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GLEASON (October 5) — Gleason, Tennessee the “Ball Clay Capital of the World” attracted record crowds for Minerals Day at Snider Park. The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee …
GLEASON (October 5) — Gleason, Tennessee the “Ball Clay Capital of the World” attracted record crowds for Minerals Day at Snider Park. The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC) hosted the event Friday. The free festival was open to the public with an estimated 1,000 individuals in attendance. Over 750 middle and high school students were in attendance from local schools.
The event was sponsored by local clay mining operations: Gleason Clay Company, Old Hickory Clay, Imerys Ceramics/K-T Clay, and Lhoist North America/HC Spinks. Booths, canopies and tents were set up providing members of the community the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what takes place in the mining of ball clay.
Congressman David Kustoff paid a visit to Gleason as he met with the clay company executives, area government officials and supporters of Gleason. Kustoff was cordial, taking time to listen to the concerns of those present. The congressman addressed the crowd providing an update of what he is working on in Washington, D.C.
“Congressman Kustoff was well received, and we appreciated the invitation to visit. He was impressed with our county, city and mining industries. It was a good day for all and made a positive impact on a lot of young people. We hope everyone involved prospers in some way from today’s event,” state Charles Anderson, GDRC president.
Door prizes, free food and cold drinks were available throughout the day. Presentations of 3D dimensional renderings of a mine were provided. Buses transported students and guests to an actual clay mine for a close up view of what takes place at a ball clay mine.
As part of IMA-NA, Industrial Minerals Association-North America, the local clay companies asked the GDRC to host Minerals Day on a neutral site. Minerals Day originated in Europe and has grown since its inception in 2007.
Gleason’s ball clay industry began in 1926 on the farm of W.R. Crawford. Some of the richest veins of clay in the area were discovered within the 20-acre plot. The Bell Clay Company started the arduous task of removing dirt and debris. The 25-man crew worked with pond scoops and horses each day to dig the mines. Holes were dug with hand augers and dynamite placed within to expose the Gleason Ball Clay.
Now, over 90 years later, multiple clay companies call Gleason home. The expansion of the usage of ball clay drives the ever growing industry. The sign on the edge of Gleason’s city limits reads “Welcome to Gleason: Ball Clay Mining Center of the Nation.” Weakley County’s deposit of the finest quality ball clay is used for china, porcelain, pottery and many other purposes.