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View Full Version : My Memories of Kinsey Distilling Part V The Warehouses



dave ziegler
12-26-2006, 07:27
Just a few notes on how the warehouses were built. When I started working at Kinsey in the yard crew I remember how excited People who worked there were about the New Bottle House being done. It used to be they would be layed off two or three times a year but with the Bottling that had stopped and everyone was thinking that next there would be a New still on the site of the Old one, and there was allot of talk of that. Mr Cy Neiman Chairman in 1966 Liked the Property and his plan they said was to move all the Whiskey operations to Linfield some day. There was plenty of room 199 acres of land. Also I have an old broshure from 1982 that says to future customers We Plan great upgrading and expanding of our Packaging at Linfield all through the 1980's. They talked of bottling Whiskey, Antifreeze and oils there. Of course that never happened and they did do solvents and Antifreeze there as they also used up all the Whiskey they had on site. The very First year I worked there they started to fix and upgrade everything The Plan was for them to have every thing rebuilt and just do nothing but age and bottle the very Best of Whiskeys from the Linfield site while they Disitlled the stuff down at the old Continental Plant just a ways down the Road from the Big Industrial site under the Walt Whitman Bridge! If you had ever been to Phila and went over the Walt you could not Miss Publicker they had a tall stack from the still that stood right up beside the bridge on the Left going to NJ. I will never forget The first time I saw it on the very Top It said OLD Hickory Whiskey in giant neon lit letters. I remember thinking Wow and I work for them. The old Brick and cement Warehouses were built at the turn of the Century and the Floors and walls were around 2 to3 foot thick and used the Hardest cement there ever was. They had giant Pillers on each floor guessing 40 inches around or more. A giant Elevator to bring the Whiskey down and two stair wells with cement steps from top to bottom and the roof the back one being a fire esape but most times locked as when no one was getting barrels they were locked so no one could steal whiskey. The back stair has a door on each floor that would take you to a little Porch with rail that was so you could get out of the building fast in case the stairs both were smoke filled I guess they thought you could be gotten down by fire ladder as those doors did not go into the Stair well it had its own door to go down and out! When I started there one of our first jobs was sweeping from top to bottom and cleaning out all the dead birds in there, what a nightmare no mask and dust going up your nose I coughed for a week after we finished! If you look at the pictures on the web someone put of the warehouses Linfield Park you will see the little Porches on the left side of the Stair wells one on each floor. They were also restoring all the roofs on the Big warehouses at that time and that was amazing the roofs had drain pipes and were flat with layers of Stone which was sent up by a type of elevator like you used for grain a belt one tons and tons of stone and tar put on in the layers like a fort. When I looked around in one of them I was amazed to find no leaks even though a tree had started growing on the roof! They spent the best part of summer 1966 doing everyone of the warehouses roofs over. Then they fixed the roofs on the Old built late 1800's Warehouses by the River Jake Kinsey had built. they were all wood and Brick and the floors in them were wood and the racks in them were wood and it was said the very best Rye and Bourbons were aged in them, they were cold and very damp. There is a picture on that site of one of them looking at it if you look close you can see the wood floors are gone and it is just open straight down. The elevators in those building would sometimes decide to just go striaght down and hit bottom floor with a load of barrels in them. It was quite something when that happened. But they used them all through the time I worked there. the front one was beside the Old bottle house Jake Kinsey built and there was a set of Steel rails to roll barrels from that one right into the bottel house and the rails are still there. In the Late 1960's through the time I worked there they started the old bottel house up again for Liquors and that was the time I got to see the Machine coating bottels with sugar before the Liquors went in. It was a small wood and Brick building which if you did not work there you would never know what it had been used for. conected right behind it is the old Kinsey Rye Building and to this day still bright and readable on the stairs that go to nothing now it says Kinsey Rye in Black Ink! The tanks are long gone and all that is left is the stone Barn walls and leaking roof and the well preserved Set of stairs which I have a picture of in my work office. Behind these buildings the still used to stand and the control house. Working on the yard gang at that time one of my jobs was to sweep all the floors on the control room and Still tank room every week and keep them spotless! Our time clock was on the bottom floor and the floors above had the old time paper disc Graphs Timkin I think with the long arm with a ink pen on the end to mark how the still and other machines were doing as far as operating right and on spec! There were still new paper disc in the gragh clocks as if when they shut the still down they would be back soon to restart it. The tanks as I said in one of my other stories were filled with water as they were wooden Mash tanks with round steel bar bands they did that after they shut the still down years before to preserve the tanks. People that worked there as I had said before filled the tanks with Carp and Cat fish and others and feed them during the day and when we waited to clock out we would throw bread in to them they were the biggest Carp and Cat fish I ever saw. We were told to keep all the abandon buildings clean as some day the still would once again run at Kinsey! The repair shops were old barn like buildings and there is even a old round silo building that was used as a building then there was a old Maintance man named Charlie that kept what was around a 1930's frame with the old motor still running and a flat bed on the back for hauling pumps and pipes and stuff it had old high wheels and in the early Morning he would come roaring out the back of the old abandon Building to go down through the Plant. There was a 1947 Ford Pickup we used in the Yard gang and the Traffic director Bonda Bergy drove a 1952 Py;mouth Cranbook 2 door. All the trucks for hauling barrels were the 1941/46 Ford flathead heavy duty trucks with the little flip switch on the steering to start them and not one of them had a key any more you just flipped the switch and pushed the button too start them and flipped the switch to stop them. The newest truck they had when I left there was a 1950 Dodge flat truck and it was used mostly to give rides to workers from warehouse to warehouse as it had sides. It was 199 acres and it was sometimes a very long walk to go from one dumping site to the next depending on what type of Whiskey you were to dump and which bulding you were going to use the trough in. There were miles of Asbestos pipes bringing a little not much heat to the warehouses and the company gave us green coveralls and WWII Sub Zero green Army Coats to wear in the winter. By the time the heat got to the back warehouses just before the old steer Pens most of the heat was long gone. Next time I will talk about the boilers and getting the coal to the boilers. Oh also the building that became the bottling house was at one time the biggest whiskey storage warehouse ever built in the early years of Kinsey and it to has walls 2 to 3 feet thick and is one story and very Long the buildings were considered Civil defense buildings in case of atomic attack here. I have a old book given to my Dad from Publicker when he worked there telling you what to do in case of atomic attack have in on my office desk lots of people ask me what is that!
Dave Z