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.
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.