Peters Cartridge Company

The Peters Cartridge Company was a company in Kings Mills, Ohio that specialized in gunpowder and ammunition production. Its historic buildings, built in 1916 at 1415 Grandin Road, were added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 10, 1985.[2]

Peters Cartridge Company
Peters cartridge company.jpg
Peters Cartridge Company
Peters Cartridge Company is located in Ohio
Peters Cartridge Company
Peters Cartridge Company is located in the United States
Peters Cartridge Company
Location1415 Grandin Rd., Kings Mills, Ohio
Coordinates39°21′1″N 84°14′33″W / 39.35028°N 84.24250°W / 39.35028; -84.24250Coordinates: 39°21′1″N 84°14′33″W / 39.35028°N 84.24250°W / 39.35028; -84.24250
Area14.2 acres (5.7 ha)
ArchitectSchilling VanLeyer & Keough
Architectural stylePrairie Style
NRHP reference #85003115[1]
Added to NRHPOctober 10, 1985


Peters Cartridge advertisement

Joseph Warren King purchased the Austin & Carleton powder mill on the Little Miami River in 1855 and expanded it as the Miami Powder Company including the company town of Goes Station, Ohio. King sold the Miami Powder Company in 1877 to build the Great Western Powder Works with the company town of Kings Mills at a more favorable hydropower location downstream of Goes Station.[3] A wooden dam diverted water into a power canal through the gorge in a narrow valley between steep adjacent hills. Manufacturing facilities were dispersed along the 2-mile (3.2 km) power canal to minimize damage during infrequent explosions. King's son-in-law Gershom Moore Peters began working at the powder mill in 1881 and became president of the powder company when King died in 1885. Peters formed the Peters Cartridge Company at Kings Mills in 1887. Machinery was manufacturing four-thousand cartridges per hour by 1889.[4]

A collision of loaded railway cars being shunted at the powder works on 15 July 1890 triggered an explosion killing twelve people and starting fires destroying the railroad station, the freight house, two Peters Cartridge Company office buildings, the shell factory, the cartridge loading plant, a large warehouse and six employee residences.[5] Wood-frame structures were rebuilt on the opposite side of the river from the old powder works included a large shot tower completed in 1895. The last wood-frame structures were machine shop building R-3 and shotgun shell loading building R-21 built in 1907. With the approach of World War I the company received large ammunition orders from the Russian Empire and from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Bullet manufacturing building R-6 was built of brick; and money from wartime contracts was used to replace most of the old wooden framed buildings with brick and reinforced concrete structures including the main R-1 building in 1916, the R-17 power house in 1917, metallic cartridge loading building R-2 in 1918, primer assembly building R-9, and the R-23 indoor shooting range and ballistics laboratory in 1919. A taller brick shot tower painted with a large P became a local landmark.[4]

Remington Arms purchased the Peters Cartridge Company in 1934. Facilities were expanded during World War II to include the federally owned Kings Mills Ordnance Plant manufacturing military ammunition on an adjacent hill south of the Peters factory complex. Production of military ammunition ended in March 1944, and Remington sold the Kings Mills factory to Columbia Records. Columbia manufactured 78 rpm phonograph records at Kings Mills until 1949. When 45 rpm records became more popular the buildings were subsequently leased to Seagram distillers as warehouse space until 1968. Building R-1 and the brick shot tower survived into the 21st century.[4] The site was listed as a Superfund National Priorities List site by the Environmental Protection Agency in April 2012 for copper, lead and mercury soil contamination.[6]


Little Miami RiverEdit

Peter's Cartridge Company was built on the banks of the Little Miami River, because of the large amount of willow trees. These trees were burned to charcoal and used in the process of making gunpowder. There were a few powder factories in the river valley, but Peter's Cartridge Factory was the biggest. The small town near the factory was built for the workers, giving them places to sleep and places to shop.



Explosions happened multiple times in the factory’s lifetime. One writer stated, "Later they became of such frequency as to cause little comment, unless they were especially violent." [7]

Notable ExplosionEdit

In 1942, an explosion of unknown origins shattered windows 30 miles away. [8]

Later BusinessesEdit

Peters Cartridge Company has gone through multiple owners who tried to run businesses with the old building.

In 1934, Remington Arms Company purchased the land from Peters Cartridge Company.[9]


In 2019, the Warren County Port Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency deemed the location safe and ready for development.

Cartridge Brewing will begin construction and be the anchor of the site. The 24,000-square-foot factory will be developed as a mixed-use space with restaurants and retail, as well as 135 apartments.[10]

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Thomas D. Schiffer. Peters & King: The Birth & Evolution of the Peters Cartridge Co. & the King Powder Co. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications, 2002. ISBN 0-87349-363-X


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Rosalie. "Miami Powder Company". History of Ohio Pioneers. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Sullebarger Associates, PAST Architects. "Ahimaaz King House and Carriage House Historic Structure Report" (PDF). Deerfield Township, Ohio. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  5. ^ Burba, Howard (5 March 1933). "Remember When the Powder Mills Exploded?". Dayton Daily News.
  6. ^ EPA's Superfund Site Information for PETERS CARTRIDGE FACTORY, Environmental Protection Agency
  7. ^ "Remember When the Powder Mills Exploded". Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  8. ^ Alter, Maxim (2018-06-21). "Peters Cartridge Company: Former ammo factory in Kings Mills a hot spot for ghost hunters and police". WCPO. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  9. ^ "The fascinating history of an old Warren County factory that churned out bullets and shotgun shells". mydaytondailynews. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  10. ^ Dilapidated ammunition factory to get new life as brewery WLWT. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.

External linksEdit