Columbus Castings, formerly Buckeye Steel, was the largest single steel foundry in North America. It was right here in Columbus, on Parsons. It employed over 650 people and it may be permanently gone.
After two days and 100 rounds of bidding, 476 Bridge Street LLC, an affiliate of White Plains, New York-based Reich Brothers LLC has won Columbus Castings with a $29.7M bid to acquire the property (90+ acres, 22 of which are under a roof.)
Columbus Castings dates back to 1881. Just a quick perspective, that was closer to the signing of the Declaration of Independence than it is to present day. They were manufacturing iron couplers for the rail industry and changed their name in 1891 to Buckeye Automatic Car Coupler Company. Not super catchy, but whatever works.
They changed their name pretty frequently over the next few years, as well as moving around from various spots in Columbus. They relocated to a larger facility on Russell Street and changed their name to Buckeye Malleable Iron and Coupler Company.
They went through more name changes than a high school garage band, but that’s fine. Eventually and most interestingly, between 1908 and 1928, Samuel Prescott Bush was the President of Buckeye Steel (their newest name.)
If that name rings a bell, it’s because it is outrageously important. He was the grandfather of George H. W. Bush and the great-grandfather of George W. Bush, the 41st and 43rd Presidents of the United States of America.
After over 100 years of successful work, the company was hit with a weak freight market in 2000 and then 9/11, devastating the economy. In 2002, they filed for bankruptcy.
After this, the next thirteen years were tumultuous with various new names like, Columbus Steel Castings before settling on Columbus Castings in 2008. It only took 127 years, but they finally settled on a name.
So that brings us to this year, where Columbus Castings has been through the ringer. In May, their parent company Constellation Enterprises, filed for Chapter 11, leaving 23 workers in a plant that was built for over 800. This was after a permanent cut in April of 799 employees.
Just yesterday, it seems that the fate of the plant and the workers that depend on it were left getting the wrong side of the stick, again. As it stands, according to Reich and initial reports – the new owners will not reopen the plant and will not continue operating the facility.
Whatever happens to Columbus Castings, or whatever name it lands on in the future – it is tied with the history and foundation of Columbus as a city and as the larger history of the nation. We should be paying attention.
Written by Matthew Erman
Photo via Columbus Castings
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