The predecessor to Van Raalte Silk Mills. Located at 84 Sweeney Street, now the site of the Gateway Center. The Niagara Silk Mills began here in 1898 and produced textiles for twenty years. In 1918 the business became the Van Raalte Silk Mills, known internationally for their silk stockings and silk gloves. The North Tonawanda History Museum has a baby quilt in its collection which was made from the scraps from the tie and shirt machine at Van Raalte and skeins of the raw fibres used to create their products. Van Raalte's processed fabrics were used in the manufacture of handkerchiefs, hosiery, gloves undergarments, and other items. At its peak, it employed more than 250 workers. It marketed its products around the worlds. In the early 1960's, its production equipment became obsolete and the plant's facilities were too limited to accommodate modern knitting and dyeing machinery. Operations were moved to other Van Raalte mills in the state. This plant closed in 1963. Gateway Park now occupies the site where, for 65 years, silk mills overlooked the Erie Canal.
Photo: Courtesy of
A. Daniel Bille, North Tonawanda City Historian