11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Knight Foundry

Year Listed: 1996
Location: Sutter Creek, California
Threat: Deterioration, Neglect

Significance

A center of innovation in California's Mother Lode country, the historic Knight Foundry actively served the needs of the mining and lumber industries for over 120 years and is believed to be the only remaining water-powered foundry and machine shop in the United States. Established in 1873, Knight Foundry provided the specially crafted machinery and tools that made it possible to mine and process the gold and other minerals of California's Mother Lode and remained a commercial operation until economic conditions forced its close in 1991. A local preservation group tried to reopen the foundry as a working historic site, but revenues could not cover the costs--let alone the costs of the purchase and long-term preservation of the site. At the time of listing, the site was in danger of being lost forever.