Shot Tower Historical State Park
the New River, the Shot Tower was built in the 1800s to make
ammunition for firearms of the early settlers. Lead from the
nearby Austinville Mines was used to manufacture lead shot for
muskets and muzzle loading shotguns. Because lead required a
150-foot drop to properly form a shot, the lead was melted in
a kettle at the top of the 75-foot tower and poured through
a sieve falling through the tower into an additional 75-foot
shaft beneath the tower into a kettle of water. The shot was
then sorted and shipped to market via an access tunnel that
ran from the bottom of the shaft to the river’s edge.
This low-tech, yet effective, version of production
ran until the end of the Civil War when changes in technology
forced the Shot Tower’s closure. Today, the tower is believed
to be the only one of this particular design in the world. For
this reason it has been designated both a National Historic
Landmark and a National Historic Engineering Landmark.Visitors
may ascend the tower and enjoy the picnic facilities.
Directions: From I-77, take exit
24 and go north on Route 52 for two miles.
Map and Driving Directions
For more information regarding Shot Tower Historical
State Park visit http://dcr.state.va.us/state_parks/shottowr.shtml