January and Wood Company

The January and Wood Company, a cotton mill, was located on West Second Street in Maysville, Kentucky. The business closed in late 2003 after struggling with a decline in orders 3 4 and at the time of its closure, it was the oldest business in the city.6

History

The January and Wood Company linage dated to 1834, when William Shotwell constructed a cotton mill along West Second Street at the edge of Maysville.8 It was acquired by William Gosling four years later and then by Richard Henry Lee in 1844. Lee expanded operations and constructed a four-story building that fronted Second Street adjacent to the original mill.

Andrew M. January, Christian Schultz, Thomas Mannen and William Stillwell purchased the cotton mill in 1848,8 although Stillwell sold his interest a year later to Henry Cutter. January and Benjamin W. Wood purchased the interests of Schultz, Mannen and Cutter in 1851 and formed a partnership under the name January and Wood.

January passed away in June 1877 and his interests were purchased by A. January Grundy and Andrew’s daughter, Harriet January Cochran.8 B.W. Wood was elected president and Robert Cochran, husband of Harriet, became secretary and manager. Cochran served in those positions until his death in January 1896.

The cotton mill was formally incorporated in 1888 as the January and Wood Company with a capital stock of $200,000.8 It became known for its high grade cordage, twines and carpet warp, the latter marketed as Maysville Carpet Warp.

With the exception of a brief closure from November 1861 to March 1862 during the Civil War, due to the inability to secure cotton, the mill remained in continuous operation.8 It was one of the few that maintained operations throughout the war, and paid as much as $1.75 a pound for cotton.

One of its first major commercial expansions was the Sears Roebuck and Company, which inked a deal with the textile firm in 1915.8 January and Wood became the first in the nation to offer carpet warp direct to the weaver from the manufacturer. Additional deals were made to G.C. Murphy Co., Southern States, Ace Hardware, Woolworth’s, Kroger, Shillito’s, K-Mart, Coats and Clark and General Motors.9

A fire in May 1915 destroyed a cotton shed, consuming 400 bales of raw material.8 New electric motors were installed in the power house in 1918 and was operated by the Maysville Gas and Electric Company.

By the 1930′s, January and Wood consumed 5,000 bales of cotton per year, producing two million pounds of finished goods with an annual payroll of $150,000.8 By the 1970′s, the company had expanded into synthetic fibers, including rayon and polyester, and processed over 10,000 bales of cotton, rayon and polyester per year and employed over 200.9 Changing product needs led to sales declines in the early 1980′s, and many of the traditional product lines were replaced with prepackaging and synthetic fibers manufactured on different types of machinery. Commercial wrapping, crochet, household and meat packing twines were added, along with netting and welting cord.

Due to declining business operations, January and Wood ceased operations in late 2003.3 4 8

Demolition

In August 2004, the JT Thorpe Company opened a branch office on the site of the former mill.3 Thorpe specialized in the supply and installation of the inner workings of factories.6 Kelly Bradford and Jeff Schumacher purchased the former January and Wood plant and formed the Cotton Mill Limited Company in April 2006.2 6 The purchase included the blue warehouse on Wall Street but not the offices of JT Thorpe. The intention was to demolish the oldest portions of the factory6 and the company filed for a demolition permit.2 No future plans for the property was proposed.1 Demolition began soon after on the sections of factory that did not contain asbestos.

Work to tear down the buildings was halted on the cotton mill on June 15, 2006 after the owners failed to notify the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet of the tear-down.1 A contractor had arrived on the site to conduct asbestos abatement and commented that the Cabinet needed to be notified per state law. Realizing that the state had not been given notice, the contractor did so himself. The Cabinet reported that “asbestos containing material had been disturbed” 5 and a written notice of violation was issued on June 26, however the Cabinet did not penalize the owner. Bradford and Schumacher hired a certified contractor that removed the remaining asbestos in a proper manner.5

Demolition was set to resume on November 28, 2006, but no further work progressed.5 The mill site was sold to Jerry Lundergan for $220,000 on January 19, 2007,2 who resumed demolition work in the summer.7

Digest

  • Name: January and Wood Company
  • Location: 231 West Second Street, Maysville, Kentucky
  • Years of Significance: 1834-2003
  • Status: Demolished

Sources

  1. Maynard, Misty. “January and Wood demolition hits a snag.” Ledger Independent (Maysville), June 16, 2006. May 18, 2007 Article.
  2. Maynard, Misty. “Lundergan purchases January and Wood Cotton Mill property.” Ledger Independent (Maysville), January 22, 2007. May 18, 2007 Article.
  3. Story, Justin. “JT Thorpe, a local institution.” Ledger Independent (Maysville), March 11, 2005. May 18, 2007 Article.
  4. “Loyal customers help local business.” Ledger Independent (Maysville), August 18, 2003. May 18, 2007 Letter to the editor.
  5. Carlson, Carrie. “Asbestos abatement complete, demolition of cotton mill to continue.” Ledger Independent (Maysville), November 28, 2006. May 18, 2007 Article.
  6. Maynard, Misty. “New owners have differing plans for cotton mill.” Ledger Independent (Maysville), May 18, 2006. May 18, 2007 Article.
  7. Maynard, Misty. “Old cotton mill coming down slowly, but surely.” Ledger Independent (Maysville), 19 Oct. 2007. 21 Oct. 2007 Article.
  8. Toncray, Marla. “A look back at January and Wood, Inc. – Maysville Cotton Mills.” Ledger Independent [Maysville] 23 Jan. 2008: n. pag. 13 May 2014. Article.
  9. January and Wood: 150 years of textile history. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2014. Article.