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1949 Fire at Dunlop Mills

I came across a really cool historical photo of the fire that destroyed the Dunlop Flour Mills at the base of the Southern States silos in 1949. According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch:

“Smoldering embers and charred, jagged walls were all that remained of Dunlop Mills in South Richmond after a terrible fire in March 1949. The two brick buildings, that survived the Civil War, were lost to the fire that took more than 200 firemen six hours to put out. The fire drew thousands of bystanders to the south bank of the James River at Hull Street. Firemen reportedly used 23 pieces of equipment to control the fire, which at times rose more than 300ft into the air.

The mill was owned by the Dixie Portland Flour Company, whose manager, Charles W. Thompson, estimated the building would cost more than $1 million to repair. The suspected cause of the fire was a wheat screening grinder that may have sparked. The fire was discovered by a night shift employee around 4:40 a.m. after he smelled smoke.

A doctor was on site to treat minor injuries, but no one was severely harmed. The Salvation Army was also on site providing 2,000 hamburgers and sandwiches, 100 gallons of coffee, 100 dozen donuts, and 40 cases of soft drinks to the firemen.”

The Dunlop Flour Mills ablaze, March 1949, Richmond, Virginia. Byrd’s Flour Mills, built on the South East end of Mayo’s Bridge in 1732 along with The Manchester Canal that powered them, were purchased by William Mayo shortly after. They remained Mayo’s Mills until 1852, when they were sold to Dunlop Moncure & Company. Dunlop rebuilt the flour mills in 1853, which are shown burning here in 1949, though Dunlop ceased flour mill operations in 1932. The iconic Southern States Cooperative silos, seen on the left side of the photo, were built for distributing seeds and fertilizers in the 1920’s and still stand to this day, though they are no longer in use. Photographer Unknown. . . . . #richmondvirginia #vintagerichmond #byrdsmills #mayosmills #dunlopmills #dunlopflourmill #dunlopmoncureandcompany #mayobridge #mayosbridge #manchestercanal #manchester #southerstates #rfd #richmondfiredepartment #manchesterfiredepartment #southernstatessilos #southernstatescoop #southernstatescooperative #rvanews

A photo posted by Vintage Richmond (@vintage_richmond) on

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