North Carolina, like many states, was once home to numerous mills dating back hundreds of years. Early on, many mills ground grain or produced lumber and were gathering places for those living in rural areas. As industrial processes progressed, mills began producing cotton and other textiles. The Deep River, literally translated from the Native American word sapponah, has a long history. Eventually the Deep and Haw Rivers converge to form the Cape Fear River, which extends all the way to the coast.
In American Revolutionary times this river and the nearby land saw various skirmishes play out. At the Alston House, also known as the House in the Horseshoe due to its location in the horseshoe bend of the Deep River, was one such sight. Battle reenactments are done there annually and you can read about it in one of my posts here.
Numerous dams cross the river, usually there is or was a mill near the dam, and the river crosses from the North Carolina Piedmont across to the Coastal Plain at the fall line. It is quite a rocky river in places. One such mill that sprung up on the Deep River is the Franklinville Mill, which dates back over 175 years and the nearby historic town soon followed. As a textile mill, Franklinville was a source of jobs for the local community for many years. When finances became an issue, the mill eventually closed in 1977. In 1984 the town of Franklinville had a large number of houses listed as an historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fire swept through the old mill in September 2010, decimating most of the structure. Today all that remains is the ruins of a once great old mill. Of the two structures unaffected by the fire it is as if time stopped. Through broken glass, you can still see the old machinery with yarn ready to weave fabric and on the building up on the hill you can see old sewing machines waiting for seamstresses that will never come back. Each time I visit more of the old mill is crumbling in, becoming even more unsteady. Piles of brick have disappeared, finding new homes elsewhere I imagine. And yet what is left of the old mill stands tall, defiant against the elements until one day she too shall crumble.