Blending Old and New
Wannalancit Mills blended the old with the new. Formed in the late 1920s, Wannalancit moved into the aging Suffolk Mills two decades later and adapted surplus machinery for the production of new types of fabrics—rayon, polyester, and acrylic.
In the 1970s owner Ted Larter looked in new places for skilled employees. He needed mechanics familiar with the old looms he bought from closing factories. Faced with a local workforce less interested in millwork, Larter recruited workers from Colombia where shuttle looms continued in use. This strategy allowed Larter to keep the Wannalancit in operation until the early 1980s, decades longer than most of Lowell's textile makers.
Today, this old structure has been converted to new uses as offices, classrooms, and a museum.
[Photo captions read]
A Colombian textile worker (left) formerly employed at the Wannalancit Mills.
Lionel Turcotte, a longtime employee at the Wannalancit Mills (right), shown here with a shuttle loom during the final weeks of the mill's operation.
Erected by National Park Service.
Topics. This historical
Location. 42° 38.958′ N, 71° 18.981′ W. Marker is in Lowell, Massachusetts, in Middlesex County. Marker is on Suffolk Street north of Father Morissette Boulevard, on the left when traveling north. Marker is along the former Wannalancit Mills' southwest elevation. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 600 Suffolk Street, Lowell MA 01854, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Suffolk Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); "Quiet as the Grave" (within shouting distance of this marker); Keepers of the Gate (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Stele for the Merrimack (about 300 feet away); St. Anne's Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Irish Labor (approx. 0.3 miles away); Debating Slavery (approx. 0.3 miles away); Life on the Corporation (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lowell.
Also see . . . Wannalancit Mills. (Submitted on May 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 185 times since then and 72 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 3. submitted on May 27, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.