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Frank Foundry History

This page is the collected history we were able to find on the Frank Foundry property.  If you have any additional history or photos of the property before it fell into disrepair, please share them with us.  We would love to enhance the information on this page.

 Overview

Originally built in 1898 as Muncie Foundry and Machine, the site was acquired by Frank Foundry in 1942 and operated at the site until 1985. Since then, the foundry operated sporadically under various owners. One owner was convicted of storing hazardous material on site. Following a fire in 2009, the city of Muncie ordered demolition of the property.

Time  Identified / Inferred Use Source
1911-1929 By 1911, the north-central portion of the Property was developed by the Muncie Foundry and Machine Company. A residence was located west of the foundry structure, while a set of north-south trending railroad tracks and a rail spur were located to the east of the foundry on the eastern portion of the Property. Sanborn Map (1911)City Directory Image(1929)
1948-1998 By 1948, the foundry had been expanded to extend the entire north-south length of the Property. A casting cleaning building was located on the south end of the Property, while an air compressor and pattern shop building were developed on the northwest portion of the Property. Three dust collectors were located on the south end of the Property near the casting cleaning building. Two oil tanks were depicted east of the original foundry building across the railroad tracks. A second set of north-south running railroad tracks were depicted on the far east side of the Property in aerial photography. Sand storage areas were also apparent east of the railroad tracks in the middle of the Property. The Property was identified as “Frank’s Foundries Corp” from 1959 to 1985, and as “Muncie Casting Specialties” in 1996. Aerial Photographs (1948 – 1998)Sanborn Maps(1950 – 1972)Topographic Maps (1952 – 1984)City Directory Images

(1959 – 1996)

2003 – 2013 By 2003, the foundry was no longer in operation and the Property was overgrown by vegetation. The City Directory image from 2003 identified the Property as “Muncie Warehousing Technology, Inc.”. From 2010 to 2012, the foundry buildings were demolished starting in the north portion of the Property and proceeding southward. By 2013, the factory building and air compressor structures remained intact. Construction debris was visible throughout the Property in aerial photographs. Aerial Photographs (2005 – 2013)Topographic Maps (2010 – 2013)City Directory Image(2003)

 

Photos

Interior view of Frank Foundries 1946

Interior view of Frank Foundries 1946 – back states “core racks and monorail at four pass continuous core oven, along with conveyors to the core grinder and portion of core storage area”. Maybe someone who worked there can explain this. The photo is marked by the “Littleton Studio @ 115 1/2 S. Mulberry Street, Muncie Ind”. Courtesy Lost Muncie

car_franks

Photo Courtesy of Mike Rhodes

car_franks2

Photo Courtesy of Mike Rhodes

car_franks3

Photo Courtesy of Mike Rhodes

Muncie_Foundry__Machine_Company

Photo Courtesy of Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository

Muncie_Foundry__Machine_Company_Office

Photo Courtesy of Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository

aerial

Photo Courtesy of Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository

 

 

Event Timeline

Source:  The Star Press 

1898: The building at 1324 S. Brotherton St. opens in Muncie as Muncie Foundry and Machine.

1942: Frank Foundry moves to the building at 1324 S. Brotherton St., buying the building from Warner Gear Division of Borg-Warner Corp. The foundry made iron castings for trucks, tractors, forklifts and off-road construction equipment.

1960s and 1970s: The plant generated neighborhood complaints about pollution. Area residents claimed their houses and cars were ruined by airborne metal particles coming from the foundry.

March 1973: The plant assured environmental officials it would curb pollution problems by March 1, 1973, with the installation of a new scrubber system to reduce emissions of particulate matter into the air. “That’s the prettiest darned steam plume in the whole world!” was the enthusiastic response.

Feb. 26, 1977: Hot coke combined with water to create a deafening explosion at Frank Foundry. No one was injured in the blast that scattered small fires throughout the plant.

August 1982: Frank Foundry Corp. finishes work on a 400-pound casting that will end up in the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

1985: Frank Foundry closes; 105 workers lose jobs.

1987: Muncie Iron Works given loan to operate at the former Frank Foundry facility.

1989: Muncie Iron Works defaults on a loan and closes.

1991: Neighbors petition city government to demolish or secure the property, on which some neighborhood children had built a clubhouse.

January 1992: The U.S. Environmental Protection agency found dozens of deteriorating drums of flammable, hazardous waste on the property.

February 1992: A fire believed to be set by vagrants trying to stay warm began on the floor of a workroom among scraps of wood and sawdust.

