I posted this week’s Throwback Thursday photo earlier today looking for an answer as to where this photo was taken. The hint was that the photo was in conjunction with a recently completed new development in Alexandria that I had posted about previous.
History Girl was 100% right on Twitter that there was a factory called the Old Dominion Glass Factory about the time of the photo.
— History Girl (@AlexNoVaHistory) April 3, 2014
The answer to the hint is the 1111 Belle Pre Apartments on Henry Street between Madison and Montgomery (Thank you Paul! (see below).
Alexandria was a HUGE manufacturing center from 1899 to 1915 and led most of the Commonwealth in producing goods. See also this fascinating report from Alexandria Archaeology (PDF file).
The Belle Pre Bottle Company, situated on the west side of Henry Street between Madison and Montgomery Streets, was organized in 1902 by a group of Washington businessmen. It owned a patent on a type of milk bottle and was one of the largest producers of such bottles in the U.S. Beset by financial setbacks in 1912, Belle Pre declared bankruptcy and subsequently auctioned off its equipment.
Finally, the Alexandria Glass Company, begun about 1900, was located on the northwest corner of Henry and Montgomery Streets. Purchased by the Old Dominion Glass Company in 1916, fire completely devastated the glass works despite the vigorous efforts of the firemen. As a result of this blaze, 175 men and boys lost their jobs, and company officials estimated the damage at $75,000. – Alexandria Gazette, February 2, 1917.
This photograph would be more appropriate for the cover of Huckleberry Finn than Oliver Twist. But buddies Ashby and Frank probably shared few light moments at the factory. This is one of two Lewis Hine photos at the Alexandria Glass Company that I have researched. At the end of this story, see the link to my research on Robert Kidd, which includes a telling description of the often harrowing working conditions for “carrying-in boys.”
The 1111 Belle Pre Apartments have a homage to the old Belle Pre Factory on their site which led me to make these two posts. See this photo.