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History Lives

Doylestown Hosiery Mills


An article in the Feb. 9, 1905, issue of the Intelligencer announced “Stocking Factory May Be Located Here.” The firm of Drenk & Brewer chose for its mill the Hohlefelder Building (a former stable) located at the intersection of Church Street and Lacey Avenue, on the north end of Doylestown.

The new Doylestown Hosiery Mills was up and running by mid-March 1905 with about 25 machines operated by new employees, many of whom were girls and women earning $6 to $9 per week. The business was an immediate success, and on Feb. 3, 1906, the Intelligencer reported “Industry less than a year old outgrows plant” and “New buildings to be erected to facilitate work.”

Unfortunately, a year and a half later, the financial crisis known as the Panic of 1907 caused the stock exchange to fall almost 50% from the previous year’s peak. The economy crashed, and many banks and businesses were forced to file for bankruptcy, among them the Doylestown Hosiery Mills. On March 30, 1908, the contents of the hosiery mill were sold at receiver’s sale.

In the ensuing years, the building at 6 Lacey Avenue was converted to a residence. In 1960 it was described as a “duplex” containing one unit on each floor, both occupied by tenants. The structure remained residential, and in 2018 alterations were begun on the siding and windows of the “twin home.”

Workers removing the existing clapboard found the original signage of the Doylestown Hosiery Mills. One of these 113-year-old signs, which was painted directly on the original siding, has been preserved and is visible today.