August 23, 2018

The Old Avtex Plant

Not much is left of the old rayon factory in Front Royal. Once a sprawling complex with tall smokestacks, it was torn down except for a couple of office buildings. The land around it was polluted and had to be cleaned up

For years, the plant polluted the air and the river. One of the main customers was the U.S. Government, for it made parachute material during World War II and later it made special insulation for rockets. Eventually it was forced to close and Avtex declared bankruptcy. Many millions of dollars in clean up have rehabbed the property although it is still not considered safe for children to live or play in.

When I was young, foul odors from this plant permeated the air in Front Royal and we could smell it when we drove through the town on our way to Shenandoah National Park.

Links: My 2014 Post about the completion of the clean-up.


  1. You can feel the history of this place. Wonderful shot.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  2. I appreciate your blog very much. Gives me a palpable sense of your ;location and the locations that you cover. I am speaking as a fellow professional photographer, albeit a retired.

  3. It may never be used for residential or park services.

  4. It is too bad it cannot ever be used. We learn so much over the years but are slow to order a change.

  5. Never even thought about a rayon factory -- but of course they would have existed. We grew up in a town where the major industry was a pulp mill and so I understand about bad factory odors. Ugh it was awful. And when people complained, the city fathers said 'it smells like money'. They did eventually put in something to neutralize or take away the smells, but that happened after we grew up and moved away... it went on for years.


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