The Virginia Woolen Company and Lewis Jones Knitting Mill Historical

The Virginia Woolen Company and Lewis Jones Knitting Mill Historical (HM1T8L)

Location: Winchester, VA 22601
Country: United States of America

N 39° 11.122', W 78° 9.655'

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Textiles, Transportation, and Technology

Born near Burnt Factory in Frederick Co., Virginia in 1867, Ed Johnston was determined to escape the life of a farm laborer. He learned the mechanic's trade at the Middletown Carriage Factory, and by age 25 worked in the B&O Railroad shops in Brunswick, Maryland. Johnston became the Woolen Company's first employee on January 20, 1901. He installed the power plant and all machinery and oversaw its upkeep until his death in 1936. As stated by historian Wilbur S. Johnston, "like most of the mill's employees, the woolen mill was his life."
Textile mills accounted for three of Winchester's top ten employers in 1925, with the two largest mills operating near here. This optimal location provided access to the B&O Railroad, city utilities, and skilled workers.
The Virginia Woolen Company which was incorporated in 1900 produced premium quality woolen material including Ford Motor Company upholstery, military uniforms and blankets for World War II, and men's wear. Lewis Jones Knitting Mill (incorporated 1895), produced cotton goods, primarily ladies' underwear. In their heyday, the two mills employed over 700 local laborers.
Winchester's textile industries faltered in the 1950s when pitted against emerging synthetic fibers. Despite modernization attempts, Virginia Woolen closed in 1958 and Lewis Jones ceased textile operations
in 1963.
Although the Woolen Company buildings were demolished in 1999 for the Public Safety Center, the Lewis Jones Knitting Mill, repurposed in 2005 as an office building, stands as a reminder of Winchester's vibrant era of textile industry.
(captions)
Virginia Woolen Mill Master Mechanic Charles Edward 'Ed' Johnston. Courtesy of Stewart Bell, Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA
Workers pose around quilt rack in Lewis Jones Knitting Mill circa 1920. (Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Winchester, Va)
Aerial view of Virginia Woolen Company, Lewis Jones Knitting Mill and surrounding houses in 1992. The B&O Railroad (now CSX) diagonally bisects the two mill lots. Photo by Rudy Rogers, Courtesy of Tim Youmans
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Details
HM NumberHM1T8L
Tags
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, July 25th, 2016 at 1:01pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 745218 N 4341187
Decimal Degrees39.18536667, -78.16091667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 11.122', W 78° 9.655'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 11' 7.32" N, 78° 9' 39.3" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 217-261 VA-7, Winchester VA 22601, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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