Firestone Cotton Mills of Canada began operations in 1936 in a building purchased from the Oxford Knitting Mills in Woodstock, Ontario.
The building was known as Plant Number 1, located at the corner of Oxford and Ingersoll Streets. Plant #1 manufactured cotton for tire cord cotton reinforced tires. The cotton was used until the 1940’s when rayon was introduced. Today tires are reinforced using a mixture of nylon and polyester.
During the Second World War, many of the positions at Firestone were held by women. Firestone was also the first job for many immigrants arriving to Canada during the 1950’s.
In 1965 Plant Number Two opened at 1200 Dundas Street East. It allowed for expanded tire cord production using larger, cost-effective spools. In 1984, a $6 million expansion took place and gradually integrated employees from Plant #1 into Plant #2. Plant #1 became a warehouse.
In 1967, Plant Number Three was built for the production of Nylon 6.
Firestone employed 170 employees (35 salaried and 135 hourly) from the Woodstock area. On October 4th, 2017 an emergency meeting was held to announce that production would be gradually scaled back and production would cease entirely by the end of 2018.
Today the property is vacant and stripped of everything inside. During my visit there was electricity. If you visit, exercise caution as some of the doors will lock behind you and you could trap yourself in between them.