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The brick works in Bessemer had its beginnings with the Bessemer Limestone Company (BELCO), a limestone mining operation organized in 1887. Large amounts of brick-quality clay was found so the company decided to open a ‘face brick’ plant in 1901 and then a massive ‘paving brick’ plant in 1907. In 1917 these two plants, located along Poland Avenue, were sold to the Metropolitan Paving Brick Company of Canton, OH, which was the nation’s largest brick manufacturing company. (c1915) Full Size
After Metro Brick acquired the plants in Bessemer they immediately set about expanding operations. The company also built a host of homes near the plants for their employees, most of which were Italian or Yugoslavian immigrants. The sprawling 61-acre operation was up to full capacity by late 1921 and over 250 employees were turning out 200,000 paving bricks per day. Part of its paving brick operation included one of the largest brick-making kilns in the world, a massive structure which is partially shown above. (c1918) Full Size