Mooresville Mill Village
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History


Beginnings
The First Mill Houses
Early Mill House Style
Mill House Styles
Construction of Mill No. 2
Immigration and Population
The Mill Village
Village Infrastructure
Women
Mill Complex in the 20's and 30's
A Visual History of the Mill Village (slideshow)
Mooresville's Textile Heritage Slideshow (Statesville Landmark Website)



The First Mill Houses of Mill #1

According to research done by UNC’s Southern Oral History Project, “by 1900, a full 92 percent of textile workers lived in mill villages owned by the companies that employed them.” The practice of providing housing around a industrial employment center was not an idea original to the southern cotton mills. Industrial villages already populated the industrial North. But post-civil war, a new textile industry in the south began supplanting its northern predecessorss, taking advantage of the Appalachian piedmont's water power and cheap, hungry labor. Broadus Mitchell's 1920 work The Rise of the Cotton Mills in the South extensively documents the phenomenon.

Mill House on Institute Avenue
Institute Street House

Following that trend, the Mooresville Cotton Mills built housing for its workers. As the mill grew, its need for workers grew. Mooresville in turn experienced an influx of workers from the countryside which created the need for new housing.

Several of the earliest mill houses built in the 1890's still stand today on Institute Avenue, North Church Street, and Liberty Street.

There is some discrepancy about the exact year these houses were built.The tax cards for these 5 houses, all built of the same pattern and materials, show 1891 as the construction date. However, they are recorded on plat maps as belonging to the mill, which shows an 1893 construction date on its tax card. Several possibilities could explain the discrepancy in dates:

  • the tax cards may be incorrect due to the tax assessor "guesstimating" the construction year
  • the mill actually started before the accepted 1893 date

These 3 room homes were all built following a simple pattern. Click here to read about the early mill house pattern.

 

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Mooresville Mill Village Initiative
last updated September 7, 2008