Lonaconing Silk Mill

Post date: Nov 14, 2015 7:52:14 PM

In early November I had an amazing photo adventure with 3 of my students, over 1 year in the making. It was a weekend trip down to Maryland where we shot the abandoned Lonaconing Silk Mill. What a fantastic place! The troubled past of the mill is a story all in its own, but what makes this place special is the preservation of the mill after it closed in 1957.

Through a series of unfortunate events, the current owner, Herb, was left holding the building with no way to renovate or change it for future use. In 2009, fellow photographer A.D. Wheeler went and did the first photo shoot at the mill which sparked a trend, and since then Herb has been selling photography passes to 100's of photographers per year. Most of the money he collects goes directly to the upkeep of the failing roof in an effort to keep interior of the mill in tact for as long as possible.

Myself and my 3 students spent 4 hours at the mill on a gorgeous Sunday morning and came away with some fantastic shots. Below is my collection. You can see my students' work here: http://www.meetup.com/PhotoClasses/photos/26540186/


A shot of the outside of the mill showing lots of broken windows by vandals. Thankfully, this is probably the worst of the vandalism.

The stairs and office door.

The spooling machinery in the addition to the mill.

The spooling room in the original part of the mill. The same size operation exists across the aisle to the right of the photo. This place is huge!

A cart with spools of thread and a workman's jacket wait in the elevator.

Lot tags hang on the wall.

A fire bucket. These were hung on all of the poles.

A spool still left on some of the machinery.

The overhead shaft, pulley, and belt system that used to power the spooling machinery.

We think this was an eye-washing station. It was too small for a drinking fountain and we found them every 2-3 rows.

This emblem was found on a newer drinking fountain. Who knew that GM once owned/made Frigidaire appliances.

A set of gears and other bits and pieces.

A pair of shoes left behind when the mill closed its doors. One of my students found the youngest employed person was only 9 years old!

We believe this to be the floor manager's desk. Notice the calendar from 1957!

Some of the spooling machinery.

A price list from 1956 still hangs on one of the posts.

A few spools of the original spooled thread made the mill still survives.

A manufacture order tag from 1956 shows the type of thread being produced on this row.

An old trolley-mounted balance scale.

Another price list, this one from 1951, still hangs on a post in the basement.

Large bins of bobbins are stored in a corner of the basement.

A shipping receipt from 1944.

A gate to the open elevator shaft casts shadows on the basement floor.

A collection of machinery gears and manual in a storage cabinet.

A large, belt-driven metal lathe in the workshop in the basement.

A belt-driven cross-cut saw in the workshop.

A huge (over 6ft tall) belt-driven drill press in the workshop.

Can't wait to go back again next year and see what I missed!