for the Panama Canal and made castings for machinery used in the Manhattan Project's Oak Ridge, Tennessee facility in the creation of the atomic bomb. The Archer Creek plant, built in the 1970s, eventually focused exclusively on automobile products. Its closure was a blow to those who worked there. Said one retired worker to The News & Advance: "There were two entities there: There was the Archer Creek Foundry, and there was the Archer Creek family ... They've been together so long."
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1983-07-15 Steel workers pour iron at Lynchburg Foundry
July 15, 1983. Steel workers pour iron at Lynchburg Foundry's lower basin plant.
This undated file photo shows the preliminary site grading for Lynchburg Foundry's Archer Creek plant. It is probably from 1972 or early 1973.
March 13, 1973. Work on Lynchburg Foundry's Archer Creek plant is half completed. Operations were scheduled to begin late in 1973.
081773 Archer creek.jpg
August 17, 1973. Foundry's Archer Creek plant nears completion.
June 27, 1974. Gov. Mills E. Godwin, left, tours Lynchburg Foundry's new $24 million Archer Creek plant with W.E. Masencup Jr., foundry president, and J.W. McSwiney, Mead Corp. chairman, during the official opening of the plant.
1973-07-15 Archer Creek plant
July 15, 1973. One of six clean air discharge stacks is lowered into position on the roof of Lynchburg Foundry's new Archer Creek plant.
June 27, 1974. 'Sure She Can' Joan Callahan, right, tells Gov. Mills E. Godwin she can operate a fork lift as well as any man in the plant. Godwin questioned Mrs. Callahan about men and women working together on the production line at Lynchburg Foundry Co.'s Archer Creek plant.
1977-05-23 Strikers picket the Lynchburg Foundry Co.'s Lower Basin Plant
May 23, 1977. Strikers picket the Lynchburg Foundry Co.'s Lower Basin Plant in a contract dispute.
Jan. 19, 1977 - Lynchburg Foundry - Phyllis Evers, core department foreman, discusses cores on the assembly line with Ida Willis.
Jan. 13, 1977. Joan Callahan drives a lift truck across the foundry to a storage area.
Jan. 13, 1977. Jerald Morris and Marcia Jefferson relax during their lunch break.
Feb. 3, 1977. Lynchburg Foundry's Shell molding facility in the Lower Basin in downtown Lynchburg.
1980 Archer Creek Foundry
An aerial view of Archer Creek Foundry in 1980.
1982-10-14 Lynchburg Foundry's Lower Basin plant exterior
Oct. 14, 1982. Lynchburg Foundry's Lower Basin plant exterior.
1985-10-12 iron castings
Oct. 12, 1985. Thomas Beverly holds casting he helped make at Lynchburg Foundry's Archer Creek plant for new Ford cars.
February 22, 1987. Pouring molten metal.
1987-02-22 foundry crucible
Feb. 22, 1987. Molten metal is poured from a large crucible into smaller ones as they move along a conveyor.
Feb. 22, 1987. A worker monitors the molten metal at the foundry.
Metal parts are cast in molds made of compacted sand. These are called 'cores' and represent the hollow spaces in more complex castings. When the metal cools, the sand can be broken apart to reveal the metal parts.
Nov. 10, 1987. About 500 employees at the Lower Basin plant wait for a free lunch and jackets to recognize a zero-defects goal.
1988-02-29 Foundry grinding
Feb. 29, 1988. Steve Smith had been working at the Foundry for 23 years when this portrait was taken.
1989-02-12 safety first
Feb. 12, 1989. In the hot-metal world of the Lynchburg Foundry, workers learn safety and productivity.
1989-11-02 Archer creek.jpg
November 2, 1989. The interior of the Archer Creek Foundry.
1989-11-02 Shift change at the Archer Creek Foundry
November 2, 1989. Shift change at the Archer Creek Foundry.
1990-03-31 Archer Creek
March 31, 1990 - Lynchburg Foundry's Archer Creek Foundry.
March 31, 1990 - Chilly morning air and warm sand combine to produce a fine mist over this Campbell County lot near U.S. 460. The warm sand is used by the Lynchburg Foundry to make molds for casting metal parts. The sand is trucked to this site still warm and spread out with a bulldozer.
1993-08-31 The owners announced the Foundry's Lower Basin factory would close
Aug. 31, 1993. The owners announced the Foundry's Lower Basin factory would close.
Oct. 10, 1995 - Demolition of the Lower Basin Foundry was underway. The Foundry closed in September of 1994 after 98 years of operation. The factory once employed about 660 workers.