Preserving North Carolina's Last Textile Landscape: The Case for Henry River Mill Village

Kelly Autumn Carroll

Preserving North Carolina's Last Textile Landscape: The Case for Henry River Mill Village
Carroll, Kelly Autumn
Thesis Advisor(s):
Clark, Carol A.
Master's theses
Historic Preservation
Permanent URL:
M.S., Columbia University.
This paper investigates the history and architecture of the functionally obsolete and abandoned Henry River Mill Village and offers a preservation strategy for the site. This thesis contributes to the historical narrative of the textile industry and the landscapes that emerged from this industry in the state of North Carolina between 1880 and 1915. Based on research via primary and secondary sources, a site visit, interviews with historians, planners, non-profits and local and state leaders over a year-long period, it became apparent that traditional preservation strategies for Henry River were not appropriate and/or viable options. The preservation strategy offered is for the site to function as a cultural resource set in a public park, with the extant and ruinous architecture stabilized and interpreted, with the exception of the company store which should be rehabilitated and renovated. The site will function as a connector to the region and state's greenway and blueway corridors. To conclude, preservation in this form, as a "ghost town," represents the state's textile heritage in the purest form because its ruinous state does not conceal the post-industrial condition of the departed textile industry. Refurbished historic sites are not realistic representations of the condition of the recent past. Henry River Mill Village could serve as the first and only representation of an intact, post-industrial textile landscape in North Carolina.
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