Near Burlington in Alamance County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
The Rise of the Textile Mill Communities
Many merchants profited from the changing times and began to invest in industry. Charlotte engineer D.A. Tompkins and others believed the key to the South’s future was textile manufacturing, and they championed the “Cotton Mill Campaign” to boost economic development. Industrialists soon constructed textile mills along North Carolina’s railroads and rivers. To attract employees, they built centrally located villages, schools, and churches. All investors needed were workers, and they found willing takers among the region’s struggling farmers.
We sold our cotton for five and a half cents.
Claude Thomas, a Union County farmer who moved to Highland Park Mill in Charlotte, 1914.
Increasingly, small farm families felt economic strain. With higher taxes, farmers needed to grow crops they could sell for cash, like cotton and tobacco. The rise in cash crop cultivation caused prices to fall, and families had to borrow money to survive. The stability of working in the textile mills provided an appealing alternative to many farmers. For large families, moving to the mills often made more sense than struggling to live off the land.
Traditionally, cooperation and hard work among family and neighbors allowed small farms to function. When families decided to move to the mills, they brought their farm values with them. The result was a unique combination of rural and urban – densely populated mill towns inhabited by transplanted farmers. The communities forged in these villages were both old and new. Community and family remained strong. Together, the mill villagers approached a new and different life – a life that revolved around production, set to the rhythm of the factory. In these close-knit communities,
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Notable Places.
Location. 36° 8.305′ N, 79° 25.67′ W. Marker is near Burlington, North Carolina, in Alamance County. Marker is on Glencoe Street, on the left when traveling west. Glencoe Village is 3 miles north of Burlington, NC from NC Highway 62. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Burlington NC 27215, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Living in a Mill-Centered World (here, next to this marker); Neighbors Divided (here, next to this marker); Cotton Dust and Poverty (a few steps from this marker); A Legacy of Community (a few steps from this marker); After the Whistle Blows (a few steps from this marker); Working the Shift (within shouting distance of this marker); Calling the Mill Village 'Home' (within shouting distance of this marker); The Mill Buildings (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burlington.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .
1. Glencoe Textile Heritage Museum (Submitted on July 24, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina.)
2. Glencoe Research Forum. This website provides information on historic Glencoe Mill and the restored mill village. (Submitted on July 24, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina.)
Additional keywords. Alamance Cotton Mill, Glencoe, Fabric, Textiles, Company Shops, Holt
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 24, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,073 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on July 24, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.