There are numerous things that draw people to Pennsylvania … the living history of Philadelphia, the rugged forests of the Appalachian Trail, the family-friendly attractions of Hershey Park.
And the town of Woolrich.
In addition to the Woolrich flagship store, the town of Woolrich is home to the oldest continually running mill in America … a made-in-America story that has become an intriguing must-see for earnest reporters and photographers.
Woolrich’s first mill at Little Plum Run was built in 1830. After the company quickly outgrew its first building, company founder John Rich moved the mill a little over a mile north on the stronger Chatham Run in 1845. Business was brisk, as in nearby Lock Haven, nine major sawmills were cutting 100 million feet of lumber per year.
Business is still brisk, as the mill’s rising popularity is pinned to both the increasing interest in American manufacturing as well as the surging popularity of Woolrich itself.
This week, a team from Menswear Magazine (a bi-annual by Women’s Wear Daily (WWD)) was provided with an exclusive guided tour of the mill, as the remarkable voyage isn’t currently open to members of the public.
Accompanied by Woorlich executives Nick Brayton, John Ranelli and Josh Rich, WWD’s Jean Palmieri and photographer Michael Nagle walked the hardwood floors of the mill with woolen mill manager Ron Yeaton. Over the sound of mechanized looms, rovers and spinners, the guided walkthrough provided a first-hand glimpse of a process that dates back to the middle of the 19th century: transforming raw wool into finished, American-made products.