Green Light! Go!!

In 1999, we were trying to convince my mother to move from Florida and up to North Carolina where she’d be closer to us, and during one of her visits, we toured various small towns around the Charlotte area.  We took her to Gastonia, and while driving around looking at houses, we found ourselves in the west side of Gastonia and could see a large red  brick building off of Highway 74.  Sometime later, we came back to check out the building, the Loray Mill, also known as the Firestone Mill.  This was the building that sparked my interest in photography, architecture, mills and textile history.  I was even one of the lucky photographers that was given access to the building and explored several of its floors.

Loray Mill, Gastonia, NC, October 2006

For years, Preservation North Carolina, Gaston County Historic  Preservation Commission and various folks interested in saving the mill have been trying to get the funding to begin renovations, transforming the abandoned structure into a combination of lofts and shops while preserving its history. As of the end of June, 2012, they received the good news that the renovation had a green light to start (http://www.gastongazette.com/articles/mill-72596-federal-loray.html). I couldn’t believe what I was reading!  Oh yes, I was excited to hear of this   🙂

I’ll post more about the Loray Mill in a future blog, but I didn’t want to let this news linger for too long.  Ted and I will periodically head over to Gastonia to see and photograph the progress as we can; I, for one, am anxious to see the project  happen and this grand old mill restored.  Congratulations to Lucy, Preservation NC and all the others working behind the scenes to save this historical building.  I’m sure if mills could speak, it would thank you.

Textile Heritage Festival 2012

About two years ago, I discovered and exhibited my textile mill photography in Greenville, South Carolina at the Textile Heritage Festival. Though I wanted to go back and exhibit again, various factors got in my way and it didn’t happen.  This year, Ted and I are making plans to attend the festival but this time as visitors.  When exhibiting, your time is limited to check out the other displays and visit with others who share the love of textile history.  Also, Ted didn’t see anything, as he stayed with our table while I did a quick look around.  This time, we’ll both get to see it.

The festival is held at the Upcountry History Museum, and includes music, song and information about life in the mill villages.  The folks of the Textile Heritage Society put a lot of time and effort to keep alive the mill village culture for future generations, and have been a source for me in locating the mills for my photography.  For additional information or any questions you might have, you can find them on Facebook.  Can’t wait to be there!!