American Textile Industry

I read today that only two percent of the clothing we wear in the United States today is made here. China, Vietnam and Bangladesh largely provide the rest. It’s not always been that way, and in fact as recently as the 1990s the American textile industry was vibrant and productive. Much of that industry was centered in North Carolina and Southern Virginia. For example, Dan River Mills in Danville, Virginia had the largest cotton mill in the world at one time. Today, these famous icons of American industry have been shuttered, and most of their plants either sit vacant or have been demolished. Below are two photos of Spray Cotton Mills in North Carolina which was closed in 2001 after 105 years of steady operation. What remains today may not be an asset to the community in which it is located, but to us photographers it’s a treasure just waiting for our inspection…and resultant images. As an aside, I think the vegetation growing on top of the tower in the first photo tells a story of “life after death.”



3 replies to “American Textile Industry

  1. SuperMike:
    As a fourth generation “linthead” watching the textile industry go down the tube was heartbreaking. Being there during the heyday of King Cotton i saw the industry go from being the community patriarch furnishing everything needed in the community to being the eyesore that You photographed.
    . The mill company sent me and dozens of other “lintheads” to Clempson for four years and a degree. Now the huge mill has been razed, the community has fallen into utter disrepair and the families have re-located to other towns and other jobs. Only one textile mill is operating in Anderson County, SC, now–When i was discharged in 1965 there were 34 mills in operation here

  2. great picture mike. and the narrative too. NC has many such plants. there is one company that i use for jeans and such: All American Clothing company ( their’s is quite a story.

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