Workshop of the World

stories of industry in & around Philadelphia

Pasted Graphic
Southwest corner from East Wingohocking Street (2007).

Tremont Mills, before 1860
1198 Adams Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19124
(northwest corner of East Wingohocking Street)

Barbara M. Auwarter and Joyce Halley, Workshop of the World (Oliver Evans Press, 1990).

The 1860 Philadelphia City Atlas showed an unnamed mill at this site. 1 By 1876, Foster and Whitaker, two significant investors with multiple locations, owned the mill, 2 which produced Venetian damask and paletan carpets. The mill complex, operated by Wm. Whitaker & Sons and now known as Tremont Mills, 3 was completely rebuilt in 1879 for the manufacture of ingrain carpet and cotton ticking. There were forty Jacquard and ten hand looms.  All of the power looms and dyeing operations were run by steam.  The brick smoke stack rose "100 feet above the earth." 4

Pasted Graphic
Hexamer General Survey #378 (1869), "Tremont Mills, Israel Foster & Co."
City Atlases
5 show that in the decade between 1910 and 1920, ownership of the mill passed out of the hands of the Whitaker heirs to J. Bromley, who operated it as the American Pile Fabric Company under the control of Tremont Realty Company. B & B Auto Body Parts. One-third of the rustic stone rubble building at the intersection of Adams and Wingohocking was sliced away by the widening of Wingohocking Street, but the rest of the complex retains much of its nineteenth century appearance.

Pasted Graphic 2
East facade showing remaining two-thirds after Wingohocking Street was widened (2007).

1  Philadelphia City Atlas, 1860, 23rd Ward, Section 24.
2  Philadelphia City Atlas, 1876, 23rd Ward, Plate E.
3  Hexamer General Survey #1760-1761 (1883), "Tremont Mills, Estate of Wm. Whitaker, Owners."
4  Hexamer General Survey #1760-1761 (1883), "Tremont Mills, Estate of Wm. Whitaker, Owners."
5  Philadelphia City Atlas, 1910, 23rd Ward, Plate 10; also, Philadelphia City Atlas, 1920, 23rd Ward, Plate 8.

Pasted Graphic 1
Chimney in center of complex (2007).

Update May 2007 (by Torben Jenk):
The first floor and surrounding grounds are occupied by various auto repair businesses. The upper floors are vacant. Most of the windows have been boarded and the building is in generally poor condition. The top section of the massive chimney, the round part above the 100-foot tall square main chimney, was struck by lightning in 1992 and removed by a particularly able steeplejack who worked single-handedly and completed the job for $20,000. The Frankford Creek has flooded the site recently, cresting the retaining wall and filling the courtyard nestled between the buildings, and rising about six or seven feet above the base of the chimney. There is a plan to take twenty-five feet of ground on either side of the Frankford Creek to create a bicycle/multi-use trail from the Delaware River to Conshohocken. This section of Frankford Creek, below Castor Avenue, has been channelized in concrete.

See also:
Hexamer General Survey #378 (1869), "Tremont Mills, Israel Foster & Co."
Hexamer General Survey #523 (?), "Tremont Mills, Israel Foster & Co."