Interviews - Rowan, Savage
Burt Rowan (continued from page 17)
round the clock operation was the spinners." Mr. Rowan worked the 3 p.m. - 11 p.m. shift. Occasionally the mill would receive a rush order, so the mill would continue working on Saturday and Sunday. For his services, Mr. Rowan was paid 46 cents an hour. Every two weeks he would collect about $47.50. Mr. Rowan witnessed the effect the mill had on the community. "It kept the bread and butter on a lot of people's tables because of the coal mine strikes and other problems, and it really helped the economy." Mr. Rowan enjoyed most of his work at the mill. The best thing about his job was "The pay, because I was only 16 years old and that seemed to be pretty good to me."
William "Doc" Savage
Interviewed by Anne Failing
Mr. Savage lived in Lonaconing for most of his life. He remembered how the whistle at the silk mill would blow at twelve and five o’clock. The town activities were set to the mill's whistle. Mr. Savage worked at the mill for four hours. He had thought that he was being paid $1.53 an hour. When he found out that he was really being paid 53 cents an hour, he quit on the spot. The reason for his decision was that he wanted to make more money, and he could do that cutting grass or working in a store.
Mr. Savage did go into the retail business and eventually owned "Style Mart". He remembered that on pay day at the mill, many of the workers would come into the store and make purchases or take articles from layaway. The workers at the mill were occasionally paid in cash, or they would have their checks cashed at the stores. Lonaconing had seven retail stores and three dime stores. The residents were very partial to the store at which they decided to shop. When the economy slowed in Lonaconing, the shop owners would often help the members of the community. Many residents bought on credit, and occasionally the grocery stores and various clothing stores would not make the people pay back the credit. The shop owners also reduced the prices of their products so that the items would be affordable. Everyone in Lonaconing did not like to see a fellow man starve or go shoeless. "Everyone looked out for everyone".
Mr. Savage recalled a Lonaconing that was a thriving community. People came to Lonaconing to work. Many brilliant people resided in "Coney". One man corresponded with Albert Einstein. Holidays brought many people out into the streets for parades. Mr. Savage remembered how the streets would be packed with people. Lonaconing did not change right after the silk mill closed. It took a little time, but eventually, due to the lack of jobs and the arrival of large shopping centers, Lonaconing experienced an economic decline that saw the closing of most downtown stores.
Photographs: Above: Doc Savage and Lonaconing memorabilia.
Below: Parade on Main Street, Lonaconing, 1911
Allegany High School, Oral history project
Allegany High School, Cumberland
28 cms x 22 cms
Anne Failing, Erin Degyansky, Chris Jewell, Amber Sallerson, Dan Whetzel and Mike Lewis
Allegany County (Md.), History; Lonaconing, Allegany County (Md.), History; Lonaconing Silk Mill; Silk mills, History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1907-1957