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Weldon in Halifax County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Mills at Weldon

An Early Industrial Park

 
 
The Mills at Weldon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, November 30, 2020
1. The Mills at Weldon Marker
Inscription.  
The Weldon terminus of the Roanoke Navigation Canal was the site of the first industrial complex in Halifax County. Located between the boat basin and the river, the site utilized the canal’s constant and regulated flow to power a variety of businesses. Prior to the American Civil War, the area behind the old power plant had a sawmill, two grist mills, and an iron foundry. By the 1880’s these were replaced by two larger grist mills. Also added was the first recorded striped bass hatchery in the United States.

In 1890, the Roanoke Navigation and Water Power Company began building the three story Weldon Corn Mill and a large 50,000 bushel grain storage facility. The mill was mechanically powered by a turbine on the eastern side of the building, and historians believe it also held the first hydro-electric power generator in the state of North Carolina. Profitable electric production led the company to build a dedicated power plant located behind the main mill in 1900.

The factory complex was purchased by the Roanoke River Development Company soon after the turn of the twentieth century. The new investors added a large
The Mills at Weldon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, November 30, 2020
2. The Mills at Weldon Marker
lumber planning mill and a seed oil mill, but loss of guaranteed water rights in 1912 and the advent of the Great Depression ultimately led to the demise of the complex.

In 1938, the Works Project Administration (WPA) removed all of the out buildings , converted the corn mill into a community center, and modified the basement of the grain elevator into a public swimming pool. The community center served as a focal point for Weldon social activities for over 30 years. Townspeople still speak of the many dances and parties held in the mill building and their summers spent swimming in the pool. The town of Weldon closed the facility in the late 1960’s and the buildings began a slow process of decay. In 2004, a local developer purchased the property and began to preserve these historical landmarks.

[Caption:]
The Weldon Mill site around 1920. The large field to the upper right is now River falls Park.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects series list.
 
Location. 36° 25.656′ N, 77° 35.584′ W. Marker is in Weldon, North Carolina
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, in Halifax County. Marker is at the intersection of Rockfish Drive and U.S. 158/301, on the right when traveling west on Rockfish Drive. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 Rockfish Drive, Roanoke Rapids NC 27870, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Roanoke Canal (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Wilmington & Weldon RR Trestle (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wilmington and Weldon Railroad (approx. 0.2 miles away); Weldon Railroads (approx. 0.2 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); Rockfish Capital of the World (approx. ¼ mile away); First Railroad (approx. 0.4 miles away); Benjamin S. Turner (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Weldon.
 
Regarding The Mills at Weldon. The historic Weldon Mills Building has been converted into a craft distillery.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 6, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 46 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 6, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 5, 2021