When Piedmont residents and schoolchildren come to Mulberry's Market in downtown Piedmont to pick up a special treat or sandwich, they may not be aware that this market was named in honor of part of the historic events surrounding an amazing historical site in the city--the Piedmont Ladies' Silk Culture Club. Created during the era of the Arts and Crafts Movement, which stressed creative and imaginative artistic endeavors, it was located just a few blocks away from the market at the top of Oakland Avenue. 

At this site, were over 6000 mulberry trees, and a two story building in which more than 100 women worked spinning the thread that came from the cocoons that grew among these mulberry trees.  It was in fact, the first factory in Piedmont, and the only factory in Piedmont's history! 

Initially developed about 5000 years ago in China, silk was, for many years, the primary product traded by China to the West, using what was called the Silk Road.  The process of making silk was a closely guarded secret for all those many years.  That, of course, has changed over the years, but China still remains the largest producer and exporter of silk.  The annual world production goes to 70 billion miles of silk filament today. 

The appeal of this wonderful fabric is what drove the Ladies' Silk Culture Society to begin production, but the hard facts were that, even with 6000 trees, they still did not have enough of the mulberry leaves for the many silk worms that they needed to feed, and they closed in 1895.

So when you drive by both locations, you now have a new insight into downtown Piedmont!


Posted by Bruce Wagg on


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