Community Issues

Belko (Franklinville Mill)

Past History

A mill operated here in the early 19th century (and likely before) and the main structure was destroyed by fire in 1881. The major part of the most recent building was constructed after that fire and added onto over the years. Originally, cotton canvas ("duck") was made here. Later, it was owned by the Oak Tire and Rubber Company, In 1954, Belko Corporation purchased the property and supposedly made such things as lacrosse balls and turkey baster bulbs. Axil Corporation bought the property in 2001 and closed it shortly after that.

In 2006, three buildings were placed on the County's Landmarks list, which provided a measure of protection from demolition and required the owner to maintain the buildings in order to prevent "demolition by neglect". There had been a half dozen fires at the site which, luckily, the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company was able to contain. There was a fear that a large fire at the mill would destroy several nearby houses, thus, there was a push to resolve this problem.

At the September 13, 2012 meeting of the Landmarks Commission, permission was given to demolish the auxilary brick building, except for the boiler house. At the January 10, 2013 meeting, permission was granted to demolish the boiler house, with timbers donated to either the Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation or the Friends of Jerusalem Mill. The buildings are now gone, and the Kingville area has lost another important link with its past.


Due to the presence of oil in the ground, Axil Corporation employed Brownfields Associates, Inc to "decommission" the site, that is, to properly remove contaminants. A report was provided to community members in September 2011.

The following are links to several lengthy reports for those who want all the details:

Lost Future

While a concerted effort with community support might have led to a profitable use for this building, and saved it, a steadfast opposition to even consider "condos" or a similar use prevented any discussion of this approach. A half dozen very high-end condos was probably the only use that would have been economically feasible and would have saved the historic building, and would surely have increased the value of the existing houses in the area. Instead, the area has lost another significant historic asset.

During CZMP 2016 the property was changed to RC7, further hindering any chance of using it for any sort of reasonable residential development that could enhance the whole area.

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Updated 1 Oct 2016 by MAP