Goshen is a small town of about 30,000 set in the heart of Amish country. Located in an area that makes many of the RVs in use today, it was the location of the motel we used during our RV repairs. It’s a charming town.
Our destination today was The Old Bag Factory, a large building with a long history.
The 80,000 square feet building was constructed in 1896 for the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Company.
In 1910, the plant was renovated and purchased by The Chicago-Detroit Bag Company. A 1924 merger put the building under the control of the Chase Bag Factory, and the factory became part of a colossal enterprise. The Goshen plant was one of the largest and most important of the 15 plants owned by the company. It was their specialty products division. The range of bags extended from waterproof burlap sacks to the fine, sheer paper used in Hershey’s Kiss wrappers. It stayed in operation until 1982.
In 1984, the wind and weather had taken it's toll. Electricity and plumbing were no longer functioning. New owners renovated it and opened a handcrafted custom furniture business. As they made space available to artists and small businesses, the concept was formed that eventually led to today’s Old Bag Factory complex.
Sold once again in 2010, the owner worked to bring new life into the building, and several small businesses are now located there. We enjoyed visiting the small shops and the way reminders of the building’s past are preserved throughout it’s rooms and hallways.
Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail is a project stretching over many miles depicting quilt blocks through flower gardens. We have encountered several over the years.
Portrayed in a mural on the building is another variation of the same quilt block.
Several quilted wallhangings adorn the hallway.
You are greeted with reminders on the wall of days gone by as you enter the foyer of the main building.
Some of the many shops:
Artisans are busy making their wares in a lot of the shops.
The lowest level has been left much as it was in the days of the factory and now houses a “yard sale type” flea market.
In this small upstairs shop of used musical instruments, the owner told us how he is trying to cater to local band students, and then performed a song for us he had written about himself and the shop.
Across the hall, the music of a piano could also be heard. The pianos were gorgeous and the owner/musician outstanding.
As we roamed the various levels, we became more interested in the historical items tucked in corners than in the shops themselves.
On one wall, examples of the bags manufactured were displayed, along with the screens used for the graphics.
This last display seems a good way to end our post.