UNDIES FOR EVERY OCCASION
This week's Sepia Saturday theme is ... well ... open to interpretation. I've decided to interpret it as "Attractions on the Water," and in light of that, I give you:
As stated in the caption, this is the Newville Knitting Mill, circa 1912. I recently purchased this photo from my local historical society for three reasons: first, as an effort to lend financial support; second, because it depicted a part of my little town of which I was ignorant (and trust me, my ignorance of local history far outweighs my knowledge, so anything I can do to tip the scale is a good thing!); and third, it really caught my attention because there's something inherently and romantically tragic about a building which no longer exists -- which means that my imagination was engaged and my curiosity wouldn't rest until I knew more.
The property had originally been the location of the McFarland Flour Mill, built in 1765, along the banks of the Big Spring. Over the years, the mill changed hands and changed production focus -- sometime in the 1800s it became a paper mill, and then was sold in 1898 to eventually become the knitting mill.
Gilbert Ernest Swope (pictured below) was one of the original owners and the treasurer of the Newville Knitting Company, which opened for business in March 1907. It had 35 knitting machines and 75 sewing machines, employed 80-100 girls and made ladies underwear and "half hose." Sadly, like most of the industry in small towns across the country, the company went out of business and the mill was dismantled in the 1950s.
What I find really interesting about Gilbert Swope is that he seems to be more than just the average businessman of the times. He started out as a pharmacist and had his own druggist business in town, then helped found the knitting mill. But his passion, like so many of us, was genealogy. He authored several books of local history, including A History of the Swope Family and Their Connections 1678 - 1896 and A History of the Big Spring Presbyterian Church 1737-1898.
I wonder if the historical society has any of those knickers in their collection?
Thanks to Tattered and Lost for reminding me about this great commercial. It says it all:
For more Sepia Saturday thematic interpretations, clicky ==>> HERE!