Colgate-Palmolive Factory --- Clarksville IN
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 38° 16.477 W 085° 45.175
16S E 609083 N 4237019
An iconic and historic former factory in Clarksville IN, once a state prison, now being renovated into a hotel.
Waymark Code: WM10ZNH
Location: Indiana, United States
Date Posted: 07/18/2019
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member kbarhow
Views: 2

The iconic Colgate-Palmolive factory in Clarksville IN is famous for its landmark clock (installed in 1924) that can be seen for miles around and for its history as the first Indiana State Prison and its shameful eugenics legacy.

The building was originally built in 1847 to house inmates in the Indiana State Prison. In the late 1890s a horrific program to sterilize male inmates to curb their aggressive behaviours in prison morphed into a larger Eugenics mission to "prevent procreating of confirmed criminals, idiots, imbeciles, and rapists" after IN passed a Eugenics law in 1907. The last IN prison inmates were sterilized under this law in 1974. The law has been repealed. See: (visit link)

After 1919 fire convinced state officials they needed to build a new prison elsewhere, in 1923 state officials sold the old prison building to the Colgate-Palmolive Company. The prison was converted with inmate labor into a modern (for the time) manufacturing plant.

This former factory made Colgate toothpaste and Palmolive soap products, common products in American households, for the next 82 years.

The plant closed in 2007, but in 2019 the long-dormant factory is being renovated into a hotel.

From Wikipedia: (visit link)

"The Colgate Clock, located at a former Colgate-Palmolive factory in Clarksville, Indiana, is one of the largest clocks in the world. It has a diameter of 40 feet (12.19 meter). It was first illuminated in Clarksville on November 17, 1924. It is located directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.

The clock is officially recognized as the second largest timepiece in the world, with Clarksville residents able to read the time from over a mile away


Before the factory was bought by Colgate, it served as the Indiana Reformatory South. It opened in 1847, replacing the state prison which had opened in Jeffersonville in 1821. In 1919 a fire broke out in the prison, causing the need to spend much money to restore it to full operating procedure. Instead, the state of Indiana decided to relocate the prison to Pendleton, Indiana. Colgate happened to be looking for a Midwestern location following the post-World War I boom, and heard of the prison's availability. The state sold the building to Colgate in 1923. Prisoners, in fact, helped with the conversion from prison to soap-making plant, and even stayed in cells at the location while the conversion took place. . . .


Endangered status

In 2006 the factory was placed on Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana's 10 Most Endangered Landmarks list. Colgate-Palmolive planned to close it in 2008, moving its operations to Tennessee and Mexico, and the site is in a choice area for developers, as it is just across the river from Louisville, with easy access to I-65. Colgate has not made any plans for the preservation of the clock. On February 13, 2007, the factory was again on the endangered list. Colgate refused an offer to put the factory on the National Register of Historic Places, which would mean funds from the Indiana Department of Transportation due to the Ohio River Bridges Project."
Product manufactured here: Colgate Toothpaste and Palmolive soaps

1410 S Clark Blvd
Clarksville, IN

Web Page: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
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