The Port Republic Foundry was one of the leading industries of the town. Prior to the ﬂood of 1870, a Mr. Holbrook operated a foundry shop where the notched sickle for the original McCormick Reaper was made. Although the original shop washed away in the ﬂood, it was rebuilt and later purchased by William M. Groah and George W. Cash in 1888. In 1900 Mr. Groah purchased the interest owned by Mr. Cash. The Foundry was engaged in casting pots, kettles, stoves, wagon springs, window weights, door stops, wheel hubs, plow points and their associated parts. Iron cooking utensils from the foundry are still in use in the area today. They do not have an identifying mark but are distinguished by the rim on the bottom of each pan which is said to prevent cracking. The Foundry provided a ready market for scrap iron which was recycled in a most efficient way using coke as the smelting fuel, which did not pollute the air.
A horizontal water wheel powered by a mill race was installed in 1903 to increase efficiency. The waterpower was used to drive the huge blower that supplied air to the cupola. The Foundry supplied water power to the town for electricity when the Port Republic Electric Light Company was organized 1916. The Foundry's water power was used to drive the electrical machinery until the electric company transferred its charter and machinery in 1926. The Foundry ceased operations in 1945 upon the death of William Groah.
(top) Horses and wagon loaded with plow points made at the William M. Groah Foundry in the background.
(bottom) Left to Right: Bob Meyerhoffer, William Groah, Harvey Scott, Luther Sipe
This plaque erected by: The descendants of William & Lucy Viola Connell Groah