The Powhatan Lime Company of Strasburg Virginia dates to 1902. It was founded to quarry some of the area’s plentiful New Market limestone and to convert it into lime for use in construction agriculture, and numerous other industries.
Powhatan Lime Company was on what is now Powhatan Road, near Junction Road just southwest of the Town of Strasburg corporate limits. Its location was not only near limestone deposits, it was also adjacent to the major rail lines that made up the Strasburg Junction. Rail power allowed the lime produced at the Powhatan plant to be shipped to markets around the country and internationally.
In a May 10, 1918 edition of the Strasburg News Powhatan Lime Company is listed as one of five local lime plants. Collectively, these businesses employed over 250 persons and had a monthly payroll of over $12,000 or approximately $235,000 in today’s currency. The newspaper noted this income helped support local merchants and “without these plants, Strasburg would lose much of her life.”
With the prosperity brought by these companies came risks. Lime production was, and is, and dangerous industry. Numerous locals lost their lives in accidents at plants in the Strasburg area. Included among these are Jack Renner, Hunter Boyd, Ashby Mitchll, George Huffman, and Cecil Alonzo Rinker. These five men were killed when a lightning strike detonated a buried dynamite charge at the quarry.
The date when Powhatan Lime Company closed is uncertain. A 1945 National Labor Relations Board case noted the company was in operation, manufactured “chemical lime, fluxing lime, building lime, hydrated lime, agricultural lime, and crushed stone,” and produced approximately $125,000 worth of products annually, 80% of which was shipped outside the state of Virginia.
A 1976 Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Report listed it as an abandoned quarry meaning the plant closed sometime between those two dates. Today, only the former quarry, now flooded, remains.