John Chiswell's lead mines, four miles southwest and near Austinville, supplied lead for the shot tower built by Thomas Jackson, who manufactured shot for the firearms of settlers and frontiersmen. The tapering square tower of local limestone is seventy feet high with a simple wooden balcony at the top. Originally, wooden steps wound up from ground level to the balcony, which opens into a room with a fireplace where the lead was heated. The molten lead was then poured through a sieve over a shaft that went down through the tower and continued seventy-five feet below ground where it landed in a kettle of water. A steep fall was thought necessary to give the shot a balanced round shape. The shot was then retrieved via a tunnel leading from the bank of the New River to the bottom of the shaft.
You are here
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.