On October 22 and 23, 1897 the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal and New Era newspapers announced that a major international silk manufacturing company would begin construction on the world’s second largest silk mill operation to be located along Martha Avenue. Stehli & Co. of Zurich, Switzerland was “induced” by the Lancaster Board of Trade to locate their first United States operation in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. When announced, the initial construction would employ over 500 men and women in a three-story structure measuring 50 feet wide by 250 feet long utilizing 600,000 bricks and housing 300 looms! When all five phases of expansion were completed in 1925, the mill employed more than 1,600 workers, contained 250,000 square feet of floor space, 2,500 windows, 1,100 looms and was 883 feet in length, making it the longest single building in America and the second longest in the world.
Stehli & Co retained Lancaster’s 34 year old architect, C. Emlen Urban, to be their architect of record. As in the past, Urban’s business connections and personal relationships in the community positioned him to receive this landmark commission that would expand his geographic reach to two other Stehli states: North Carolina and Virginia.
Credit for historical photos: LancasterOnline.com
Full LNP Article: Architect’s Work on Lancaster’s Stehli Mill was Smooth as Silk