The remote hills of western Maryland is a place far from the major population centers of the state and where geography is more important to life than state boundaries. This former frontier wilderness shares the Allegany coal fields, life style and values with West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In the early 20th century the coal mines provided most of the employment for the men of the region. In 1907, taking notice of the cheap and abundant labor pool provided by the wives and children of these miners, the Klotz Throwing Company built a silk throwing mill in the town of Lonaconing, Maryland. For fifty years the clatter of the mill could be heard throughout the town as it produced silk thread from raw silk imported from Japan.  

On a Friday in July, 1957, the workers went home but when they returned on Monday they were locked out due to a labor dispute. The mill never reopened. The mill never was dismantled and it remains today as it did on that closing day in 1957 including the personal effects of those workers. It is a time capsule of the good and bad aspects of America’s industrial revolution and survives due to the diligent stewardship of Mr. Herbert Crawford who has for nearly three decades owned and maintained the property.

Silk In the Hills

The Lonaconing Silk Mill