Lonaconing Silk Mill is an abandoned historic textile mill operated by the Klotz Throwing Company and located in the Georges Creek Valley of western Maryland. The mill has been nominated by the George’s Creek Watershed Association for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. We prepared 50 stunning photos made at Abandoned Klotz Throwing Company.
It was built in 1902 and one year after the facility was built the Klotz Throwing Company was able to begin repaying the investment from the residents of Lonaconing. The mill was expanded in 1916 and again in May 1918 due to increased demand. By 1922, Klotz Throwing Company was responsible for adding $100,000 to Lonaconing’s economy annually.
In September 1920, Klotz Throwing Company employed 359 workers. In October 1929, the world economic crisis known as the Great Depression began. At this time, demand for silk fell sharply as it was considered a luxury.
Klotz filed for bankruptcy, but in 1932 he was able to reopen the plant. The name of the mill was changed to General Textile Mills. However, the number of workers it employed had decreased, as had the wages of those who worked there.
In the summer of 1957, the mill workers went on strike, demanding higher wages. However, the company was not able to raise salaries, and it had to cease operations immediately. The plant closed in 1957, but in 1978 has been preserved from ruin by Herb Crawford, a local resident who bought the mill in hopes of attracting another clothing manufacturer.
Under the ownership of Herb Crawford, who has tended to the building for 40 years, the Klotz Throwing Company has cheated death. Crawford was swindled into buying it, but holds no grudges. He hopes to keep it open for photographers and visitors, but as the building crumbles, this becomes increasingly difficult.
In 2007, the George’s Creek Watershed Association nominated the Lonaconing Silk Mill for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Miraculously, the factory remains eerily untouched: Worker cubbies still hold shoes, combs, tins of Noxema, and empty jars of apple butter from lunch breaks gone by.