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ATS History

The property at 140 West Franklin Street was established as an industrial site in 1911 as the Hagerstown Legging Company. The company used leather  from a well known tannery in Williamsport to manufacture leggings, parts of horse harnesses and later in 1912, began making shoes. In 1914, a west wing was built and following that, an east wing was built in 1924. By 1939, there were two factories in operation with a production of 12,000 pairs of shoes per day or nearly 3 million per year and employed nearly 1,000 workers.  In 1950 a two-story Administration building was added and in 1968, the company became known as the Cannon Shoe Company.  The headquarters were moved to the Hagerstown location in 1977 and the company ceased operation in 1984 due to stiff import competition. The property stood idle until an offer for purchase was made to the church next door - Christ's Reformed United Church of Christ (est. 1854) - but it was not affordable to the congregation at that time. In June of 1997, an anonymous phone call was made to the senior minister, (Rev. Don Stevenson) that the building may be available to the church as a gift. After consistory approval, the church congregation almost unanimously voted "yes" to accept the generous gift, and as of July 1, 1997, the old shoe factory property was deeded to Christ's Reformed Church by the late Bennett Rubin.

Over the next two years (1997-1999), much energy, prayer and countless hours of discussion were devoted towards developing partnerships and a plan to utilize this gift for continuing God's work. In November of 1999, a plan was approved to renovate and demolish portions of the property and to secure non-profit tenants that serve human need and embraced a financial plan for needed revenue to operate the facility.

With our gift came a vision and a mission, which has been – and continues to be nurtured to bring us where we are today. The group named themselves Aspiring to Serve (ATS), Inc. as an autonomous organization formed and incorporated for the purpose of managing the property and the facility now named the Aspiring to Serve Community Center. We have made a significant improvement to our neighborhood and contributed to Hagerstown's revitalization goals.


© 2016 Aspiring to Serve, Inc.
140 West Franklin Street, Suite 600
Hagerstown, MD 21740