Homeless business: Van Briggle Pottery

       Clay for pottery is found underground, and, figuratively speaking, that's where Van Briggle Pottery is going - at least temporarily - after its last day at the old Midland roundhouse building Sunday, Nov. 30. A Van Briggle egret vase.
Courtesy of Van Briggle Pottery
       Plans to rent space elsewhere "fell through" at the last minute, leaving the long-time Westside business which makes and sells pottery, temporarily without a home, said Bertha Stevenson, part of the family ownership.
       Ironically, Van Briggle owns the roundhouse, at 21st Street and Highway 24, but had worked out a schedule previously with the Griffis-Blessing development company that called for the building to be vacated by Dec. 1. This will allow the start of a renovation project that will turn the 121-year-old facility - originally a locomotive repair and storage facility -into a retail shopping center.
       "We're putting all our things in storage for a little while," Stevenson said. No rental possibilities seem to exist at present, but "we'll find something."
       The building they thought they had lined up was on the Westside. She and her son Craig would still like to stay on this side of town, she added. Because of reduced pottery operations in recent years, they're looking for a place smaller than the roundhouse's roughly 30,000 square feet on two floors.
       For now, "we'll continue taking orders and selling things on Ebay [Internet site]," Stevenson said. A Van Briggle lily candle-holder.
Courtesy of Van Briggle Pottery
       Customers trying to reach Van Briggle may have difficulty in the first few days of December. The company plans to set up a temporary office and keep its phone number (633-7729), but it may not be operational right away, she said. The Van Briggle Pottery website is vanbriggle.com.
       Started early in the 20th century by world-famous potter Artus Van Briggle, the business has been in the roundhouse to some extent for more than 50 years, having taken over a short time after the Midland railroad closed down in 1949.
       The planned renovation of the center will retain the building's stone fašade while upgrading the utility services and redoing the interior to allow several retail shops.

Westside Pioneer article