After 1979 the buildings sat mostly vacant, until 2008 when Mark and Suzanne Winkelman purchased the complex with the idea of establishing a vibrant and diverse creative community. They renamed the complex “Pajama Factory” to acknowledge the rich history of the buildings.
Today, the Pajama Factory is attracting an eclectic mix of established and emerging artists, businesses, entrepreneurs, craftspeople, community groups and dreamers; drawing from the Williamsport area as well as from other parts of the country and the world at large.
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Weldon’s continued to operate a factory outlet store for a number of years.
Cobbler’s Shoes Manufacturers opened theÂ store,Â Cobblers Ladies Shoe Outletâ€”a tenant until October 2011.
1985 â€“ 2008
The complex was purchased by Ray Smith and renamed “Raytown”. Over the years it housed restaurants, a nightclub, and a country line dancing venueâ€”amongst other things.
Current tenant, Equinox Ltdâ€”a manufacturer of outdoor gear, apparel, and equipment for backpacking, hiking and campingâ€”started leasing space.
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On January 26th, Weldon Pajama Company (owned by the Harwood Company), purchased the complex for $350,000, and spent $100,000 in renovations.
Weldonâ€™s was the largest pajama factory in the world. (They also made sports shorts.)
- The Lucille Footwear Company was also housed in the complex during this time.
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- The factory experienced international fame in connection with the Broadway musical (and later the movie), The Pajama Game, starring Doris Day.Â Noted Broadway producer, George Abbott, sent representatives to get a feel for the factory to help guide the creation of the musical, and set designers took pictures for backdrops and borrowed items from the factory to use as props in the film.
The factory reopened and expanded in response to the end of World War I and an upturn in the economy.Â ItÂ turned out more than 12,000 pairs of rubber footwear a day.
With the advent of The Great Depression, local manufacturing moved to U.S. Rubberâ€™s plant in Naugutuck, Connecticut
Weldon Pajama Company began leasing a small amount of space in the complex.
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Construction started in 1883 and ended in 1919
- Built by Lycoming Rubber Company, a subsidiary of the U.S. Rubber Company, one of the largest manufacturers of all kinds of rubber goods in the United States.
- The Lycoming division made tennis shoes, KEDS sneakers, gym and yachting shoes as well as some miscellaneous â€œrubber-related products”.
Factory closed in 1910 during a downturn in the economy.
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In December of 2011, one of our tenants, Valerie Beggs, invited a group of the â€œWeldon Girlsâ€ for a reunion lunch. After lunch, they toured some of the studios, met a few Pajama Factory tenants, and even rode the elevator up to the 4th floor where they had all once spent their days making pajamas. The Weldon Girls continue to hold reunions at the Pajama Factory to this day.
You can read more about their reunion at this post on our Facebook page and you can see a picture from their most recent Pajama Factory reunion here.
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The factory was built between 1883 and 1919 by the Lycoming Rubber Company, a subsidiary of the U.S. Rubber Companyâ€”one of the largest manufacturers of rubber goods in the U.S. The Lycoming division made tennis shoes, KEDS sneakers, gym and yachting shoes, as well as some miscellaneous rubber-related products.
After 1932, the Rubber Company moved out due to a drastic decline in product demand and, until 1979, various companies utilized the space including pajama, underwear, and shoe manufacturers. The Weldon Pajama Company leased space in the building beginning in 1934 and purchased the entire complex in 1951. It became the largest pajama factory in the world. In fact, the factory was scouted and used as a model for the 1950s Broadway musical (and later the movie), “The Pajama Game,” starring Doris Day.
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Our goal is to be a leader in energy and environmental design and consideration.
The factory will be developed to meet LEED standards by maintaining pollution prevention methods, recycling and reusing materials that still have an effective use, implementing collection of recyclable materials, installing heating, ventilation and air conditioning appliances that are energy-star rated, reducing water consumption by 20% of the average use and pursuing feasibility of onsite renewable energy both solar energy and/or geo-thermal energy.
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The Pajama Factoryâ€”with nearly 300,000 sq ft of floor area and 8 buildingsâ€”will support about 200 tenants consisting of small creative businesses and artists in both live/work spaces and work only spaces. In total, we expect about 300 people to work in the building.
Studio sizes are as small as 200 sq ft and as large as 15,000 sq ft.
- 2nd floorâ€”work studios and for-rent loft residences
- 3rd floorâ€”work studios, rental spaces and loft residences
- 4th floorâ€”work studios and loft spaces
- 5th floor 1â€“2 bedroom condos ranging from 700â€“3000 sq ft.
The Pajama Factory has an expanding range of shared communal spaces â€” from well-equipped workshops and artist classrooms, to gallery and lobby space, retail and dining amenities.
The outdoor spaces accommodate a range of activities â€” from intimate performances to large exhibitions/events to community farmerâ€™s markets.
Also to be included are a roof terrace (with landscaping/planted green and solar panels), and work spaces supported by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Factory Works (including spaces for wood working, ceramics, photography, glass blowing, metal shop).
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