Armorcast (Birdsboro Steel Foundry and Machine Co)
Located in Birdsboro, PA
Photo © 2005 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
Armorcast (Birdsboro Steel Foundry and Machine Co) History
The origin of this structure begins with a history of steel making in 1740, when an entrepreneur named William Bird constructed several iron forges where the Schuylkill River met with Hay Creek; an area that would later on become Birdsboro, named in William Bird's honor. The company expanded greatly over the years as the demands for iron, and subsequently steel, rose during the wartime. During World War II, the government expressed an interest in acquiring steel for the U.S. Navy from The Birdsboro Steel Foundry and Machine Company. In response to winning this contract, this large steel mill was constructed in 1944, consisting of nine massive bays reaching up to 1,480 feet long and 50 feet high. Soon, the role of the plant shifted to manufacturing tanks for the Army, and the name of the plant was known as Armorcast. Sherman and Patton model tanks were the main product of the plant from World War II through the Korean War.
In 1975, Armorcast failed to win a government contract to continue production, and the plant was closed in 1988 after a lengthy strike. A few businesses still operated within the space until 2002, when a five-alarm fire broke out, damaging the building. It then appeared to have been used as a junkyard for some time until plans were made to demolish the structure.
On December 9th, 2016, the smoke stacks were imploded, and the large buildings were also razed. The site is now known as the Armorcast Redevelopment Area.