Nov. 23, 1992: Edward Baker, from Marshall, Mich., and his partners pay off a $167,000 delinquent public loan. By paying off that loan, Baker and his partners gained approval from American National Bank for a $400,000 loan to reopen the Muncie foundry. The new company that opened the business is called Muncie Foundry & Machine Inc. Baker was the principal partner.

December 1992: Muncie Foundry & Machine announces plans to start up operations again in the former Frank Foundry and Muncie Iron Works factory and hire at least 70 people within its first seven months of operation.

1993: Baker pleads guilty to making a false statement on his loan application to the bank after an FBI investigation. Baker is fined $22,500 by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for violations at the foundry.

August 1995: Developer Steve Reed asks how he can buy the foundry. Reed buys the foundry equipment at a foreclosure sale. He eventually acquires the property.

1996: Based on his own inspection and on EPA and Indiana Department of Environmental Management reports, Muncie appraiser Harold Hindman judges the factory “unmarketable”

Exact date uncertain: Baker gives ownership of the foundry to Milton McCarter, a convicted thief with a lengthy criminal record. McCarter brings waste to the site, including waste tires and transformers and capacitors containing PCBs.

1998: McCarter sentenced to three years in prison for stealing some of Reed’s equipment. IDEM cites McCarter for illegally storing more than 10,000 waste tires in the foundry.

May 15 1999: The former Frank Foundry has been called an “imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, welfare and the environment” by the EPA.

Aug. 20, 1999: Hazardous waste removed from abandoned foundry. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completes a cleanup of flammable and hazardous liquids at the site. The EPA removes more than a hundred, 55-gallon drums of waste from the former foundry.

Foundry a blight on its neighborhood The eastside property has been closed, mostly unused since 1985.

By KEITH ROYSDON
Muncie Star Press (IN)
December 17, 2007

MUNCIE — The Frank Foundry on the city’s east side has been closed since 1985. In the past 22 years, the sprawling, gray industrial complex has been the focus of a lot of legal wrangling and the site of some clean-up work. The foundry remains, however, an eyesore. Its run-down buildings and broken windows cast a pall over the neighborhood around Eighth and Brotherton streets. Property owner Steve Reed — who came into possession of the property in the 1990s, after a former owner failed to pay property taxes and defaulted on hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans — said last week he was frustrated by failed efforts to get brownfield funding to clean up the property. In the meantime, Reed said, he’s slowly cleaning up the property.

Muncie firefighters responded to a small fire at the abandoned Frank Foundry around 11 a.m. Tuesday. The fire broke out around the roof of a deteriorating building in the facility at Brotherton and Eighth streets. No one was injured…A cause for the fire was not immediately known. Firefighters said a worker at the foundry was believed to be using a cutting torch in the area where the fire broke out

MUNCIE – Muncie firefighters responded to a small fire at the abandoned Frank Foundry around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The fire broke out around the roof of a deteriorating building in the facility at Brotherton and Eighth streets.

No one was injured. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze. A …

MUNCIE – Firefighters were called to the site of the former Frank Foundry at Eighth and Brotherton streets around 11:15 a.m. today. The 10-acre property is ranked as the city’s second-worst brownfield – abandoned or under-utilized real estate contaminated or potentially contaminated by hazardous..

MUNCIE – By 12:30 p.m., firefighters had the fire at Frank Foundry mostly extinguished.

The blaze, which caused relatively little damage, appeared to have been sparked by a cutting torch, according to officials.11:35 a.m. – Firefighters battling flames at Frank Foundry

MUNCIE – As of 11:35 a.m. today, firefighters were pouring water onto one of the better-looking buildings at the former Frank Foundry. Some smoke was visible, but no flames.11:25 a.m. – Fire reported at Frank Foundry …

Image

The Muncie Fire Department battles a fire at the former Franks Foundry at Macedonia Avenue and 8th Street on Monday night.

A fire at an abandoned factory is out after the Muncie Fire Department battled flames late Monday.

All units of the fire department were dispatched to the factory, the former Frank Foundry, around 10:40 p.m. Monday after a passerby called Delaware County Emergency Communications.

The fire department used 30,000-40,000 gallons of water to …

12:30 AM, Oct. 28, 2009

Benjamin Archey hopes Monday night’s fire at the abandoned Frank Foundry will serve as a wakeup call.

“Maybe this will make somebody wake up and do something about it,” said Archey, a retired Indiana Steel and Wire factory worker who has lived near the foundry since 1964. “It’s just an old building sitting down there with creatures living in it. It’s an eyesore.”

His wish came true on Tuesday when the city issued a demolition order for the 10-acre complex of buildings, many of which appear to be unsafe, structurally impaired, a fire hazard, a public health hazard and a public nuisance. Some of the

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