Bartgis Bros Company - 29 Jun 2013
In 1820, the Thistle Manufacturing Company became operational. Unlike the other textile manufacturers, the Company wove a cotton fabric. The cotton duck was perfect for making sails needed in the Baltimore shipyards. In the 1920s, the Company shifted production to weaving treads for automobile tires. In 1928, the facility was acquired by a paper manufacturer. Simkins Mill took over the facility in 1957. A fire in 2003 severely damaged the mill and it has been vacant since that time. It is very visible along the banks of the Patapsco River on the Baltimore County side of the bridge at Ilchester.
According to published news reports, the River Road mill site, which has been operating since the 1800s, was used by the Connecticut-based company as a recycled paper mill until a fire destroyed the property in 2003. Another fire occurred in .
The company has been corresponding with Baltimore County and state officials on how to clean up the property, which according to county Building Engineer Donald Brand is open to the elements and 20 percent is deemed unsound. In the most recent letter (attached to this article), Battaglia said the company will continue to clean up and repair the property and hold a public hearing in September to answer questions from the public about the clean-up process.
Actual cleanup and repair is expected to start in 2013, under a state program that Simkins has been accepted to. The state Department of the Environment will oversee the clean-up of the 55-acre property. Once the property has been cleaned up, Simkins will either develop the property, sell it to a developer or sell it to MDE, Battaglia said.
"Since we are just beginning the implementation phase of the site work, it is impossible at this time to provide a definitive final use for this property, but Simkins does not intend to resume industrial operations on this property once exiting the [Voluntary Cleanup] program," he wrote. Simkins Industries will either redevelop the abandoned Simkins Mill site along the Patapsco River, or sell the property to a developer or the state of Maryland. Those are the options outlined in a letter sent by Simkins Chief Financial Anthony Battaglia to Baltimore County this month.
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