Braden & VanFossen was established as a machine shop in 1925 by Daniel Braden & Raymond VanFossen. The company originated in the Atkins Building in downtown Staunton, VA. These two men had a vision that has maintained operations for over 80 years! In the 1930's, Mr. VanFossen purchased the interests of Mr. Braden and became sole owner of the company, but retained the original company name. Braden & VanFossen moved to its current location on W. Beverley Street in Staunton, VA where Mr. VanFossen continued to grow the business. In September of 1949 he built a foundry to produce iron castings. Two of Mr. VanFossen's sons, C.L. "Louie" VanFossen and Bill VanFossen, worked with the company after returning from military service during World War II. Bill VanFossen eventually moved on to another career path but Louie purchased 50% of the company to become co-owner with his father. Raymond VanFossen retired from the company in 1951. Louie VanFossen maintained the operations of Braden & VanFossen with the help of E. E. Clements (shop foreman) and his dedicated employees.
Upon the passing of Raymond VanFossen in September of 1965, Louie purchased the remainder of the company. Louie VanFossen had his own vision for the company, which included maintaining the iron works and welding as well as starting a new venture. In the late 1970's, while visiting his cousin Melvin Smith in Northern Virginia, he began to notice the development of self storage facilities. He quickly began work on his own self storage facility and over the next 30 years he built over 700 storage units. Louie also rents numerous commercial and residential properties. He and his wife, Betty, maintain full ownership of Braden & VanFossen, as well as C.L. VanFossen Rentals.
In August 2012, Betty and Louie's granddaughter, Angela Smith, and her husband, Taylor, began to oversee daily operations of the company. We are proud that the company has remained in the family for over 80 years. Braden & VanFossen continues to grow and change but still maintains its original purpose, which is to serve the community by providing quality iron work and maintain a reputation of excellence in workmanship and service.
Braden & VanFossen, Inc., Photo by John Vachon, 1941
Machining different rock crusher shafts, Photo by John Vachon, May 1941
Machining different rock crusher shafts, Photo by John Vachon, circ. 1941
Workers in the Braden and Van Fossen Works, Photo by John Vachon, 1941
All vintage photos by John Vachon.