Red Wing Iron Works was founded in 1866 by brothers Benjamin and Daniel Densmore. They found a piece of land near the river in Red Wing, Minnesota to build their shop. In 1874, the building caught fire and was a complete loss. Just 60 days later, a new three-story building was up and operating in the same location.
Their business mainly included commercial work such as machinery and parts for making stoneware, capstans for barges and boats, metal castings, and a lot of machinery used in mills. Pretty good industries to focus on in Red Wing, don’t you think?
The first floor of the building was mostly taken up by the machine shop and a business office. The second floor was dedicated to the pattern shop and housed most of the woodworking machinery for the patterns. The wooden patterns already made in the pattern shop and cast in the foundry were then stored on the third level, along with the lumber used to make the patterns.
The Densmores sold the business in 1912 to the Cook family. They closed the foundry and focused on machinery repair. After 111 years in its original location and under its original name, Red Wing Iron Works closed in 1977. The Red Wing Iron Works building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. You can see the building on Levee Road behind the St. James Hotel.