Did York Silk ever operate a silkmaking factory in West York?
York (Pa.) Silk Manufacturing Co. operated two factories in York’s east end at the turn-of-the-20th-century. This drawing, from York County Heritage Trust files, shows the silkmaker’s factory at Vine (State) Street and Wallace Street. The factory no longer stands. Background posts: How one spot in York County, Pa., tells much about what’s going on around there and The York/Adams day that birthed memories of falling stars and silkworms and All Made in York posts from the start.
Was the old Leinhardt Brothers Furniture company in West York ever a silkmaking factory, specifically York Silk Manufacturing Co.?
Reader Bob Lookingbill posed that question after reading posts about the York Silk factory that forms part of the York skyline today.
I wrote back that York Silk, at least in the early 1900s, operated only two factories – both in York’s East End.
One was Hay Street’s Diamond Branch, with its two towers and smokestack… .
According to York city directories of that day, the company’s other factory was nearby at the corner of Vine Street, now State Street, and Wallace Street. That served as the company’s headquarters in York.
I drove by there recently, and the site appears to be a parking lot, unless some of York Silk’s old buildings were annexed by the old Danskin factory next door.
That east end must have been a heck of a fabric- and garment-making district in those days.
Now, to find whether York Silk later operated a factory in West York would take much more research. York Daily Record/Sunday News files confirm that a silkmaking operation did operate in the Leinhardt Brothers building before it served as a furniture warehouse. That fact came out in a controversy about whether the Leinhardt lettering would remain on the building during a process to convert the old complex into apartments.
Bob Lookingbill was reacting to a recent post in which another emailer believed that Pennsylvania Furniture operated a factory at West Princess and Herman streets.
Bob lived near that intersection when he was a boy.
“In the neighborhood we always referred to the facility as ‘the old silk mill,'” he wrote. “Apparently it was a silk mill at one time although I don’t know any of the history.”
If anyone can shed some light on silkmaking in West York, please comment below.