Tri-State Wilbert Vault Company

    The Tri-State Wilbert Vault Company originally opened in 1925. The company was named the Tri-State Supply Company. J. S. Beddall, Dr. W. F. Marting, and James R. Paul were the founders. The company was opened because many people thought the residents of Lawrence County should have a vault to use that would not rust and would not collapse from the weight of the earth.
     Located on Ashtabula Street between 8th and 9th Street, the company was purchased by Woodrow Mays in 1941. Mays changed the company name from Tri-State Supply Company to Tri-State Vault Company.
     When World War II broke out, Woodrow Mays joined the military. His brother-in-law, James H. Staley, ran the company in his absence. Staley is the owner of Staley’s Pharmacy.
     In 1954, disaster struck. The plant was completely destroyed by fire. It was one of the worst fires in Ironton history. The fire started at noon. Unfortunately, the loss was only partially covered by insurance. However, Mays decided to replace and rebuild the plant himself while adding more modern buildings.
     In 1964, Woodrow Mays bought the Wilbert Burial Vault franchise for ten counties: Lawrence County, Jackson County and Scioto County, Ohio; Boyd County, Greenup County, Lewis County, and Carter County, Kentucky; and Cabell County, Wayne County and Lincoln County, West Virginia. At the time, Woodrow was the leading vault company in the United States and was completely owned by licenses.
     The company did not just produce vaults. They made concrete septic tanks, stepping stones, flower pots, garbage can holders, patio blocks and parking curbs.
     Tri-State Wilbert Vault Company became on of the largest and oldest vault companies in the Tri-State Area. The company was also the only company with union made vaults in the Tri-State (in 1966).