Abandoned Lonaconing Silk Mill in Maryland
*disclaimer: The photos included in this blog are from my first, (and sadly only visit to date) to the Lonaconing Silk Mill in 2015. The quality is not the best, but the conditions that day were quit a challenge, and well, I just didn’t know as much back then as I do now.
This post will look back a few years to the time I visited the abandoned Lonaconing Silk Mill, in rural Maryland. I saw photos from other explorers who had been, and was pretty excited to see this place with all the equipment still left inside. It was about a 3 hour drive from where I lived in Northern VA, so we got an early start to the day. It was fairly challenging shooting the silk mill, as the cloud cover and sun constantly flipped, and most of the day we had harsh sunlight beaming in, and then complete darkness in other areas of the building.
History of the Lonaconing Silk Mill
The Lonaconing Silk Mill, originally started as Klotz Throwing Co. and later the General Textile Mills, operated from 1907 until its closure in 1957. It produced silk thread from raw silk imported from overseas (China and Japan and) and was connected to the Baltimore shipping harbor by train. The mill began to make nylon thread at the beginning of World War II to help for the war effort.
At its height in the 1920’s, the mill employed around 300 people. That number began to decline over the years until the early 50’s. Labor disputes, outdated machinery, and heavy competition from synthetic materials and larger, more centrally located operations helped lead to its closing in 1957. The Lonaconing Silk Mill closed abruptly one day, with many workers not knowing until they showed up for work the next day.
Current Plans For the Abandoned Silk Mill
The late owner Herb Crawford looked after, and cared for the silk mill for many years. He spent a lot of time and money to keep the mill intact, make repairs, and eventually reopen the mill as a museum or other use. It was a constant struggle to keep up with repairs (the roof and major leaks being one of the top issues). Sadly Herb passed away before he could see his plans come to fruition.