The Camden Public Library will host a “Knox Woolen Company Retrospective” on Saturday, Jan. 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. All former employees and others interested in Camden history and industry are welcome to attend. The event is part of the library’s history theme for January, “Camden’s Industries: Past, Present, and Future.”

The event will feature a slide presentation by Don Gross and others, and an exhibit in the Picker Room of Knox memorabilia from the Walsh History Center along with the black and white photographs of Bonnie Farmer taken at the mill before it closed in 1988. The library is hoping for help with the retrospective from the community, so if individuals have memories or photographs to add to the slide show, please send them to Heather Bilodeau at the library’s Walsh History Center.

At its peak the mill was the town’s biggest employer, with up to 400 employees during World War II. The Knox Woolen Company began operation about the time of the Civil War and made “endless” woolen felts used in the manufacture of paper. In its heyday the mill made use of Camden’s abundant resources: water power for the mill, wool from surrounding farms as well as wool shipped from around the world, and shipping by water to the paper mills upriver on the Penobscot. By 1905, the company employed 150 men and women with an annual payroll of $70,000. The year 1912 saw a three-story, 70-foot extension to its north wing, and in 1916, a 75-foot three-story addition along Washington Street. In 1942, a new wing was added on the corner of Washington and Mechanic streets, increasing the mill’s working and storage capacity by 15,000 square feet. The mill expanded again in the early 1960s, adding another 14,000 square feet to house two needle-felting machines. The Knox Mill assets, including land, machinery, and dams were sold to Mt Vernon Company of South Carolina in February 1982. Mt. Vernon closed the mill and moved its operations out of state in 1988.