Southern States Construction in Springfield, TN is honored to be able to restore this
property on North Main Street and bring life back to this iconic place. The vision is to preserve the history, and create a place for guests to gather, eat, shop, and play.
These buildings will eventually be filled with a 400-seat grand ballroom, two other smaller
event venue spaces, food & beverage, retail and service spaces, and a potential boutique hotel.
Follow our progress on Facebook and Instagram. Visit our Forum on this page to tell
us your Woolen Mills or NASCO story and reconnect with others that have memories.
Do you have a relative that was a former employee, or were you a former employee?
Connect with us and others here as we preserve all of the history that took place on this site. We will use this information to invite you to a "homecoming" event in 2023.
Visit our Southern States Construction website and learn about our many
other projects at www.southernstatescon.com.
History of 27 North Main Street
This property is remembered for two things in our community, the Springfield Woolen Mills - organized in 1903 to create jobs for workers out of work due to prohibition, and NASCO - a nationwide school fundraising program that created a hub here after the Woolen Mills closed in 1963.
The Springfield Woolen Mills provided jobs for over 400 citizens, and was a thriving enterprise, manufacturing blankets to Army and Navy personnel through WW I & WWII, to American Indians, Kentucky horse stables, steamships, and Pullman Railroad Cars. This was the only mill to continue full operation throughout the depression. In later years, The Springfield Woolen Mill added clothing to their catalog with men's shirts, women's wear and bathrobes in 12 authentic Scottish Clan plaids, herringbone, solids and twills. Several outlet stores opened in Tennessee and Kentucky. Blankets were hauled on trains to department stores including Sears, Roebuck & Co., Lord & Taylor, and R.H. Macy & Company.
Not only did the Woolen Mills provide needed jobs, but it also provided family to one another. There were company-organized weekend lake trips, movie nights paid for at the theatre by The Mills, square dances, surprise birthday celebrations, company-sponsored floats in the Fair Parade, and complimentary night classes at a local school. Even during big snows and bad weather, there were few absentees. Employees felt better with friends at The Mills than they did sitting at home during bad weather. There would be "snow ball fights" out in front of the plant with employees and bosses. The company's newsletter, the "Woolen Yarns" featured news about family who had been in town visiting employees, birthday dinners, vacation exploits, births, and deaths. The Woolen Mills built homes around the plant for long-time employees, and some homes were given to them after many years of service. A church was built on the property to provide services for workers.
The Springfield Woolen Mill closed in 1963 reportedly due to the low cost of blankets being imported from low wage countries. 350 people lost their jobs.
In 1964, NASCO, Inc. purchased the Woolen Mill buildings and operated until 1998 in this location. The company's primary role was manufacturing and selling fundraising items to schools nationwide. Products included nylon jackets, candles, greeting cards, stadium cushions, litter baskets, plastic tumblers, jackets, raincoats, gym bags, and Rex all-purpose cleaner. Some of these items - baseball caps, wrestling mats and shoes - were imprinted with major college and NFL logos and were mass merchandised to Walmart and Kmart stores. At the height of the company, revenues hovered around $80-$100 million, and the company employed 1500 workers in sales, office, and production staff, in 9 manufacturing and warehouse facilities in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Ohio.
NASCO too was a family-oriented company, greatly valuing and rewarding its employees for successful performance. The company newsletter, "The Nasconian" featured employee family photos, wedding anniversaries, factoids about employees, births, company news, and new product information.
NASCO was acquired by Innovo in 1991, a merger that proved to be unsuccessful long term for the company. Innovo pulled out of the former Woolen Mill building in 1998. and moved production to a central hub in Knoxville, TN. At this time, there were only 75 employees at the Springfield plant that lost jobs.