Lisbon Historical Society - Lisbon Maine

Sharing Lisbon's Heritage and History

Archive Hours

Thursdays 1 PM to 4 PM

Meetings

Public Welcome
Free Admission

Second Wednesdays of the Month
7:00 PM
Doors Open at 6:30 PM

 


Worumbo Mill

Worumbo Mill FireWorumbo Manufacturing was an idea in the mind of two men, Edward Plummer and H. A. Tibbetts of Lisbon Falls. They sought to concentrate their efforts on highest quality woolens only they interested Oliver Moses of Bath in the establishment of the company.

Mr. Moses, a native of Scarbor­ough but, life-long resident of Bath, was prominent, in many business fields there. He became the first president of the Worumbo Manufacturing company.

The first spade of dirt was lifted in 1864 and actual produc­tion began the following year. That year, the firm lost $100,000 an amount worh over $2 million today.  The founders' dreams of highest quality products almost wilted.

Over the years of the operation of the quality of the fabric remained well known. There was an extensive rebuilding program in the early 1920s. At that time, under Walter Gutmann, an entire new mill was constructed (the white building at the northeast corner of the site) a new powerhouse, garage and dye house, were built. In the 1940's the equipment and machinery was updated.

In the 1950’s the pressure of domestic competition and foreign imports placed great pressure on the mill. The emphasis of men’s clothing began to wane and more women’s clothing was produced.

The mill became a victim of the changes in New England mill production with the announcement in September 1964 that mill would close and that 600 jobs would be lost. This announcement came less than two months after the announcement that the Farnsworth mill in Lisbon Village was closing with the loss of 300 jobs. The final act that was clearly evident to the community was the removal of the Worumbo name from the mill. The indentations from the letters were filled with cement and then painted over.

Efforts were made restart the mill which met with failure due to the collapse of the fabric industry. The ultimate blow came on July 23, 1987, when a fire destroyed the mill except for the white mill which had been built in the 1920’s. The valor and effort of many area fire departments prevented an even greater disaster.