KING PLOW Arts Center

National Register listed : 1996
King Plow Development News

Credits

Exposition Cotton Mills Ashby Street Trolley Barn Upchurch Packing House Miller Union Stockyards

Location: 887 West Marietta Street NW
Original Builders: Walker-Sims, mostly Clyde Lanier King
Years of original construction: 1890, mostly 1936-1938
Years of Renovation:1991-1995
(See THE WORK and National Register Nomination below)
Renovation Developer: King Shaw and Family
Renovation Architect: Smith-Dalia Architects
Renovation Awards:

AIA Urban Design Commission- Award of Excellence For Architecture

AIA Georgia-Award For Excellence in Architecture

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation -Award

Historic Functions: INDUSTRY:manufacturing facility
Current Functions: COMMERCE:small business DOMESTIC: multiple dwelling CULTURE: museum

For More Information call 404-885-9933
For Event Staging:
One Stop Productions/The View at King Plow
404-541-9040 /404-541-9060
404-541-9080 fax
955 W. Marietta St. N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30318

The Concept: King Plow has been transformed from an antiquated plow factory into an arts community and center for commercial, performing and visual arts. In 1990, the owners designed a plan to build affordable Live/work studios, commercial artist spaces, art galleries, areas designed for the performing arts, and a restaurant within the buildings while preserving their historic and architectural significance. The project started with eleven different buildings. Several of the buildings were built at different periods of time throughout the Plow Company's existence. The oldest, as well as the only two-story building, was built circa 1890. Most of other buildings were built between 1936-38. Because of the different types of architecture involved the renovation of the building created spaces that are truly unique.

The Reality: The King Plow Arts Center has more than sixty-five tenants representing fine, commercial and performing arts. Tenants representing six fine art areas include: photographers, sculptors, writers, painters, metal smiths and printmakers. The commercial arts are represented by a floral sculptor, architectural firms, a modeling agency, graphic design firms, a film production company advertising agencies, a set designer, multi-media designers, art galleries, and several product and fashion photographers. Representing performing arts are a theater company, a dance school and circus arts school Also located in the center is the City of Atlanta's Clearinghouse.

King Plow Art Center is pleased to serve as a model of adaptive reuse of historic structures and a catalyst for the proposed Marietta Street Arts Corridor. King Plow is the largest center of its kind in the city and has become a significant part of Atlanta's Arts community.

A Brief History
The Business :The King Plow Arts Center was once the home of the King Plow Company which manufactured equipment from 1902 to 1986. In 1902, Clyde Lanier King* and two partners bought the Walker-Sims Plow Company which was operating in several of the older buildings still on site. The company was reorganized and called the Atlanta Agricultural Works. In 1906 the name was changed to the Atlanta Plow Company. In 1928, Towers and Sullivan Manufacturing Company of Rome Georgia was purchased by the Atlanta Plow Company. The two companies were merged five years later and the men and machinery of the T & S were moved to Atlanta. Also at that time the name was changed to reflect Mr. Kings purchase of his partners shares, hence the King Plow Company. In 1934, the firm of E. N. Camp and son of Moreland, GA was purchased and moved to Atlanta. Combining all these operations in Atlanta necessitated the 1936-38 expansion of the factory to its present size of 165,000 square feet (4 acres under roof). During its prime, the factory employed over 300 people and shipped equipment throughout the United States, Mexico and South America. Unfortunately sales declined until the farm crisis of the 1980's put the King Plow Company out of business. It closed its doors in 1986.

* Mention is made of Clyde Lanier King in Volume III (1940-1970) by Harold M. Martin on page 64 of Atlanta and Environs co-written by wonderful Atlantan Historian Franklin Garrett (b.1906-d..2000): …Friends and associates mourned the death of Clyde Lanier King, 66, member of a prominent southern family and board chairman of the King Plow Company which he purchased in 1901 when it was the Atlanta Plow Company. For many years it was a leading manufacturer of farm implements, with a heavy export business to South America. King was a Presbyterian, a Rotarian, a member of Capital City Club, and a founder of Druid Hills Golf Club.

