The Foundry

The Foundry typically caters to an older audience than some of the other musical venues in Athens. (Photo by Joe Reisigl)

The history of Athens continues to influence the present as the music venue The Melting Point changed its name to The Foundry, honoring the building’s telling past.

“We wanted to maintain the historical integrity; that’s one reason why we went back to the name The Foundry because that’s what the building was originally in 1850,” Adam Stacey-Richardson, general manager of Graduate Athens said.

The location is best known for the foundry constructed there in the 1850s. Some of Athens’ historical pieces were forged there.

The foundry constructed the black iron Arch sometime between 1856 and 1858. It now serves as the University of Georgia’s symbol for wisdom, justice and moderation.

It also produced the world’s first double-barrel cannon in 1863 as a first line of defense during the Civil War. Although it was ultimately a failure due to its lack of a firing device, it stands on display in front of the City Hall of Athens.

The venue was named The Melting Point since its inception for marketing purposes.

“The previous owners had changed it to ‘The Melting Point’ to try to get some catchy name for the drawing of college students,” Stacey-Richardson said.

Along with the name change, The Foundry is experiencing multiple other improvements including a new southern-style menu, an $80,000 audio and visual system in its ballroom, new bathrooms and new patio furniture.

The venue’s parent company is also getting a name change. Foundry Park Inn & Spa is becoming Graduate Athens.

The company has noticed an increase in traffic as the name change has taken hold.

“A two-fold increase [at Iron Works Coffee]. It’s been sales of coffee and sandwiches and things of that nature,” Stacey-Richardson said.

He believes the installment of free Wi-Fi is the reason why business has improved.

The company also plans to continue hosting nearly 100 weddings a year.

“Come March, it starts to gear up. In June it’s about as busy as one could get,” John Reichner, sales manager at Graduate Athens, said. “The most events I had ever done was on a Friday, and I think I did 13 individual events.”

While the name change has yet to take hold in all aspects of the company, Stacey-Richardson expects all the changes to complete by the end of the month.

“We’re going back more to the roots,” Stacey-Richardson said.