I just heard that the he National Plastics Center and Museum building on Lancaster Street is closed to the public and the center's historical artifacts will be moved to Syracuse University. Leominster was known as the plastics capitol of the world. Growing up most of my relatives worked in this industry or in one of the supporting industries such as machine shops.
Plastic items ranged all over from combs, clothes baskets, hangers and garbage cans to name a few. One of my first jobs was as a machinist working for E.B. Kingman repairing molds. I also worked at Fitchburg Tool & Machine. Both of these companies are ones that are no longer running. Some of these plastic shops were put out of business by foreign companies being able to produce cheaper product. Others relocated to Mexico where labor is much cheaper. The few remaining companies are struggling.
This industry provided a lot of jobs for unskilled labor. Without these jobs people had to look elsewhere such as retail to find work. I never realized the scope of this until my oldest son now 17 started to look for a job when he turned 16. It took him over 6 months to find one.