Each day, Clio connects thousands of people to nearby culture and history. Our website and mobile app are free for everyone and designed to make it easy to discover cultural and historical sites throughout the United States. You can search for nearby sites, take a walking tour, create your own itinerary, or simply go for a walk or drive and let Clio show you nearby sites using our mobile app. Clio is non-profit and free for everyone thanks to the support of people like you. Donations are tax- deductible! Click here to learn more!
A.F. Thomson Manufacturing/Corbin Factory
The factory was built for the A.F. Thompson
Manufacturing Company, and was one of two factory locations established by A.F.
Thompson. The factory allowed for the mass production of cast-iron and ceramic stove heaters. A.F. Thompson donated property that was located next to the
facility to the city of Huntington so that a public pool could be created; this
pool was one of three small community pools that were created during the 1950s
The company was eventually passed down to Thompson’s son, Cecil, who also
served as one of Huntington’s mayors. A.F. Thompson manufacturing closed for
business at this location in the 1960s.
Corbin Ltd was a garment manufacturing company who inhabited the building after A.F. Thompson, and was reportedly the largest employer in the area. Nathan Corbin and his sons originally founded a clothing manufacturing company in Brooklyn, NY in the late 1940s, and decided to move their business to Huntington, WV in 1957. The Corbin outlet store was first located at 416 10th Street, and was later moved to the Radisson Hotel. The factory allowed Corbin to mass produce men’s flat front trousers as opposed to pleated pants of the past. The company gained popularity and added suits and sports coats to be sold by top retailers nationwide. Due to rising production costs, Corbin Ltd switched from being a manufacturer to a wholesaler of menswear in 2003. In the same year, the Individualized Apparel Group bought out Corbin Ltd, and the Huntington factory was left behind.
After sitting vacant for over ten years, the community decided to destroy the factory that employed much of the Tri-State area. The plan was to demolish the building to make room for a new industry that could provide jobs to the local community, however demolition costs were too high. The Wayne County Economic Development Authority hired the Coalfield Development Corporation to salvage materials from the factory to lessen demolition costs. The Coalfield Development Corporation saw potential in the factory’s strong foundation and support system, and decided to purchase the factory for $110,000. The Coalfield Development Corporation is a nonprofit that serves as a workforce training and life skills program for high school graduates from low-income areas of Wayne County.
“I think this building in many ways symbolizes the challenges Huntington has had, this was a building that employed hundreds of people, globalization happened and it closed down and we lost a lot of our good jobs, but now it’s going to symbolize a new Huntington which is more creative and entrepreneurial, building on what’s great about the past, but shaping a more sustainable future,” – Brandon Dennison, executive director of the Coalfield Development Corporation1
The Coalfield Development Corporation was awarded a grant from Brooklyn, N.Y.-based ArtPlace America for $350,000, and a $150,000 loan from Charleston-based Community Works. The plans to restore and re-purpose the factory will unfold in a two-phase process. The factory is being gutted and repaired to hold a warehouse that will showcase local artisans’ work, and also residential units and a shared work space. Recent plans have been made to convert a section of the factory into a museum dedicated to the laborers from Corbin Ltd.
Sources1. Davis, Clark. Can This Huntington Warehouse Become a Magnet for Artists?. WV Public Broadcasting. August 10, 2014. Accessed December 01, 2016. http://wvpublic.org/post/can-huntington-warehouse-become-magnet-artists.
2. Casto, James E.. Lost Huntington: Corbin Ltd. store. Herald Dispatch. May 30, 2015. Accessed December 01, 2016. http://www.herald-dispatch.com/special/lost_huntington/lost-huntington-corbin-ltd-store/article_03ab....
3. Casto, James E.. Old Huntington, WV plant now creates new jobs. The State Journal. August 04, 2016. Accessed December 01, 2016. http://www.statejournal.com/story/32684150/old-huntington-wv-plant-now-creates-new-jobs.
4. Lost Huntington: The Olympic Pool. Herald Dispatch. August 04, 2014. Accessed December 01, 2016. http://www.herald-dispatch.com/special/lost_huntington/lost-huntington-the-olympic-pool/article_17b5....
5. Harold, Zack. Group hopes to give former factory new life as arts hub. Charleston Gazette Mail. December 04, 2014. Accessed December 01, 2016. http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20141204/DM07/141209721/1282.
6. CORBIN PROJECT RECEIVES A 2014 ARTPLACE AMERICA GRANT. Coalfield Development Corporation. July 29, 2014. Accessed December 01, 2016. http://www.coalfield-development.org/news/view/corbin-project-receives-a-2014-artplace-america-grant.
7. New Use for Former Corbin Building in Huntington. WSAZ. August 01, 2014. Accessed December 01, 2016. http://www.wsaz.com/home/headlines/New-Use-for-Former-Corbin-Building-in-Huntington-269544811.html.
8. Roberts, Brandon. Old factory gets new life. Herald Dispatch. March 09, 2015. Accessed December 01, 2016. http://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/old-factory-gets-new-life/article_51b4b751-36cf-50cc-ace8-6aec46....
9. West Edge. Accessed December 01, 2016.
10. Pace, Fred. Historians looking to interview former Corbin factory workers. Herald Dispatch. November 30, 2016. Accessed December 01, 2016. http://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/historians-looking-to-interview-former-corbin-factory-workers/article_a1043053-fcf7-584a-b29e-1a523afc1cb5.html.
Huntington, WV 25704
This entry has been viewed 448 times within the past year