America’s Oldest Yarn Mill: A Portrait

 

Editor’s Note: There are precious few places in America like Wilde Yarn, with a building that dates back to 1884 and machinery that clattered away from the 1930s until just a few years ago. The mill was finally dismantled this summer, another missed opportunity to preserve the legacy of Philadelphia’s once-mighty textile industry. This wasn’t the fault of the new owners, Peter Bloomfield and Scott Janzen; there is no textile museum, nor even a nascent movement to create one. Bloomfield and Janzen did the next best thing, though: they opened the doors to photographers both amateur and professional. Here then is the work of eight of them: Brendan Clinch, Steven Bley, Ethan Wallace, King Krush, Noel Relyea, Thomas Troutman, Matthew Christopher, and Jenissa Wilson. We chose just three images from each person. You can see more of their work by clicking on their names, which link to their websites. For our story on Janzen and Bloomfield’s project to convert the mill to apartments, click HERE.

Photo: King Krush

Photo: King Krush

Photo: King Krush

Photo: Noel Relyea

Photo: Noel Relyea

Photo: Noel Relyea


6 Comments


  1. great that they open there business to these photographers . sad to see the textile industry fading away from phila . a lost industry

  2. The photos are stunning. So wish I could have visited this place! Keep up the great journalism. And glad to see you hit the $20k goal!

  3. I got to walk through this building back in August. The thing that really impressed me was the floors. Walking on hardwood that had seen 120+ years of heavy industrial traffic was amazing, they felt soft under your feet. It’s a really impressive building.

  4. Matthew Christopher

    Here’s a link to a 360 degree panorama of the third floor:

    http://www.abandonedamerica.us/panoramas

  5. Thank you for these beautiful and informative photographs!

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Lost In The Shuffle: Finding Philly's Displaced Soldiers

Lost In The Shuffle: Finding Philly’s Displaced Soldiers

May 25, 2018  |  Vantage

In honor of Memorial Day, Mickey Herr tracks the reinterred remains of soldiers who fought in the American Revolution and Civil War from Washington Square to Palumbo Recreation Center to Old Swedes' Church in South Philly > more

<em>Ours To Lose</em> Captures West Philly Landmarks In Decline

Ours To Lose Captures West Philly Landmarks In Decline

May 23, 2018  |  Vantage

Photographer Vincent Feldman delivers a eulogy for neglected neighborhood anchors in his new exhibition. Michael Bixler has this interview > more

PA Ballet Swings Wrecking Ball At North Broad Landmark

PA Ballet Swings Wrecking Ball At North Broad Landmark

May 21, 2018  |  News

A 107-year-old terra cotta treasure on Automobile Row will be demolished for a vacant lot. Michael Bixler has the story > more

Kensington Workshop Keeps Neighborhood Clocking In

Kensington Workshop Keeps Neighborhood Clocking In

May 16, 2018  |  Last Light

Inside a 124-year-old mill in Kensington, World Manufacturing Inc. is buzzing with work orders. Theresa Stigale puts us on the production line with this photo essay > more

Take Me Up To the Ball Game! Rediscovering The Bleacher Houses Of North Philly

Take Me Up To the Ball Game! Rediscovering The Bleacher Houses Of North Philly

May 15, 2018  |  Vantage

Dave Coyne gives us a rooftop view of old Shibe Park and the backstory behind Swampoodle's little-known "bleacher houses" > more

On Motherhood & The Circle Of Life At City Hall

On Motherhood & The Circle Of Life At City Hall

May 11, 2018  |  Soapbox

For Mother's Day, Stacey Meadows takes us inside the Register of Wills office at City Hall with this moving personal essay > more