The Buildings:  The factory was comprised of primarily two types of buildings erected around a central rail(road) siding. The first type was built circa 1900 and is typically characterized by arched windows and doorways along with massive oak and heart pine timbers. The second type was built during an extensive expansion that took place between 1936-38. Steel beams, large rectangular windows, skylights and clerestories characterize these structures. All totaled, there are eleven adjoining buildings comprising approximately 165,000 square feet. It is exactly these characteristics -expansive open spaces with high ceilings, large windows utilizing the natural light, heavy steel beams reflecting an industrial age long gone by, oak and pine timbers worn by almost a century of use and a central rail spur-now a landscaped courtyard-that makes King Plow factory an interesting place to live, work, and create art. Certainly King Plows heritage-its connection with the past, richly enhances the environment. Most of all, however, it is the wonderful architecture that facilitates the contemporary usefulness and acceptance of the completed lofts, live/work studios, commercial arts spaces and galleries.

The Work : Re-adaptive Use Design by Smith-Dalia Architects
The redevelopment of the 165,000 square foot King Plow Factory into a live/work commercial and studio space has taken 5 years to complete. During this time there have been five distinct phases of development.
The first phase included redevelopment of the raw materials building, the foundry and the office cottage, some 36,000 square feet, into 8 live/work and commercial studios. (Completed-Summer 1991).
The second phase included redevelopment of the plant superintendent's office, the welding areas and the loading dock, some 17,000 square feet, into 9 live/work studios. (Completed-Summer 1992)
The third phase included all of the site work, storm sewers, side walks, parking lots and lights, main and secondary entrances, steps, hand rails, mail house, landscaping, and installation of the interior court yard. (Phased 1993-1995)
The fourth phase included the redevelopment of the only two story building in the factory-the assembly building, the main entry building-some 63,000 square feet-into a combination of twenty-eight residential and commercial studios, artists lofts, gallery spaces, the Frances Shaw Gallery and Special Event Space, and a 200 seat theater for Actors Express. (Completed Winter 1993-94)
The fifth phase redeveloped the wood shop, varnish room, and assembly area-some 47,000 square feet into a combination of twenty-three residential and commercial studios, artist lofts, dance school and restaurant. ( Completed-Winter 1994-95)

United States Department of the Interior National Park Service National Register of Historic Places Inventory

-Nomination Form

Historic Functions: INDUSTRY/manufacturing facility
Current Functions: DOMESTIC/multiple dwelling RECREATION AND CULTURE/museum; theater

Section 7 : Description
Architectural Classification: OTHER: functional

Materials:
foundation -brick
walls-brick
roof -composite
other- terra -cotta

Description of present and historic physical appearance:
Located adjacent to the railroad tracks in an industrial section of northwest Atlanta, the King Plow Company complex consists of nine interconnecting historic industrial structures and two freestanding buildings; a c.1940s historic Cottage (Building 13) and a 1968 noncontributing prefabricated steel structure (Building 1). Buildings 3-7 were constructed c.1902. Buildings 2, and 9-11 were constructed in c.1936. Buildings 8 and 12 were recently demolished.

Exterior features include brick masonry construction, load-bearing walls, multi-pane industrial sash windows, clerestory windows, segmentally arched window and door openings, parapet walls, terracotta and masonry copings, chimneys, and painted facade signs. On the interior, heavy timber post-and-beam supports, steel post-and-truss construction, wood and concrete floors, sliding metal doors, skylights, a washroom, foundry machinery, a c.1940s sprinkler system, a c.1936 overhead rail system (to carry heavy equipment around the complex), Toledo scales, and some light fixtures remain. A rail spur and metal drawbridge are located between buildings 9 and 6, and 7. A boiler room is located on the west side of Building 11. The surrounding area is industrial.

Through a certified rehabilitation of the property, the complex has now been converted into studio apartments, gallery space, and a visual and performing arts center, and is the largest arts complex of its kind in Atlanta. During the rehabilitation, masonry walls, concrete floors, posts, beams, steel columns and truss systems, fire doors, mechanical systems, and clerestories were retained.

Listings of Buildings in King Plow Company Complex

1. Steel Storage (1968) - A noncontributing, freestanding building constructed outside the period of significance.

2. Foundry (1936) - Connected to building 3, this is a steel, post-and-truss construction building with large steel-frame, factory sash windows, and clerestory. Used as commercial and residential space.

3. Metal Stamping (1902) - Connected to buildings 2, 4, and 9, it has brick masonry, load-bearing walls with parapet roof. Used now for performing arts and exhibition space.

4. Machine Shop (1902) - Connected to buildings 3 and 5, it has brick masonry, load-bearing walls, clerestory, and open interior space. Used now for exhibition space.

