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Water devices with a dam and culvert - Zabytek.pl

Water devices with a dam and culvert

industrial architecture Starachowice

Starachowice, Ostrowiecka 107

woj. świętokrzyskie, pow. starachowicki, gm. Starachowice

An example of the new approach to industrial investment simultaneously covering the technological and architectural dimension enclosed in an urban complex


In accordance with Stanisław Staszic’s plan of 1818 of the development of the steel industry in the Old-Polish Industrial Area, projects were drawn up of the industrial development of the Kamienna River valley and the Kielce region. Earmarked for redevelopment, the facility in Michałów (earlier accommodating a hammery and a metallurgical plant which were taken over by the state from the Benedictines of Święty Krzyż in 1818) was intended as a component of “a series of ironworks along the Kamienna River", manufacturing forged and hot-rolled semi-finished products. The construction began in 1836; until 1841 a water system was finished consisting of an earth dam with a breakwater (damming up the water of the reservoir - the largest on the Kamienna River), the weir and an internal power generation system. In 1842 a puddling furnace was launched; also a housing estate for workers was built (22 houses). In 1843 the plant employed more than 60 people; the construction was supervised by Henryk Rose. The plant had a classic, or even model, layout: the axial layout of the factory complex integrated in the free, asymmetrical water intake system (differently shaped culvert and inlet on both sides of the causeway). The buildings were located on the axis determined by the intake and outlet canal, including the road system. In 1870, the facility was purchased, together with the Starachowice hub, by A. Fraenkel’s Banking House which set up a company to manage the plants. After ca. 1876, the facility was modernized by installing, among others, two steam engines and later a turbine in place of the water wheel. At the turn of the 19th century, in the time of economic crisis, the output was reduced in connection with the new development plans for the metallurgical industry. The great flood of 1903 pushed ahead the process of liquidation of the factory; the culvert and dam were seriously affected and part of the machinery was transferred to Nietulisko. The decommissioned plant and other buildings fell into disrepair and we gradually disintegrated. An archive photo of 1903 shows some visible remnants of the culvert (stilt-founded), as monumental as the one in nearby Brody; interesting was the use of a steel structure for the overflow section (still visible in the 1950s). In 1948 the complex was nationalized and ceased to be owned by the Society of Starachowice Mining Plants. In 1964, along with the construction of a new bridge over the culvert, the left abutment was removed and the left one severely damaged. The area of the former reservoir is now dry and overgrown. Also, the workers’ dwellings gradually disappear or are subject to conversion. The factory buildings are also largely gone, too, except for a south building altered for residential purposes. The post-industrial area is now owned by the municipality (since 1990), while the area of water installations (the river and the pond) are held by the state.


The area of the former industrial zone is located in the district of Michałów, now in the south-east part of Starachowice, formerly a separate settlement.  From the north, the former factory area borders on the basin of the non-existent water reservoir, separated by a road on the causeway, reinforced from the pond side by a devastated breakwater wall.  Along the road, there are old trees forming an alley: chestnut trees, wattles and a magnificent oak - a natural monument. The Kamienna River flows through the former culvert, now framed in a new, concrete structure of the bridge; the remains of the factory and workers’ quarters are located in the south-east part of the complex, behind the causeway, and the residential houses behind the main road to Ostrowiec. Originally, this was the location of a complex, internal power system with a single-canal power plant - a single-span inlet, inlet canal (stone bed) guiding water into the water wheel (turbine), and an outlet canal, first running underground and then on the open surface. There were several factory buildings: the main power plant building sided with the water plant, and two production facilities enclosed the yard, standing parallel to the layout. At the close of the yard axis, there was the entrance gate flanked by the balance and the gatehouse. The entire structure was built of quarry stone, finished with sandstone panels and blocks. Today, these buildings do not exist: the only thing left is some remnants of the walls and foundations. Located further to the east, a storied function building is now a residential facility for five families. Generally speaking, the picturesque location reveals some, almost invisible, remains of the old industrial complex, typical of the period of industrialization in the Congress Kingdom of Poland.

The site is generally accessible. It is an occupied residential building.

Compiled by Włodzimierz Pedrycz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 17.11.2014.


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Category: industrial architecture

Architecture: nieznana

Building material:  stone

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_26_BL.20852, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_26_BL.1873