Yorkshire-born Quaker John Bromley opened the five story Bromley Mill in 1860. Once he’d purchased his first building, set out creating a ‘textile empire,’ in a neighborhood that would become renowned in the industry.
In Manufacturing in Philadelphia 1683-1912, John James Macfarlane wrote that:
“From the tower of the Bromley Mill at Fourth & Lehigh Avenue there are more textile mills within the range of vision than can be found in any other city in the world. For miles in every direction is seen the smoke of thousands of mills and factories. To the northeast one continuous line of factories extends through Frankford to Tacony, six miles away. To the northwest through the smoke rising from the Midvale works at Nicetown the mills of Germantown are seen. To the west another line of mills stretched to the Falls of Schuylkill and Manyunk. To the southwest are Baldwin’s and the foundries and mills of that section. To the south are the hat and leather factories and the the southeast are Cramp’s shipyard and the numberless industries clustered along the river Beyond all these are the mills and factories of South and West Philadelphia, some of them eight miles away.”
The final iteration of the Bromley Mill stands at Front and Jasper in South Kensington.
Illustration by Ben Leech via Hidden City Philadelphia.