Arlington Mills (Lawrence, MA)

Photographs in the collection:

Exterior looking from Cemetery hill

Spinning room

Warp dressing room

Drawing room

Solvent plant

Combing room

Card room

Weaving room

Whitman Company’s Arlington Division started as the Arlington Woolen Mills.  On February 20, 1865 Robert M. Bailey of the firm Robert M. Bailey & Co. of Boston created the company.  Other incorporators were Charles A Lambard, Joseph Nickerson, and George C. Bosson.  Mr. Bailey was the first president and Sumner Wheeler the first treasurer.  The mills were located on the Spicket River in the old Stevens Piano Case factory.  The first products were fancy shirting flannels and wool felted fabrics.  The following year in 1866 the entire plant was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt in 1867.  The tariff of 1867 changed the conditions of the worsted trade goods so that the new factory produced women’s worsted and cotton warp dress goods.  William Whitman entered the employment of the Arlington Woolen Mills in 1867.  The mill was remodeled in 1971 increasing the productive capacity.  The name was changed to Arlington Mills in 1875.  New lines of goods were added including: mohair, alpaca, and brilliantines.  The selling agent for the Arlington Mills was Harding, Colby and Company, which became Harding, Whitman and Company when William Whitman joined the partnership in 1887.  This would later become the William Whitman Company, a large stockholder in the Arlington Mills.

More land and buildings were added of the years.  In 1896 a worsted top mill was built devoted exclusively to the carding and combing of wool.  Together with a solvent plant that removed grease from the wool, the mills were able to process wool, called “tops”, to pass along to the spinners.  During the years 1905 and 1906 more that a million dollars were spent expanding the mills, which extended into the City of Methuen.  The Arlington Mills had become a model by which other woolen mills were measured.  In 1910 Arlington gained control of a mill in North Adams, Massachusetts, which became the Hoosac Worsted Mills Department.  Until 1913 the treasurer of the company had been the chief executive officer.  The by-laws were changed to make the president the CEO.

Acadia Mills in Lawrence were added in 1917 to take over the cotton yarn part of the business.  That same year a mills hospital was built to insure operatives’ health and safety.  During the First and Second World Wars the mills energies were applied solely to the production of cloth for the United States Army and Navy.  In 1919 the Wheeler Reservoir was established in North Salem, NH to guarantee the mill a continual supply of water.

In 1945 Albert A. List purchased Whitman Sales Agency, including substantial stock interest in both Arlington and Monomac Mills in Lawrence.  Subsequently Mr. List became the ex-president of the company on December 14, 1946.  At this time the Monomac Mill in South Lawrence was moved to building at the Arlington Mills site.  In 1948 the mills became know as the Arlington Division of the William Whitman Company, Inc.

In the years after World War II, many textile mills began the move from the northeast to the southeast.  February 1, 1952 the Top Mill closed its doors and was then sold to Marriner and Co. of Boston.  Ultimately all the Whitman Company Mills would cease to operate in the northeast.  Many years later Malden Mills would occupy some of the Arlington Mills buildings continuing the Lawrence textile tradition.

3 Responses

  1. My father Didney Payeur (Dick) worked at the Arlington Mills in the 1930’s and 1940’s. it was a great city to grow up in. We lived on Oxford St not that far from the mill.

  2. Both of my grandparents worked at the Arlington Mill in 1917. They had immigrated from Syria just after the turn of the century.

  3. Was the Monomac Mills the Arlington Mills?
    “Interest in both Arlington and Monomac Mills in Lawrence. Subsequently Mr. List became the ex-president of the company on December 14, 1946. At this time the Monomac Mill in South Lawrence was moved to building at the Arlington Mills site. In 1948 the mills became know as the Arlington Division of the William Whitman Company, Inc.”

    Does this mean that they moved the physical buildling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: