Wannalancit Mills blended the old with the new. Formed in the late 1920s, Wannalancit moved into the aging Suffolk Mills two decades later and adapted surplus machinery for the production of new types of fabrics—rayon, polyester, and acrylic.
In the 1970s owner Ted Larter looked in new places for skilled employees. He needed mechanics familiar with the old looms he bought from closing factories. Faced with a local workforce less interested in millwork, Larter recruited workers from Columbia where shuttle looms continued in use. This strategy allowed Larter to keep the Wannalancit in operation until the early 1980s, decades longer than most of Lowell's textile makers.
Today, this old structure has been converted to new uses as offices, classrooms, and a museum.
[Photo captions read]
· A Columbian textile worker (left) formerly employed at the Wannalancit Mills.
· Lionel Turcotte, a longtime employee at the Wannalancit Mills (right), shown here with a shuttle loom during the final weeks of the mill's operation.