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Stehli Silk Mill

I have been fantasizing about entering these buildings for weeks now, maybe even months. After doing some research on historical sites remaining in Lancaster, PA, I stumbled upon this... The historic Stehli Silk Mill. This mill was the 2nd largest silk mill in the entire world. This building represents an important chunk of Lancaster’s industrial past.
I took so many pictures while in the mill earlier this week. Bruce let me borrow his fancy camera (much fancier than mine) and now I think I need one after seeing how fantastic these pictures turned out. Next purchase, maybe?

At its peak, more than 2,100 people were employed by Stehli Silk Corporation. The employees of this factory helped create the neighborhood surrounding the mill – known as Rossmere. Housing was built for select workers in Lancaster city. Here's a little historical blurb about the mill: (as alwasy, click the image to enlarge) 
The Stehli Silk mill was built in 1897 by Stehli Silk Corporation. The company was from Obfelden, Switzerland. The company chose to build their factory in Lancaster, PA because of its close proximity to New York City and Philadelphia. All silk products, dress goods, and any other textiles created at the mill were sent to the market in New York City.

Some pictures from old postcards that claimed Stehli as "The Worlds Largest Silk Mill".
I had heard that the mill was really hard to get into. High security, barbed wire, alarms, etc. Apparently everyone else who said that entering was difficult missed the fact the driveway is shared with a trucking company that has a security office. I simply asked an administrator next door if they would mind if I walked around their property. Easy as pie. A little question was all it took. However, I would have been disappointed if they said no and probably still would have climbed the barbed fence and risk a trespassing charge. Anyways…
Until 1973 one of the three warehouses that make up the mill was used as storage for a toy/merchandise company. While walking the long, damp, and empty hallways I saw traces of toys that had been tossed aside and long forgotten.
I was surprised that I didn’t see any silk remnants while in the first warehouse… guess the 2nd and 3rd buildings were hiding all of the surprises.
As I said earlier, I took so many pictures while in this mill. I’m going to turn these many photos into 3 individual blog posts… get ready for some goodness. It’s been a few days since I was at the mill, and I’m still excited about my chance to visit this historic landmark. I’ll be back with pictures from Warehouse 2 and 3 later this week.
What do you think of this place? Stehli should be synonymous with stellar. Look for more blog posts about Stehli soon!


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  • yeoman on

    I grew up near here. I was told they made parachutes here during the war, and that was why many of the windows were blacked out. When I was a kid, more of the windows were still there.

  • Nancy Lowe on

    I live a few blocks from the abandoned silk mill. How interesting seeing the inside of the massive building.

  • Lisa on

    My dad was part owner in the 70’s. Police were there often as some of the dealings may have been shady.

  • Ami Marie on

    Thanks for reading, Rick! I love this building, too. A local developer has owned the property for several years and is working on revitalizing the mill for residential purposes – while keeping the history of the structure in tact.

  • Rick Hamilton on

    I have run by this old factory almost everyday for several years and I grew up in the area so I can remember ths building when I was a teenager, Im 52 now. I was in the 1st building in around 1985 when a friend took me to his storage compartment. I remember there was many compartments separated by chicken wire and everything you could imagine was stored up there. It appears that developers have finally started to turn this beautiful building into something useful again. I believe they are naming it The Silk Factory. Thanks for blogging about it.



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