Franklinville North Carolina
Franklinville is a small textile mill town on the Deep River. It is one of the more significant antebellum industrial sites in North Carolina but has not been well preserved or widely recognized as such. The town developed around the Franklinsville Manufacturing mill which was built in 1840, making it one of the oldest textile mills in the Southeast. A second mill, the Island Ford factory, was built downstream in 1846. Two small mill villages grew around the two mills and were legally combined in 1847 as Franklinsville. I'm not sure when the middle 's' was dropped from the name Franklinville. There are two extant textile mills in Franklinville (upper and lower). One is in ruins; the other is closed. The upper mill was the original Franklinsville Manufacturing mill, built in 1840. It was water powered and remnants of a dam on the Deep River and its power canal are still visible. The original 1840 structure of that mill had been almost entirely obscured by additions. The mill had been abandoned for decades and had burned several times. It was hit by another catastrophic fire in 2010. The substantial ruins of the mill were still standing in 2017 and are easy to access and explore. An effort was launched to preserve and even renovate the upper mill sometime before the 2010 fire. That effort seems to be inactive at this time. All of the photos on the page were taken in 2017 with the exception of the photo below from 2006. My old friend Damon Lapas gained access to the mill shortly before the most recent fire. Some mill equipment can be seen in his photos which are here: Franklinville - Damon Lapas. More of Damon's photographs are on this website of the Bellemont Mill and the White Furniture factory in Mebane NC. And more of Damon's work on his Flickr.
The lower Franklinville mill was built on the site of the 1846 Island Ford Factory. The current structure was mostly built in the 1950s but apparently contains parts of a 1895 structure. Franklinville has a few interesting historic homes and two turn of the century commercial buildings in its small downtown. Few, if any, of the original 1840s mill village houses survive in any form. Next to the ruins of the Franklinsville Manufacturing Mill are the ruins of what was presumably a early 20th Century grain mill. The grain mills' concrete foundations are visible and its glazed ceramic silos are still standing.
Mac Whatley has written a great history of Franlinville and its mills here: Historic Franklinsville
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