Workshop of the World

stories of industry in & around Philadelphia

Pasted Graphic
"Star & Crescent Mills, Frank Leake & Co." (1887), Hexamer #2047.

Star and Crescent Mills
, 1879
North side of Lehigh Avenue between Hancock Street and Mutter Street, Philadelphia PA 19133

Carmen A. Weber, Irving Kosmin, and Muriel Kirkpatrick, Workshop of the World (Oliver Evans Press, 1990).

This beautiful mill building, with large sawtooth roofed weaving shed, has been excellently maintained and the entire block is currently available for reuse. The main building was built in 1879 and the date is emblazoned on the roof pediment facing Lehigh Avenue; it was enlarged in 1884 and not surveyed by Hexamer until 1887. 1 The mill produced turkish towels (perhaps indicating how it got its name), terry cloth, and chenille curtains. In connection with using cotton to manufacture curtains John J. Macfarlane boasted "It was Philadelphia manufacturers who discovered the value as a decorative adjunct, and conceived and made into beautiful textures a vegetable fiber formerly unknown in decoration." 2
Compared with the Craven and Dearnley spinning operations, which employed mostly girls, textile production at the Star and Crescent Mill required a different organization based on their employment of 225 hands, two thirds males, one third females, and no boys.
3 In both firms the number of employees was quite similar but the distribution of their age and sex varied considerably.
The Star and Crescent Mill was listed as late as 1925;
4 sometime in the 1930s it was offered for sale at $75,000, with an assessed value of $80,000 in 1932. At this time the Star and Crescent name was still affixed above the date on the pediment, today it is gone.

1   Hexamer General Survey #2047 (1887) "Star & Crescent Mills, Frank Leake & Co."
2   John J. Macfarlane, "Growth and Extent of the Textile Industries of Philadelphia," Made in Philadelphia: Textile Industries of Philadelphia, (Philadelphia, 1910-11), pg. 11
3   Hexamer General Survey #2047 (1887) "Star & Crescent Mills, Frank Leake & Co."
4   Bromley, 1925

Update May 2007 (by Torben Jenk):

See also:
Hexamer General Survey #1770 (1883) "Star & Crescent Mills, Geo W. Ennis & Co., Lehigh Avenue [north side], Hope and Front Sts."