Coach Jack Salter Career Achievements
By introducing a new system of welding that had just been invented, they were able to offer a more modern welding service other than using just the forge to heat up the broken pieces. With the acetylene-powered cutting torch, they could also cut through steel beams, John explained.
Mackie Pine Oil Plant
Vergez did a lot of work for the Mackie Pine plant just down Jefferson Avenue, where the new courthouse is located today. Having a quality repair shop so close was handy for Mackie Pine Oil because almost every day, something was breaking and needed to be fixed. Mrs. Vercellotti remembers the huge pile of pine knots that were stacked up high at the Mackie Pine Plant, later called the Delta Pine Oil plant.
John recalls J. H. "Harry" Warner with Mackie Pine Oil, saying that Warner's work brought him into contact with the Vergez family, and they became long-time friends. "He was a nice young man, and he had his office right across the road," John commented.
The Mackie Pine Oil plant was a continuing challenge for Auguste and Henri in their position as Covington fire chief, because of the occasional fire that would break out at the plant. In addition, the ditch flowing away from the plant southward along Jefferson Avenue would also sometimes fill with pine pitch and catch on fire. "It was a recurring problem," Sharon recalls. "The flames from the ditch would scare a person to death."
In 1935, the entire plant exploded in flames and burned down, with fire departments called in from miles around to help fight the blaze.
New Block Building
The old wooden building that originally housed the Vergez operation was replaced in the early 1950's by a modern concrete block structure at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and East 25th Avenue. All of the vintage wheelwright and wainwright equipment was moved into the new building at that time. Those were busy times for Henri, who was still doing the basic metalworking and wrought iron projects, plus the welding and repair work for many other customers.