Thursday, July 9, 2020

100 S. Railroad Ave

Today 100 South Railroad Avenue is the home of the Mason Dixon Auction house.  In 1911 the corner lot only held a shack that sold oysters.

above Sanborn Fire Insurance map of 1911

In 1929 William Roy Wilson (1873-1947)  purchased the lot and by the first part of 1930 had built a garment factory on the lot.  Roy Wilson was from Hebron and he had garment factories in Hebron Vienna and Delmar.  He started a shirt factory about 1927 in Delmar and as stated above he consolidated his operation into one building on the corner of Railroad and State.  His factories usually employed from 50 to 70 people.  In 1932 he built a bungalow at the back of the factory for his plant manager.  In the late 1940s or early 1950s the home was torn down and a block addition was added to the factory.

above Roy Wilson in 1934

In the 1930s through 1980s Delmar, like most Eastern Shore towns had a number of garment factories.  In the 1930s "J Feldman and Sons" had a factory and "Banks" had a factory in Delmar.  Usually referred to as shirt factories the factories in Delmar seem to handle pants instead of shirts.   The factories gave employment to a number of women.  The factories paid on a piece pay scale and depending on how many pieces you did a day determined your pay.  The pay made in the 1930s was between 75 cents to a dollar a day.  Payday was every two weeks.  The pay was low but beat working on a farm and it helped the single women survive and helped the married women's when the railroad laid off their husbands. The impact of how many women worked in these factories is realized when you look at the female obituaries from 1980 on through 2010.  You see a recurring sentence of "worked at such and such shirt factory for 20 years", "was floor lady at such and such shirt factory" and for men it was "machine repairmen or warehouse foreman for 20 years at such and such shirt factory."  By the 1990s our elected politicians were sending all of these jobs overseas. After the jobs left you would see in the same obituary "worked as care worker at such and such nursing home."

above pants factory workers in 1950s/

The Wilson Pants factory continued on after his death in 1947 until the late 1970s.  In 1979 Interco Inc, an international corporation, by way of their Devon Apparel division took over the factory and called it Delmar Sportswear.
1980 ad

Delmar Sportswear closed down about 1989 and in 1990 Mike and Patty Conklin took it over and put Mason Dixon Auction in the building.

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