Stephenson Underwear Mills
Left: Stephenson Underware Mills complex, cira 1910. Alexander C. Staley came to South Bend with the vision to built a factory that produced woolen underwear. The A.C. Staley Manufacturing Company began operations in 1855 at 322 E. Colfax. In 1888 C.B. Stephenson joined the Staley Manufacturing Company. At the time the area today known as the East Race was called Lowell, after the famous mills in Lowell, Mass. In 1896 the company expanded by purchasing the Porcelain Ware Factory which was directly to the south of the mill. Porcelain had its own power source, which was provided by the race along the river. In 1904 the mill was expanded again. The Indiana Paper Mill was aquired along with it's water power source. This expansion resulted in the mill covering four and one half acres in downtown South Bend. In 1907, the A.C. Staley reorganized and incorporated as the Stephenson Underwear Mills. During its years of operation, the company manufactured blankets, men's sweaters and men's woolen underware, otherwise known as a "Union Suit". Most of the plant vanished long ago. Today it is known as Seitz's Park along the East Race.
Right and Below: All that remains of the complex. Redeveloped into apartments, this sturcture was once part of the underwear mill. Today the East Race is thriving with activity. Picture to the right is looking at the northeast corner, from Colfax. The picture below is the south and west walls.
South Bend Woolen Company
Left: South Bend Woolen Company, date unknown. Right: October 2003. The mill is long since history. (Yep, the view is two photos. Good observation.)
The South Bend Woolen Company. The company was founded and started operations in 1869. The mill was situated on the east bank of the St. Joseph River between LaSalle and Colfax Street. The company produced principally woolen fabrics for men's wear, suiting and over coatings. At one time this company was one of the largest mills in the west, having 60 broad looms with a capacity of approximately 500,000 yards of cloth per year. It handled wool in all its processes, from the sheep's back through the finished product. Products for this mill were sold to leading clothing concerns at the time, including House of Kuppenheimer, Hart, Schaffner and Marx, H.A. Seinsheimer Company and many others. Photo courtsey Northern Indiana Center For History.
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