Crompton-Shenandoah Company became a textile reality in Waynesboro in 1927. It’s parent company of Crompton Company of Crompton, Rhode Island started this branch to provide the dyeing and finishing of the gray corduroy and velveteen goods (woven fabric off the loom before any finish processing) made elsewhere. Waynesboro’s plant expanded on its site in 1936 and started weaving and dyeing corduroy, rayon, silk and nylon velvets, employing about 700 local workers. Crompton became the largest supplier of cotton corduroy and velveteen in the world with its six plants in the U.S. and others worldwide. The Crompton headquarters were moved to Waynesboro in 1970. Operations in Waynesboro ceased in the 1980’s due to its inability to compete with the cheaper labor and less stringent environmental and safety standards of its foreign competitors. Many Waynesborians remember driving by the South River and seeing the different colors of the water from the dyeing. One of the sorely missed features of the Waynesboro plant was the thrift shop where locals could purchase corduroy, velvet and velveteen.
Noted happening – During the test start-up phase of a newly installed boiler system in 1971, a terrific explosion occurred resulting in the loss of one employee. Windows were blown out, walls buckled and sagged, and the boiler was reduced to a twisted heap. Luckily, the building did not collapse.