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Crompton-Shenandoah Plant, Waynesboro.


Located along the South River in Waynesboro, the Crompton-Shenandoah Plant covers a 40-acre site with roughly 10 acres featuring buildings that date from 1926 through the 1970s.  The plant was established by The Crompton Company of Rhode Island, founded in 1807 and operated as one of the oldest textile firms at the time.
   The Waynesboro plant specialized in the cutting, dyeing and finishing of greige goods from the company’s Highland Mill in Georgia, and produced corduroy, velvet and velveteen fabrics. A major employer in Waynesboro for over 50 years before closing in 1982, Crompton-Shenandoah employed 1,200 workers at its peak in the late 1940s and was the leading producer of corduroy and velveteen fabrics in the world.
   The Crompton-Shenandoah Plant is representative of the move towards regional manufacturing in the early 20th century when capital investment from the North combined with the expansion of the railroads to allow raw goods to be harvested and initially milled in one location before being transported to another for finishing and then to markets. This approach also allowed for the specialization of textile plants in the various finishing methods such as corduroy and velveteen.
   Crompton-Shenandoah contributed greatly to the growth of Waynesboro as the first of several large industries that recognized the advantages of locating along the South River in the 1920s and 1930s. The Crompton-Shenandoah Plant complex, with the first plant constructed in 1927 and Plants #2 and #3 between 1936 and 1939 to allow for the production of velvets, represents the company’s expansion and diversification during the years between World War I and II.  The construction of the Office Building as well as the Gate House and other additions reflects the growth of the plant after World War II.
   With its many buildings and additions reflecting the utilitarian design of industrial architecture, the property is important as a textile mill complex. The interconnected buildings relate closely to the manufacturing process, as do their large open spans, lit by saw-tooth skylights and banks of industrial sash windows.