Encyclopedia Of Forlorn Places

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division, Danville Virginia

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

What would become Dan River Mills Company was founded in 1882. Dan River's first textile mill was built along the Dan River just north of downtown Danville. At that time the company was called Riverside Cotton Mills. Around 1909 the company planned and built a new mill and surrounding company town called Schoolfield just south of Danville. The Schoolfield mill was expanded over the years and eventually became much larger than the original Riverside mill. The photos on this page are of the Schoolfield mill. The Schoolfield milltown had some 800 houses, dormitories and several stores and churches. Many of the original milltown buildings are still standing. In 1951 the city of Danville annexed Schoolfield. At its height in the 1940s Dan River Mills employed 14,000 people at both of it's mill complexes in Danville.

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

In 2004 Dan River Mills entered bankruptcy. The company was sold in 2006 and production in Danville which had dwindled to almost nothing ceased entirely. Demolition at the Schoolfield plant is on-going. There don't seem to be any plans to preserve any parts of the the Schoolfield mill. The slightly older Riverside mill is still standing and has a better chance of being reused.

All of these photographs are were taken by my old friend Damon Lapas on a recent (2014) visit. Damon's Flickr Page is here.

"The rise and fall of Dan River Inc" from a local Danville TV station.

"Dan River Mills" from the Encyclopedia Virginia

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Division

Dan River Mills, Schoolfield Plant (Photo by Damon Lapas)