Saturday, August 01, 2015

Pic(k) of the Week: Disrepair at historic warehouse of A. Smith Bowman Distillery.

Disrepair at historic A. Smith Bowman Distillery (01)

Dilapidated and overrun with weeds. The original warehouse of the A. Smith Bowman Distillery stands abandoned today in Reston, Virginia.

In February 1988, the A. Smith Bowman Distillery moved its operations from here, where it had operated since 1934, to Spotsylvania County, near Fredericksburg, Virginia, into a large, former cellophane plant, where operations continue today.

A decade later, in 1999, the National Park Service listed the original warehouse on the National Register of Historic Places.
The original building, in what is now Reston, Virginia, was constructed circa 1892 under the guidance of Dr. C.A. Max Wiehle, a physician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who tried to establish a town and farming community known as Wiehle on 3,228 acres of land he purchased in 1882. The first floor served as the Wiehle town hall, and the second floor housed the Wiehle Methodist Episcopal church.

Abram Smith Bowman bought the building in 1927 as part of a 4,000-acre parcel called Sunset Hills. Bowman opened his eponymous distillery in 1934 on the day after Prohibition was repealed, and the building originally served as the warehouse of the distillery. The first bourbon produced by the distillery was shipped from the warehouse in 1937. Between 1934 and some point in the 1950s, Bowman's was the only legal whiskey distillery in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The primary brands were Virginia Gentleman and Fairfax County bourbon whiskeys.
Wikipedia (accessed 26 July 2015).

Photo taken 12 April 2015.

  • The warehouse stands on the east side of Old Reston Avenue, between Sycamore Drive Avenue and Sunset Hills Road. Documents list 1875 Old Reston Avenue as the address, but the address "1830" is painted on a mailbox in front of the building.
  • More photos of the historic building: here.
  • Photos from a 2015 tour of the modern facility in Fredericksburg, Virginia: here.

  • For more from YFGF:

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