They Aren’t Hobbit Houses, But These Abandoned Brick Buildings Are a Significant Part of Indiana’s History
Come with me to Vermillion County, Indiana, home to an abandoned brick factory that stands as a testament to a bygone era. The factory represents an important piece of Hoosier history - it held the distinction of being home to the last coal-fired brick kilns in the entire country.
The Colonial Brick Corporation first fired up their kilns back in 1904 and continued making bricks for over 60 years. The factory was purchased by Dan Swartz Sr. in 1965 and was going strong until the 50-acre operation was shut down in 2016.
What's So Special About This Brick Factory?
The factory doesn't appear to be haunted, and as far as I know, there aren't any urban legends associated with it. So why am I writing about it? Well, it's something I've never seen before, and I figure there's a pretty good chance that you haven't either. The buildings are super interesting, as are the history and significance of the factory. I figure one way we can keep that history alive is the share the story, so that's what I'm doing.
Another thing that made the brick factory special was the bricks themselves. IndianaLandmarks.org describes the factory's ability to make bricks that you just couldn't find anywhere else.
They cut them with antique equipment and laid them by hand in beehive-shaped kilns. The painstaking process allowed the Cayuga facility to duplicate the colors, sizes, shapes, and face textures of early-twentieth-century bricks. Colonial specialized in bricks used throughout the country to repair historic buildings and was the last brick maker in the nation to use coal-fired brick kilns.
Big thanks to Kris Cowden and Kenny Lewis for sharing these great pictures on Facebook. According to Kenny, there are no "No Trespassing" signs posted on the parts of the property he visited.