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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Burlington in Alamance County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village

From Farm to Factory

 
 
Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, May 22, 2010
1. Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker
Inscription. The whole matter of providing attractive and comfortable habitations for cotton operatives [is] summarized in the statement that they are essentially a rural people…while their condition is in most cases decidedly bettered by going to the factory, the old instincts cling to them.”
- Daniel A. Tompkins, Cotton Mill, Commercial Features, 1899.


For water powered mills such as Glencoe, their remote locations meant that industrialists had to provide housing. Owning the mill village and the workers’ houses also gave the company greater control over the workers and their families. When the Holts founded Glencoe, they relied on the principles described by mill developer Tompkins. They planned their mill village to attract and keep workers and to foster productivity and stability.

Glencoe was considered a “progressive manufacturing enterprise” with an especially attractive and well-run village. Founder James Holt and his son Robert took a personal interest in the operation. As at some other mills, the company provided community and recreational facilities to maintain a healthy and orderly community and encourage families to remain with the mill. These included a lodge hall, a chapel, a baseball field for the mill sponsored team, and a school. In the 1880s, earlier than many mill
Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker <i> reverse side image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, May 22, 2010
2. Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker reverse side
owners, James Holt required the children of the village to attend school for several years before they could work in the mill.

Reverse side of marker

Residents of the Mill Village

As at most cotton mills in the Piedmont, women and children comprised the majority of workers during Glencoe’s early years. Of 133 mill workers in 1890, over 2/3 were women and children. About a quarter of the village households were headed by women, many of them widows with children.

The situation changed in the early 20th century. In 1924, men held over 2/3 of the mill jobs, and only 2 children worked in the mill. The change resulted from child labor laws and state education rules, and from the agricultural depressions that forced more men to leave their farms and find manufacturing jobs, bringing their whole family to the mill village.

Village Design and Facilities

In typical form the mill stands beside the river. Nearby are the company store and office, and the residence of the superintendent. At a little distance are the more elaborate homes of the manager and the owner.
Rows of modest houses for workers line the two streets that stretch up the hill. In keeping with the idea of a rural setting, the Holts planned the village to have good-sized yards, plus individual and common garden plots. There are both 1-story,
Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
3. Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker
reverse side
1 ½-story and 2-story houses, which had from 3 to 6 rooms each. Most have front porches and many had separate kitchens in back. Families used outdoor privies behind the individual houses and shared a well among two to four families. They tended vegetable gardens and many kept a cow or chickens. At one time, the mill provided electricity to the houses during certain hours in morning and evening.

Community
From the working family’s perspective, the community was a close-knit one, in which members often cared for one another “like a family.” Although their work days and weeks were long and hard, village residents found many ways to socialize and enjoy their lives outside the mill – in church events, baseball, fishing and hunting. At the same time, residents knew that the Holts forbade union organizations and kept a close eye on all the residents’ activities, to maintain a stable working situation

 
Location. 36° 8.327′ N, 79° 25.66′ W. Marker is near Burlington, North Carolina, in Alamance County. Marker is on Glencoe Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Glencoe Village is 3 miles north of Burlington, NC from NC Highway 62. Marker is in this post office area: Burlington NC 27215, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker and Water Tower image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, July 25, 2010
4. Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker and Water Tower
of this marker. Glencoe - The Mill Buildings (a few steps from this marker); Glencoe - Power, Wheel House and Turbine (a few steps from this marker); Glencoe - Picker House and Dye House (a few steps from this marker); Glencoe Management Houses (within shouting distance of this marker); Glencoe - Company Office and Store (within shouting distance of this marker); The Rise of the Textile Mill Communities (within shouting distance of this marker); Living in a Mill-Centered World (within shouting distance of this marker); Neighbors Divided (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burlington.
 
Also see . . .
1. Glencoe Research Forum. This website provides information on historic Glencoe Mill and the restored mill village. (Submitted on July 25, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina.) 

2. Glencoe Textile Heritage Museum. (Submitted on July 25, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina.)
 
Additional keywords. Alamance Cotton Mill, Fabric, Textiles, Company Shops,
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNotable Places
 
Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker and Management House image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
5. Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker and Management House
Documentary images of the Mill Village. image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, May 22, 2010
6. Documentary images of the Mill Village.
on front side of marker
Documentary images of the Mill Village. image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
7. Documentary images of the Mill Village.
on front side of marker
Documentary images of the Mill Village. image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
8. Documentary images of the Mill Village.
on front side of marker
Documentary images of the Mill Village. image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
9. Documentary images of the Mill Village.
on front side of marker
Documentary image of Mill Village. image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
10. Documentary image of Mill Village.
reverse side
Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
11. Glencoe - Life in the Mill Village Marker
Features of the Mill Village Map
reverse side of marker
The Glencoe workforce in front of the Mill, c. 1895. image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
12. The Glencoe workforce in front of the Mill, c. 1895.
on the reverse side of marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 25, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 751 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on July 25, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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