Made in Jacksonville: Main Metal Recycling

June 4, 2013 7 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Family owned and operated, Main Metal Recycling Company has been a downtown mainstay for five decades. Earlier this month, Tammy Wainright of Main Metal Recycling invited Metro Jacksonville's Ennis Davis for a tour of their recycling facility and operations.

Re-purposing History

A mid-20th century aerial of Florida Machine & Foundry. Courtesy of the City of Jacksonville Historic Preservation Office.

The foundry that Jim Pope acquired was originally known as the Florida Machine Works and established in Brooklyn in 1899.  

Purchased shortly after the Great Fire of 1901 by Franklin Russell, the foundry was relocated to 1375 West Church Street in 1924.  Then part owner, his son, Franklin Russell, Jr., a recent graduate of Yale, designed the new foundry.

Russell, Jr.'s wife was Katherine Baker, the daughter of influential 19th century Jacksonville figure, John Baker.  Baker was the director of the Covington Dry Goods Company, the Atlantic National Bank, and a major stockholder in the Wilson & Toomer Fertilizer Company.

During the 1950s, Russell's foundry doubled in size and a steel fabrication plant and a Mid-Century Modern office building by Taylor Hardwick was added next door.  The foundry eventually became the second largest supplier of custom-built cutter heads and replaceable teeth for cutter suction dredgers in the world, before eventually closing in 2002.

During the following decade, the early-20th century industrial complex had fallen to the elements of abandonment.  In 2012, the old foundry became of focal point of Metro Jacksonville's first book, Reclaiming Jacksonville: Stories Behind The River City's Historic Landmarks. That book focused on sharing the history of abandoned structures within Jacksonville's urban core with a hope of one day seeing them reused before they were lost forever.

Florida Machine & Foundry during the 1950s. Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.

Abandoned in 2011.

Video tour of abandoned plant site by flurbex. More Jacksonville videos by flurbex at:

Photograph courtesy of Nomeus

Photograph courtesy of Nomeus

Photograph courtesy of Nomeus

Photograph courtesy of Nomeus

Photograph courtesy of Nomeus

 PREV 1 2 3 NEXT