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DuPre Excelsior Mill

Coordinates: 33°46′15″N 84°21′53″W / 33.77083°N 84.36472°W / 33.77083; -84.36472
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DuPre Excelsior Mill
The Masquerade, January 2006
Former namesDu Pree Manufacturing Company Excelsior Factory, Standard Excelsior Works
Location695 North Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia 30318
Built1890 (or 1895 or 1905)
A concert at The Masquerade when it was located at the DuPre Mill
DuPree Mfrg. Co. Excelsior Factory on a 1911 Sanborn map

Located at 695 North Avenue in Atlanta, the Dupre Excelsior Mill (the actual name as of 1911 was "Du Pree Manufacturing Company Excelsior Factory")[1] may have been built as early as 1890 by DuPre (also spelled Du Pree) Manufacturing Company.[1] However, the mill fails to appear on Atlanta city maps in 1892[2] and 1899,[3] which both show the property as vacant. The first possible reference to the mill exists in the report of the death of Hubert Neal on July 17, 1899. According to the report, his accident occurred at the Atlanta Excelsior Works,[4] which may or may not be the same facility since at the time there were three excelsior factories in Atlanta.[5] The earliest concrete confirmation of the mill seems to be three lawsuits filed against Dupre in 1907 for accidents that occurred at the facility.[6] The mill does appear on the Sanborn-Perris fire insurance map of 1911 (section 250). At that time, the only road connecting it was Angier Street. It was noted to have been heated by steam power, no lighting, and a private water supply from a well 10 feet in diameter and 40 feet deep. A watchman made hourly rounds to seven stations.[1][5][7]

The Post-depression era saw an expansion of the mill in the late 1930s and early 1940s. After World War II, the demand for excelsior was radically reduced.[8] The introduction of foam rubber virtually eliminated the use of excelsior as stuffing material. Even so, the secondary packing material market continued for a short time. By the 1960s, the demand for excelsior was non-existent and the mill operated more as a storage facility than active production facility. By 1977, all the major mills in the Atlanta area had shut their doors.[9]

In 1977–1978, the mill was converted over to a pizzeria and barrio. With a Wurlitzer Organ as part of the setting, the Excelsior Mill featured everything from movies to bands to Shakespearian plays over its decade-long run; the pizza and barrio house survived until 1989. The Excelsior Mill, in its later years, is fondly remembered by blues fans as the residence of blues legend Willie "Piano Red" Perryman and an in-house pipe organ.[10] In September 1989, it closed for a time and subsequently re-opened as The Masquerade, becoming a well-known nightclub and concert venue.[11][12]

After the owner sold the property for a mixed-use land development, now called North + Line, locals and preservationists obtained historic protection for the original buildings, which were to be included in the redevelopment as a restaurant. The Masquerade announced in late June 2016 that it would reopen in the Blandtown section of West Midtown at 1421 Fairmont Ave in late August, just a week after closing its historic mill location.[13][14] However, this was thwarted by a lawsuit filed by a developer planning to build single-family homes across the street in the industrial area. In mid-September, a deal was reached to temporarily house the club in Kenny's Alley, the bottom level of Underground Atlanta, starting in late October, though the first concert wasn't held there until late November, just two days before Thanksgiving. The last show at the mill was on the 19th of that month.

On December 27, 2019, one wall of the building partially collapsed during construction.[15] As of February 9, 2021, the collapsed wall was repaired and the new space almost ready for tenants.[16]


  1. ^ a b c Insurance maps of Atlanta, Georgia, Volume 2, 1911, Sanborn-Perris Map Co. Limited, http://dlgcsm.galib.uga.edu/StyleServer/calcrgn?browser=ns&cat=sanb&wid=380&hei=400&style=sanborn/sanb.xsl&item=atlanta-fulton-ga-1911-s-250.sid Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-10-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Insurance maps of Atlanta, Georgia, 1899, Sanborn-Perris Map Co. Limited, http://dlgcsm.galib.uga.edu/StyleServer/calcrgn?browser=ns&cat=sanb&wid=700&hei=700&style=sanborn/sanb_lg.xsl&item=atlanta-fulton-ga-1899-k-000.sid Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Neal Is Killed By A Loose Belt: Hurled Against Floor and Ceiling by Belt Which Held Him". The Atlanta Constitution. July 17, 1899. p. 5. Retrieved October 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ a b "Diversified Industries". The Atlanta Constitution. September 29, 1886. p. 7. Retrieved October 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Three damage suits against one man". Atlanta Georgian and News. April 19, 1907. p. 2.
  7. ^ Seventh Annual Report of the Commissioner of Commerce and Labor of the State of Georgia for the Fiscal Year ending December 31, 1918. Georgia. Dept. of Commerce and Labor. 1919. p. 81. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  8. ^ "The historic Excelsior Mill: a labor of love is a family legacy". riverreporter.com. Archived from the original on 2010-02-25.
  9. ^ History by a Graveyard : The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills Records, Robert C. McMath, Jr., http://www.library.gatech.edu/fulton_bag/history.html
  10. ^ Godshalk, Merrell (July 26, 1985). "'Piano Red' Perryman dies of cancer at 73". The Atlanta Constitution. p. 3-A. Retrieved October 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Drennen, Eileen M. (September 1, 1989). "Mill to Masquerade, New Club Unveiled". The Atlanta Constitution. p. E1, E4. Retrieved October 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ DeVault, Russ (September 5, 1992). "The Masquerade turns 3, and it's one big party". The Atlanta Constitution. p. Leisure 12. Retrieved October 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Green, Josh (June 22, 2016). "Exclusive: Meet the Future Home of The Masquerade". Curbed Atlanta. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  14. ^ Ruggieri, Melissa (June 22, 2016). "The Masquerade reveals plans for new home on Atlanta's westside". Atlanta News Now. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  15. ^ "Historic DuPre Excelsior Mill Partially Collapses During Construction". Georgia Public Broadcasting. 2019-12-28. Retrieved 2021-08-20.
  16. ^ "Legendary Masquerade building has rebounded after structural collapse". Urbanize Atlanta. 2021-02-09. Retrieved 2021-08-20.

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