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Woolrich and Vicinity

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The abundance of creeks and streams in Clinton County gave rise to a thriving milling industry in the nineteenth century. The most significant mill in the county is in Woolrich in Pine Creek Township. John Rich II began by carding the wool for socks and blankets sold to loggers, then went into production at Plum Run in 1830 ( CN12). In 1835, he moved the company to a new, larger mill with greater water velocity on Chatham Run and founded an adjacent town. He named the town Woolrich after the company, which continues to thrive in Clinton County, making durable, rugged garments for outdoor activities.

Woolrich is readily recognizable as a company town, with two versions of workers' housing that line Park Avenue and Mill Street. The first version is a two-story two-bay frame gable-roofed house (c. 1910) at 1172 Park Avenue, and the second is a lower, one-and-one-half-story bungalow-style home (c. 1930) at 1178 Park Avenue. Both have full-facade porches. Other company buildings remain, such as the brick one-story school and the company store. Main Street hosts a group of more elaborate houses for management, including Charles Rich's large, well-preserved frame Second Empire house (c. 1870; 18 Main Street). The red brick United Methodist Church (1907; 1080 Park Avenue) is Gothic Revival with a square corner bell tower. The factory buildings (c. 1900; 2 Mill Street) are large, three- to five-story red brick buildings adjacent to the creek. The company's dedication to the outdoors—they outfitted the 1939 Byrd expedition to Antarctica and Himalayan climbing expeditions—is reflected in their commitment to maintain the 4,000 acres of mountain land adjacent to the village.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.

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