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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cannelton in Perry County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Fabric of Cannelton

Ohio River Scenic Byway

 
 
Fabric of Cannelton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 16, 2017
1. Fabric of Cannelton Marker
Inscription.  The Indiana Cotton Mill is remarkable in many ways. Its presence in the town might be compared to a medieval Gothic cathedral towering over a European village. It was built between 1849-1851 under the direction of Charles T. James with land donated by the American Cannel Coal Company. Architect Thomas Tefft of New England designed the building, which was constructed with variegated, locally quarried sandstone.

The 70,000 square-foot building was once the largest industrial building in Indiana and the largest mill west of the Appalachians. It faces the Ohio River with a 280 foot frontage, and is five stories high. The river was a source for transported raw materials as well as an avenue to market the finished product. Construction cost of this building was $80,000, and $175,000 worth of machinery was shipped from England. Local coal was used to fuel the steam boilers that powered it.

Many young women, experienced in mill work, were brought from England, and modest housing was built to accommodate the workers. Several hundred workers were needed to operate the 11,000 spindles whirling out 40,000 yards of sheeting per week. The mill
Marker detail: Panoramic Photo of Cannelton taken in 1863 image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Private Collection of Mike Rutherford
2. Marker detail: Panoramic Photo of Cannelton taken in 1863
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manufactured Union Army uniforms during the Civil War and materials for both world wars. It operated continuously from 1841 to 1954, and twice changed ownership. Today the Cotton Mill has been transformed from an endangered, vacant eyesore to a community asset, adaptively reused for public housing. It is included in the registry of Historic American Engineering Records and is a National Historic Landmark.

By the Way:
Twin 100 foot towers flank the entrance to the Indiana Cotton Mill; one contained a bell for calling employees back to work.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & CommerceWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the National Historic Landmarks series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1849.
 
Location. 37° 54.643′ N, 86° 44.717′ W. Marker is in Cannelton, Indiana, in Perry County. Marker is at the intersection of Washington Street and Smith Street, on the left when traveling east on Washington Street. Marker is located along the sidewalk, overlooking the subject building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 310 Washington Street, Cannelton IN 47520, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Indiana Cotton Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); Cannelton Courthouse (approx. ¼ mile
Fabric of Cannelton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 16, 2017
3. Fabric of Cannelton Marker
away); Gilbert Mortier Marquis de Layfayette (approx. ¼ mile away); Perry County Rocks (approx. ¼ mile away); Hawesville Railroad Station (approx. 0.6 miles away in Kentucky); Hawesville (approx. 0.6 miles away in Kentucky); County Named - 1829 (approx. 0.7 miles away in Kentucky); Captain William Davison / Steamboat Disaster (approx. one mile away in Kentucky). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cannelton.
 
Regarding Fabric of Cannelton. National Register of Historic Places #75000011. National Historic Landmark (1991). The adaptive restoration of the mill to a 70-unit, low-income apartment complex was completed in 2003.
 
Also see . . .
1. Cannelton Cotton Mill. The Cannelton Cotton Mill, built between 1849 and 1851 on the banks of the Ohio River, was designed to rival the famous mills of Lowell, Massachusetts and bring together northern industrialists and southern cotton growers. (Submitted on April 25, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Cannelton Cotton Mill (Wikipedia). It initially employed about 400 workers,
Cannelton Cotton Mill (<i>southwest corner</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 16, 2017
4. Cannelton Cotton Mill (southwest corner)
mostly women and girls, and annually produced more than 200,000 pounds of cotton batting and four million yards of cotton sheeting. Of 309 workers employed there in 1890, only 78 were men. As late as 1900, the mill employed 35 girls and 19 boys under the age of 18. Most of the building is five stories tall, but is dwarfed by 100 feet high twin towers on either side of the main entrance. One of these towers housed a fire escape stairwell and the other was a water storage tower for the fire protection. The building walls are of three foot wide blocks of native sandstone. (Submitted on April 25, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. National Register of Historic Places Nomination. The Cannelton mill, overlooking the Ohio River, manufactured thread and cloth for over 100 years from 1851 to 1954. Its innovative design used steam power and Southern cotton, and its utility and aesthetics attempted to make Southern Indiana an industrial center. (Submitted on April 25, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

4. Cannelton Cotton Mills. (exterior & interior photographs; Wikimedia Commons) (Submitted on April 25, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Cannelton Cotton Mill (<i>south elevation</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 16, 2017
5. Cannelton Cotton Mill (south elevation)
Cannelton Cotton Mill (<i>west elevation</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 16, 2017
6. Cannelton Cotton Mill (west elevation)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 25, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 34 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 25, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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May. 14, 2021