IOW – Plant 1

Photos of IOW Plant 1

General:

DuPont, which had a long history in the manufacture of single base propellant,  obtained an option on a 6,000 acre site in 1939 which would eventually become Indiana Ordnance Works (IOW) Plant I.  Construction began in late August of 1940 and by the end of December 1940, 13,400 construction workers were employed at the site.  This number continued to grow, peaking at more than 27,000 in May of 1941, shortly after initial production started.  Located at the small town of Charlestown (1940 population: 939), the town struggled to keep pace with the influx of workers as the population quadrupled over the next year.  Many workers rode railcars which ran on adjacent tracks alongside Highway 62.  I have been told that these railcars were operated by the Louisville Interurban, which may be a mistake as it appears to have served only Kentucky residents.  The Louisville and Northern Railway and Lighting Company, later Interstate Public Service Company (eventually becoming Public Service Company of Indiana),  began service to Charlestown.  They used cars manufactured in Jeffersonville by American Car and Foundry. References I located indicate that the interurban ceased operations in 1935.  If so, the cars of the old Interurban may have been used by Louisville Railroad  to transport workers to Charlestown on the old tracks.