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Commercial Building (Adelaide Silk Mill)
After the Panic of 1873 local business owners, realizing they needed to diversify the town's economy from iron manufacturing, raised $68,000 to lure the Phoenix Silk Mill of Paterson, New Jersey, to Allentown. Their success resulted in several mill buildings, the seeds of an enormous Lehigh Valley textile industry. The largest building was the Adelaide Silk Mill on the bank of Jordan Creek, east of the original town grid. A 1916 boosters’ pamphlet proclaimed the importance of the new building, citing its opening as “the first great step forward,” further noting that “Allentown since that time has not ceased taking big steps.” The opening ceremony was the largest and best-attended public event to that point in the city's history. Like all such buildings, the silk mill was shaped by its industrial process. The huge three-story building comprised three long brick wings to accommodate the power train for looms. The wings are arranged in a U shape; a later two-story wing
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