In 1910 Porse Roberts started a broom factory right outside Tornado in Saint Albans on Ferrell Road. In 1915 the business had grown so much they moved it to downtown St. Albans and then by 1919, the Charleston Broom Factory had come into existence. This company still exists today outside Kanawha State Forest.
According to Tornado
Remembers, Porse Roberts and his sons Dennis, Harry, Carl and Mac began the
Roberts Brothers Broom Factory in 1910.
It later became the Charleston Broom Factory. It was located on Ferrell Road where Pine Meadow
Apartments are currently located.
Roberts had been working for the Roman Pickens Grist Mill
since 1889 when it was suggested that he start the broom factory on Ferrell
Road. He and his sons took a small house
on their farm that was not being used and painted the year, 1910, in red paint
on it and raised broom corn for the brooms.
The first broom machine was built by Mr. Ferrell who
suggested that Roberts start the factory; Roberts himself improved upon the
machine. The machine is still being used
in the making of brooms in the Charleston Broom Factory building in Loudendale,
In 1915, business was so good they moved the company to St.
Albans to a site behind the C&O Building (Tornado Remembers). By 1919,
the Charleston Broom Factory was operating on the East End of Charleston. It used to be situated on the where Laidley
Field is now, but now it is in a building by Kanawha State Forest. It is the only remaining broom manufacturer
in West Virginia (washingtontimes.com). The
current owner, Jim Shaffer has worked there since he was 17.