5. Grinding Room (1902) - Connected to buildings 3, 4, and 6, it has a parapet roof, load-bearing masonry walls, heavy timber post-and-beam supports, and segmentally arched windows. Used now for commercial and residential space.

6. Paint and Assembly (1902) - Connected to buildings 5 and 7, it has a flat roof, load-bearing masonry walls, heavy timber post-and-beam supports, and segmentally arched windows. Used now for commercial and residential space.

7. Storage (1902) - Connected to building 6, it has a flat roof, load-bearing masonry walls, heavy timber post-and-beam supports, and segmentally arched windows. Used now for commercial and residential space.

8. Storage (1902) - Demolished to make room for fire department turnaround.

9. Welding and Assembly (1936) - Connected to buildings 3 and 10, it is a steel, post-and-truss construction building with large steel-frame, factory sash windows. Used as commercial and residential space.

10. Varnish and Handle Room (1936) - Connected to buildings 9 and 11, it is a steel, post-and-truss construction building with large steel-frame, factory sash windows, and clerestory. Used as commercial and residential space.

11. Woodshop (1936) - Connected to building 10, it is a steel, post-and-truss construction building with large steel- frame, factory sash windows. Used as commercial and space.

12. Bathrooms (c.1930's) - Demolished.

13. Cottage - Main Office (c. 1940) - Freestanding, brick, hipped- roof cottage with brick chimney, small front entryway portico with paired rectangular columns, central wood front door with sidelights and transom, and 6/1 double-hung windows. Used now as an office for the arts center.

Section 8 : Significance of property, justification of criteria, criteria considerations, and areas and periods of significance noted above: Narrative statement of significance (areas of significance)

For over eighty years from 1901 to 1986, the King Plow Company was one of the leading manufacturers of farming implements in the South, shipping to over 38 states and many other countries. This complex of historic industrial buildings was the company's principal manufacturing plant.

In terms of industry, the property is significant as an important example of 20th-century industrial activity in Atlanta. For over eighty years from 1901 to 1986, the King Plow Company was one of the leading manufacturers of farming implements in the South, shipping to over 38 states and many other countries. The King Plow Company began when Clyde L. King, Sr., purchased the Walker-Sims Plow Company in 1901. In 1903, King changed the name to the Atlanta Agricultural Works, and the facilities were most likely moved at this time from the 600 block of Marietta to this site which was constructed in 1902. In 1916, the name was changed to the Atlanta Plow Company, and in 1928 it merged with the Towers and Sullivan Manufacturing Company out of Rome, Georgia. In 1933, the name was again changed to the King Plow Company. In 1932, Clyde King, Jr., took over as president and after his death in 1961 his wife Frances Poole King Garlington became the president and ran the company. The company closed in 1986. In March 1987, the entire factory was sold to Century Hardware, Inc., which had been renting space in the factory. They defaulted on their loan in March 1989, and King Shaw, great-grandson of Clyde King, Sr., acquired the property. The property has remained in the King family with the current owners being the great-grandchildren of Clyde King, Sr.

The King Plow Company Complex is significant in architecture as an unsurpassed and intact example of utilitarian industrial designs used for manufacturing facilities in the 20th century. The 1902 buildings represent the more traditional turn-of-the-century construction methods of masonry buildings with heavy timber post-and-beam supports and the later 1936 buildings represent the more modern middle-20th century methods with the steel post-and-truss structural system. The group of buildings is architecturally significant as it clearly exhibits in a single complex the shift from wood and masonry to steel structural technology, as well as a shift from load-bearing wall to curtain wall construction and from segmentally arched windows to larger steel-framed, factory-sash windows, all made possible by new technology. Some of the other significant architectural features include the clerestory windows, terra-cotta and masonry copings, chimneys, painted facade signs, wood and concrete floors, a c.1940s sprinkler system, and the c.1936 overhead rail system.

( The following line of thought was used by the author of this site in the opening page) :

In Atlanta, this type of historic complex, although once common, is now increasingly rare due to demolition for new development or destruction by fire, neglect, etc. The complex is also significant as a remnant of a nearly defunct industrial and distribution corridor along a major railroad which was the backbone of commerce in Atlanta from before the Civil War until the completion of the interstate highway system. The buildings flanking this rail corridor represent an era of development and property in Atlanta that is essential to the city's identity. The surviving buildings facing Marietta Street running northwest from downtown to well beyond Howell Mill Avenue remain as the most visible example of the linear industrial topography which developed along the rail lines leading into Atlanta.

