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
Appetite For Deconstruction: North Philly Nonprofit Tackles Three Pressing Issues With One Program

Appetite For Deconstruction: North Philly Nonprofit Tackles Three Pressing Issues With One Program

May 17, 2019  |  News

Philly Reclaim brings sustainability, historic preservation, and job training together with its architectural salvage program. Kimberly Haas has the story > more

Arson & Archway Raise Awareness Of A 19th Century Architect

Arson & Archway Raise Awareness Of A 19th Century Architect

May 14, 2019  |  Vantage

Pauline Miller takes us on a journey from Old City to Mount Moriah Cemetery where the work of architect Stephen Decatur Button struggles for longevity > more

A Fond Farewell To Paley Library At Temple University

A Fond Farewell To Paley Library At Temple University

May 10, 2019  |  Last Light

Paley Library closed its doors to the public on Thursday after serving Temple University for 53 years. Michael Bixler says goodbye to the mid-century modern library with this photo essay > more

In Kensington, Old Textile Mill To Be Revived With Apartments

In Kensington, Old Textile Mill To Be Revived With Apartments

May 7, 2019  |  Vantage

Gotham Hosiery, once the country's most popular pantyhose manufacturer, quickly rose to fame and crashed even faster. Now, the nearly 100-year-old mill at 2nd and Norris is getting a residential makeover. Rob Masciantonio dives deep into the history of the old textile mill and details on plans for redevelopment > more

Al Capone's Cell At ESP Keeps Conservators On Their Toes

Al Capone’s Cell At ESP Keeps Conservators On Their Toes

May 2, 2019  |  News

At Eastern State Penitentiary, layers of history reveal more mysteries inside a famous gangster's old prison cell. Kimberly Haas has the details > more

Op-ed: Lessons Learned & Magic Found At Neutra's Hassrick House In East Falls

Op-ed: Lessons Learned & Magic Found At Neutra’s Hassrick House In East Falls

April 30, 2019  |  Soapbox

In this personal essay Jefferson University architecture student Shannon McLain gives a passionate account of the student-led effort to preserve a mid-century modern home on Cherry Lane. > more