Henry River Mill Village
|Henry River Mill Village|
|Village (ghost town)|
Henry River Mill Village is a small textile village in Burke County, North Carolina. It is an unaltered but now-decaying example of an early industrial environment in Burke County. Today the remaining buildings of the Henry River mill village are traces of the industrial heritage of the county.
Built as a planned community, the village was a self-contained complex with its own mill, dam, water and fire-protection systems, and company store. In later years the village gained amenities such as walkways, terraced green spaces, and field stone retaining walls. Today most of the village's original buildings remain sited along a small gorge of the Henry River, just west of Catawba County, North Carolina. The site is private property but can be driven through via Henry River Road. It is located a short distance from Interstate 40 via an exit near Hildebran.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2015)|
In 1904 Michael Erastus Rudisill laid out the mill and village on a 1,500-acre tract, chosen for its hydro power potential. Rudisill, along with his brother Albert Pinkney Rudisill, built the village and engineered the dam and mill building along with David William Aderholdt, Miles R. Rudisill, and Marcus Lafayette Aderholdt. The mill was incorporated as the Henry River Manufacturing Company. The company manufactured fine cotton yarns. Beginning in 1905, a 30-foot reinforced concrete dam was constructed with a three-story brick mill building. In its early years, the mill operated 4,000 yarn-making spindles. By the time it shut down in the late 1960s, the mill had 12,000 spindles and produced fine combed yarn for lace. The mill building burned in 1977.
The residential area of the village consisted of approximately 35 small worker's cottages. Twenty-one are still standing today. These 1-1/2 story duplex houses were laid out along the steep contours of the river's northern bank. The workers lived in boarding houses or workers' cottages built by the company, which were leased at nominal fees.
Around 1907 the four mill owners, the Rudisills and the Aderholdts, built new homes for themselves just outside the village. Although one burned in 1935, three of the four houses are still standing today.
Since the loss of the main mill building, the centerpiece of the village today is the two-story brick company store building. This building served as a mill office with the upper floor used as a school room and for church services from 1907-1917.
In 1912 a steel truss bridge engineered by the Rudisills was built across the Henry River. When built, it was reputed to be the highest bridge in the state. During the 1916 flood this bridge was one of the few not destroyed. In 1960 a new concrete bridge replaced the steel truss bridge.
The Henry River Mill originally ran on waterpower. In 1914 a steam plant was installed then in 1926, the mill was converted to electric power. The mill was closed for several years and was purchased by Wade K. Shepherd in 1976. Equipment and materials were stored in the mill building when it burned in 1977.
The mill and village were put on the North Carolina Study List of the National Register of Historic Places. Late in 2002, through the Burke County Partners in Economic Development's Heritage Preservation Committee, efforts began to explore development of the historic site.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2015)|
- General references
- Mickie Vacca, "Voice of the Foothills" Newspaper, February 2003
- Lauren Williamson, The News Herald, Morganton, NC—March 27, 2005
- Sharon McBrayer, Hickory Daily Record, Hickory, NC - May 9, 2011
- Specific citations