For twenty years or more the Marietta Street corridor has been in an era of rapid decline. As the buildings in the area have become obsolete for their original uses, the great majority of the properties have been either abandoned or gone into various states of despair or have been demolished.

Over the past few years several large certified rehabilitation projects, Hastings' Seed Company, the Carriage Works and the King Plow Arts Center, as well as a few smaller ventures have signaled the beginnings of the adaptive reuse of the area. Never again will these buildings function as originally constructed with their operation integrally intertwined with the railroads and transportation industry. Yet the opportunity is quite evident, for possibly the final time in Atlanta, to rejuvenate the entire district bound together not only by the building topography, but the single most historically defining manmade feature in Atlanta, the railroad. The King Plow Factory represents the re-emergence of the Marietta Street Corridor as a historic area of Atlanta supporting a broad range of urban uses.

National Register Criteria

The King Plow Company complex is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A and C for its significance in the industrial history of Georgia and as a good and intact example of utilitarian industrial designs used for manufacturing facilities in the 20th century.

Period of significance (justification)

The earliest buildings in the King Plow Company complex were constructed in 1902 and 1946 represents the fifty-year mark of historical significance for properties in continued use.

Contributing/Noncontributing Resources (explanation, if necessary)

The contributing buildings were built within the period of significance and retain their historic integrity. The noncontributing building was built in c.1968, outside the period of significance.

Historical Narrative

The King Plow Company originally began as Clyde L. King, Sr., purchased the Walker-Sims Plow Company in 1901. At this time, the operations were located in the 600 block of Marietta Street. In 1903, King changed the name to the Atlanta Agricultural Works, and the facilities were most likely moved at this time to this present location which was constructed in 1902.

In 1916, the name was changed to the Atlanta Plow Company, and in 1928 it merged with Towers and Sullivan Manufacturing Company out of Rome, Georgia. In 1933, the name was again changed--this time to the King Plow Company. Under his direction, King's company developed into one of the leading manufacturers of farming implements in the South with an extensive export trade, particularly to South America, and the manufacturing plant was enlarged correspondingly.

Clyde King, Sr., obtained patents on the Kingman cotton planter, H.D. Terrell scrape, a roof sweep, and similar machines. While developing his highly successful business, King also found time to contribute to several civic and social organizations of Atlanta, including the Capital City Club, the Democratic Party, the Rotary Club, and Central Presbyterian Church. In 1932, Clyde King, Sr., retired and his son, Clyde King, Jr., took over as president.

During the years, Clyde King, Jr., served as president, the company continued to grow in reputation and earnings. Like his father, King Jr., was very active in the civic and social life of Atlanta, including memberships in the Masons, the Capital City Club, and many other organizations.

In 1961, following the death of Clyde King, Jr., his wife Frances Poole King Garlington became president and ran the company. In addition to running the family company, Frances King Garlington was an accomplished and well-known sportswoman. Named to the Georgia Athletic Hall of Fame for the years 1900 to 1950, Mrs. King held seventeen world records in trapshooting and was chosen female athlete of the year by the Atlanta Journal on three occasions. As a result of her shooting abilities, Mrs. King was inducted in the Trapshooting Hall of Fame, sharing this honor with only two other women including Annie Oakley. Frances Poole King Garlington was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.

Under Mrs. King's leadership, the factory remained in the King Family, as it does today. The company closed in 1986. In the years following the closing of the company, as unsolicited inquiries about "loft space" at King Plow became more frequent, King Shaw, the great grandson of Clyde King, Sr., realized an opportunity to revitalize his family's buildings. In 1990, Mr. Shaw hired an architecture firm to create a redevelopment plan for the historic structures which would keep intact the existing buildings and their original character.

The plan which evolved focused on creating an arts related complex encompassing residences, studios, galleries, commercial space, performance space, and exhibition areas. In 1993, the King Plow Arts Center was open and in 1995 the rehabilitation work received its final certification from the National Park Service. Today, the King Plow Arts Center is a thriving community of loft housing, gallery space, studios, and exhibitions halls. As a result of the rehabilitation work, the King Plow Art Center has been the recipient of design awards from the Atlanta Urban Design Commission and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

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