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River Hopping 2017:
In search of America's lost potteries

Click here to see a larger version of the map. Click on individual dots to visit those sites.
Ed,  Zephyr and Tilde
Ed, Zephyr and Tilde attempt to recreate last year's photo taken at a West Virginia rest stop, but without the cooperative attitude. It was worth including to get a small idea of how much the redbuds in bloom stood out as we drove through the mountains. Click here for a photo - not ours - that begins to show what every mountain looked like as we drove through with the lavender pink bright against the dull browns and grays of the mountains. And every now and then the dogwoods were in bloom, too. (What kind of dogs are those masked bandits? Click here.)

One of our stops was in Wheeling, home of Warwick China. As we got oriented to the noisy, bustling downtown that seemed to be in a state of construction everywhere, we pulled off to admire this elephant, placed in a wee sculpture garden two years ago at 11th and Main streets.

The sculpture - now named Bobo - was created by Wheeling craftsman Jeff Forster as part of a Reinvent Wheeling campaign. He made it from stainless steel recycled from a former local restaurant chain.

According to this story, "The piece is a tribute to the elephants being marched across the Wheeling Suspension Bridge 60 years ago when the circus was in town."

Here's a photo of the bridge, courtesy of Wikimedia. It was built before the era of the automobile and has a weight and vehicle limit at any one time. Driving over it with its open mesh roadway there's a really loud, kind of scary, high-pitched noise.

In April 2017, while spring painted the mountains pink – the color of thousands upon thousands of redbud trees in bloom – we headed to West Virginia and Ohio with the goal of finding more commercial potteries that were closed, abandoned, burned and/or razed.

Unlike last year's trip that was 375 solid miles of mountains, this one was more a tour of wonderment at the architecture of Rust Belt towns and their bridges and so much appreciation for the rivers. We can't begin to remember the number of times we crossed – and re-crossed – the Ohio River on myriad beautiful bridges.

(Every time we came to a toll booth on the trip, Zephyr and Tilde got so excited that they were going to get treats from the cashier because of course they've been conditioned to expect demand treats from local banks and Biscuitville. We found on both trips that when crossing the Ohio on tiny toll bridges, the friendly attendants did keep a stash of Milk-Bones for just such customers.)

We've documented the trip, hoping to give anyone else who is curious an idea of where these plants were actually located.

We visited McNicol first and for a second time because we were so close last year but not quite there. And then we went in search of another handful of potteries; some we were sure we'd find, traces of others eluded us.

The Stops:

McNICOL – Clarksburg, W.V.


WARWICK – Wheeling, W.V.


– Wellsville, Ohio

Carr China

– East Liverpool, Ohio

Mayer China

– Bedford Heights, Ohio

Shenango China

FRAUNFELTER – Zanesville, Ohio

Jackson China







Digging in West Virginia, Pennsylvania & Ohio

The Carr China site
Page 1: The grounds
Page 2: The shards
Page 3: After the first cleanup in 2009
Page 4: The final cleanup


Page 5: Mountain Hopping 2016
             Carr (again)          
Page 6: River Hopping 2017
             McNicol (again)
             Hall/Homer Laughlin
             Bedford China/                   







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Bedford China, Bailey-Walker China and Walker China Sterling China Hall China and Homer Laughlin Warwick China Fraunfelter China McNicol China