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Chester Rolling Mill Co.
The Chester Rolling Mill Company was located in Chester, West Virginia where the Allison Elementary School is today. Spearheaded by William Banfield, it was in operation from 1901 until 1931. In 1905, it consisted of seven mills and employed 400.[1]

The following comes from History of Hancock County by Jack Welch and gives some background on the mill.

Once the slow work of setting the heavy foundations for the mill was completed, the building pace sped up and the operations were underway by 1901. Before the rolling mill reached full operation, it was absorbed by the American Sheet and Tinplate Company. A force of more than five hundred men worked in the mill three shifts each day. The mill produced special black plate for stovepipes, stoves, signs, metal furniture, and milk cans. by 1931 the factory have become outmoded and was situated on too small a site for expansion. Under the financial stresses of the time, the mill failed and was dismantled.


Chester Rolling Mill Postcard, undated


The company owned a sizeable tract of land. The map below shows their holdings from the Ohio River to Alaska and Georgia Avenues. From left to right the land included the edge of Rock Springs Park into Fourth Street. The Mill sold off plots of land to businesses and new home owners. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church purchased their portion of land at the corner of Fifth and Indiana from Mr. Wetzel of the Rolling Mill Land Company at $500.00 per lot in 1902.[2]

There are several differences from the original plan and how the land would eventually be laid out. For example, Georgia Avenue is not as large as originally planed, and Alaska Ave exists today as Alaska Street joining Louisiana Ave with Middle Run Road. "PPC SIL RWY" is now simply, "Railroad Ave." Also, Carolina ave is marked with "Street Railway" which would have run to the Chester Bridge and into East Liverpool.

Surrounding parcels of land would have been represented by similar maps. The South Side Land Co. put out such a map for the area to the east of Rock Springs Park offering lots for sale.[3]


Map, dated July 1899, courtesy Kenneth Louk by way of the Memories of Hancock and Brooke Counties facebook page.


The reverse of the map gives some information on Chester and the mill:
LOCATION

We are Located --

At the extreme North end of the Pan-handle District, in Hancock County, State of West Virginia.

On the Banks of the Ohio River opposite the City of East Liverpool, Ohio.

Near the boundary lines of three States, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

In a beautiful valley, with the purest water in the State, with shaded river bank, with level land and hillside, with magnificent forest trees and plenty of sunlight.

The Famous Rock Spring is owned by one of our Directors.

INDUSTRIES

The Chester Rolling Mill Company is now completing a modern six-mill sheet iron plant and bar mill, together with the galvanizing department complete. All of which will employ from 450 to 500 people.

CONNECTIONS

We are connected to this Busy World

By Railroads: The Pennsylvania Company, Pan-Handle Division, which passes through the center of the valley. The Cleveland & Pittsburgh Division just across the river.

By Bridges: The East Liverpool Bridge, which connects us with the State of Ohio.

By Street Railways: Which connect us with East Liverpool, Wellsville and East End, in the State of Ohio.

By River: We are on the vast inland water system of this country -- Monongahela, Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, which are now being slack-watered.

By Local and Long Distance Telephone - and by Telegraph Systems.

For prices and terms, apply to J. E. McDonald on the property. Chester Rolling Mill. Co. Chester, W. VA.


Two of the images from the reverse of the map.


[1] Cashdollar, Roy C. A History of Chester: The Gateway to the West. p 33.
[2] The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Sacred Heart Church, 1902-1927
[3] Cashdollar, Roy C. A History of Chester: The Gateway to the West. pp 34-35

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