Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

098-0016 Shot Tower

Shot Tower
Photo credit: Mike Pulice/DHR, 2007

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 11/05/1968

NRHP Listing Date 10/01/1969

NRHP Reference Number 69000286

Thomas Jackson erected the imposing Shot Tower on a bluff of the New River in Wythe County ca. 1807 to manufacture shot for the firearms of the frontier settlers. The enterprise was supplied with lead from the Austinville mines several miles away. Shot was produced by dripping the molten lead from the top of the tower through a hole in the floor at the bottom and then down a seventy-five-foot shaft sunk into the cliff, where it fell into a kettle of water. While falling, the drops of lead cooled and developed into shot pellets; the water served to cushion the fall. The shaft was connected to the riverbank by a tunnel through which the shot was carried and loaded on boats. The Shot Tower, one of the few remaining in the country, is now owned and exhibited by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: September 22, 2022