W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop

Mike Jones/Observer-Reporter

W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop in Rices Landing

Restoration work will continue at W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop in Rices Landing as a result of a grant announced Wednesday by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

The $65,000 Keystone Historic Preservation grant will be use to restore some of the building’s numerous windows and make repairs to parts of its clapboard siding, said George “Bly” Blystone, caretaker of the shop.

“Most of the windows are in bad shape,” Blystone said. On some of the windows, he said, “the panes are coming out.”

The machine shop, which was built in 1900 and has remained relatively unchanged since the days it serviced the riverboat, railroad and mining industries, last year was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The building contains the original machinery it had when it closed in the late 1960s. Metal lathes, drill presses, grinders and planers that fill the shop date from between 1870 and 1920.

The machines are run by a system of leather belts and wood pulleys mounted to the ceiling that was originally powered by a single steam engine. The foundry section of the building has the original coke-fired furnace, metal ladles and the traveling overhead crane.

In announcing the national landmark designation, the U.S. Department of the Interior called the shop an outstanding example of a small, family-owned, 20th-century foundry and machine shop. “The property includes perhaps the finest collection of machine tools found in a small job shop,” it said.

The building is owned by Steel Industry Heritage Corp., a nonprofit corporation that manages Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. It will provide the match for the grant.

The corporation has been restoring the building during the last few years, and earlier replaced the roof, repaired the foundation and began the project to replace the wood siding and restore windows.

This past winter work also was completed to repair a light well in the center of the building, Blystone said. Work that will be completed with the new grant is much needed to maintain the building, he said.

LeMoyne Crematory

Mike Jones/Observer-Reporter

The LeMoyne Crematory on South Main Street near Washington

The machine shop is open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. each Sunday. Blystone urged people to come see it, but asked anyone wanting to visit the shop to call him in advance at 724-710-4898 to make sure he will be there.

Washington County Historical Society also received a $9,162.50 grant under the program to complete work on LeMoyne Crematory on South Main Street near Washington.

The crematory was established by Dr. Francis Julius LeMoyne in 1876 and is the first crematory in the United States. Clay Kilgore, director of the county’s historical society, said the money will be used to replace the roof on the 30- by 20-foot brick building and repair the building’s doors.

Staff Writer

Bob Niedbala has worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for almost 30 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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