Tuesday-Friday -- 1-hour tour begins at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Other tour times available by appointment. Closed for all holidays.
$10.00 per person / Group rates available.
Museum Address: 1808 4th Street, Meridian, MS 39301
Museum Office Phone: 601-693-9905
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 5031, Meridian, MS 39302-5031
MISSISSIPPI INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE MUSEUM
The Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum, Inc., a non-profit corporation founded in October 2002, has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). This organization owns the Soulé Steam Feed Works historic site. A 9-member board of directors governs the preservation and educational activities of the museum.
The factory (now museum) retains much of its original furnishings and equipment (about 80%). The Soule’ company appears to have been trapped in time – 1920 to 1945. The belt-driven machine shop has the longest operating line drive shaft (106’) in the United States. This shaft is turned by an antique three-phase electric motor and powers belt-driven machines that date back to the early 1900s.
The Soulé family operated Soulé Steam Feed Works for 110 years under founder George W. Soulé and his descendants. Mr. Soulé was a noted inventor in his day and held at least 25 U.S. patents. Most of his patents were incorporated into products that fulfilled the needs of the small to medium-sized sawmills that boomed from 1885-1930 in the South
The museum displays the company’s most noted products that were sold worldwide. Soule’ produced about 2,300 Rotary Steam Engines and 4,301 Spee-d-Twin Steam Engines. The last steam engine produced at the factory is displayed and operated in the steam demonstration room. A rare Soulé Rotary Steam Engine from the early 1900s is displayed and operated in steam engine demonstration room.
In 2005, preliminary Historic American Engineering Survey site documentation was started through a Summer Work Program Grant from the Riley Foundation. An extensive historical documentation and research project completed that same year revealed that Soulé Steam Feed Works was one of only five remaining late 19th/early 20th century foundry/machine shop/factories with original workings in the United States. This fact was quite a surprise considering that there were more than 1,000 such businesses prior to World War II. Soule’ Steam Works was truly a rare survivor of America’s industrial past. Since 2005, it has been discovered that two of these remaining sites have lost much of their original features. The Watts-Campbell Company factory site has lost its foundry and pattern shop. The roof of the machine shop and assembly area was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. The Appomattox Iron Works in Petersburg, Virginia was damaged by a tornado in 1993. At some point afterward, the historic machinery was removed, leaving an empty building.
Now the list of comparable sites is down to three: Soule’ Steam Feed Works, W.A. Young and Son’s Foundry and Machine Shop (Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, Rice’s Landing, Pennsylvania) and Knight Foundry and Machine Shop (Sutter Creek, California).
The Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum, located in the historic Soulé Steam Feed Works site, promotes the heritage, labor, and innovation that influenced and shaped our country's rise as an industrial and manufacturing pioneer.
A museum's vision is a guiding image of success formed in terms of its contribution to society. A description in words expresses the institution's eventual destination. As a public institution, the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum will:
- Encourage a deep interest in the story of American industry by interpreting Mississippi's industrial heritage within the context of our Nation's history;
- Actively develop a dynamic institution providing relevant, creative exhibitions and educational programs;
- Provide an enlightening, entertaining and fun experience in an environment where visitors of all ages feel like welcomed guests;
- Support lifelong learning and inspire new generations to chart their own paths of discovery;
- Serve as a complimentary resource to industrial and cultural sites, historical organizations and educational institutions;
- Preserve and interpret the Soule Steam Feed Works site, a Mississippi Landmark and a National Register property.
Soulé Steam Feed Works site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979 due to the historical significance of George W. Soulé, inventor.
The site was designated a Mississippi Landmark in October 2003.
Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum was designated the Official State Historical Industrial Museum in July 2004 by the Mississippi legislature.
James L. McRae, President
Walter Clement, Vice President
Greg Hatcher, Secretary/Treasurer
Board of Directors
James L. McRae, JLM Investments, LLC
Walter B. Clement, Retired Instructor Auburn University
Mark Scarborough, Attorney
Greg Hatcher, The Hatcher Group, Inc.
Maurice Hall, Hall Timberlands
Dan Holland, Clearspan Components
David Price, Retired Minister and Railroad Hobbyist
Curt Friday, Retired Project Engineer - Weyerhauser
Mike McKnight, Engineer