Jackson Ferry Shot Tower

W of jct. of Rte. 608 and U.S. 52, Max Meadows, Virginia

One of a few surviving shot towers, used for making spherical lead shot


Photo taken by Jim Allen, Apr 2012


Street View 


"This facility was typical of others in the country that made small spherical lead shot for the fowling pieces of frontier settlers. Smelted lead from the nearby Austinville mines was melted at the top of the tower and poured through a sizing sieve to produce small droplets. Surface tension caused the molted lead to assume a spherical shape that solidified during its 150-foot fall. The shot was then collected in a water-filled kettle at the bottom of the shaft. The "drop process" was patented in England in 1769 by William Watts, a craftsman of Bristol, England. He profited handsomely from its prevalent use. The tower was built by Thomas Jackson, an English immigrant, in 1807. The tower and grounds were restored through the efforts of local organizations, individuals, and the Commonwealth of Virginia."

~American Society of Mechanical Engineers Statement of Significance

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 1, 1969
Reference number
NR name
Shot Tower
Areas of significance
Industry; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Manufacturing facility
Current function
Period of significance
Significant year
ca. 1807

Update Log 

  • August 4, 2012: New Street View added by Andrew Wood
  • August 1, 2012: New photos from Jim Allen
  • July 15, 2011: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added Tag: National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark