Mills in Mysteries

I’ve been a fan of mysteries for quite some time. I love “Dead guy shows”, as Ted refers to them, and my Nook list has mostly cozy mysteries stored in it.  In Summer, 2009, I discovered an author I hadn’t read before, Leann Sweeney, who writes the “Cats in Trouble” series.  The story take place in the fictional town of Mercy, South Carolina, and the heroine of the series is Jillian Hart, a quilter  who makes quilts for cats.  Another reason I love the series is Jillian is also “owned” by three cats, Chablis, Syrah and Merlot. To keep up with new releases, I began following the blog she participates in, The Cozy Chicks, and on Facebook.

The Cat, The Mill and the Murder

Several days ago, the above cover to Ms. Sweeney’s upcoming book was posted and I immediately  was curious about ‘the Mill’ part of it.  I posted the question to her and she sent a reply back saying it was a textile mill.  I had intended to purchase the book on its release since I love her work, but rather than download it as an Ebook, I’ll be buying a copy of it to add to my textile library.

I contacted Ms. Sweeney for permission to  post the cover on my blog and she graciously granted it, as well as attaching a good copy of it for me to use.  She and her family moved to SC this past summer and while looking around, she spotted several of the old mills and the villages that surrounded them, which became the backdrop for the new story.  She also passed along the locations, so trust me, I’ll be heading out there with my camera in the future <G>.

The Cat, The Mill and the Murder has a release date of 05/07/2013 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other bookstores, either in ebook format or paperback.  In the meantime, you can read the previous books in the series as well as her Yellow Rose Mystery series.  I recommend all of them 🙂

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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.

Cannon Mill

Kannapolis, NC. Built:1887, demolished in 2006.

Ted and I were visiting a friend of his in Kannapolis, NC, several years ago and knowing there was a textile mill in the area, I brought the camera. We followed sign after sign directing us to Cannon Mill, and after some searching, we found it. Or rather what was left of it.

Cannon Mill, August 2006,

These two pictures were all that we could take of what remained of the old mill.  The North Carolina Research Campus has since been built on the mill site.

Cannon Mill, Kannnapolis, NC, August 2006Tp

To see more of the Cannon Mill and its demolition, I heartily recommend visiting Chad Mitchell Photography.  Click on Gallery and scroll down to Fieldcrest Cannon.

The Why and How

My pursuit of photography never really took hold until I discovered that I had an interest in architecture.  Skyscrapers, houses, churches… buildings fascinate me, a combination of beauty and function.  Even while watching movie or TV shows, I’ll be checking out the scenery for buildings.

I photographed my first textile mill, the Firestone/Loray Mill, Gastonia, NC, in 2002 and my appreciation and attraction for these particular buildings grew from there.  I’ve been asked whether I have family connections to the textile industry and the answer would be no.  However when I walk inside a mill, re-purposed or not, I feel a connection to the past and the people who worked there.  By photographing these brick giants, I feel as if I’m preserving a part of their place in history.

Remains of the Rock Hill Bleachery

The camera I’ve been using is a Canon PowerShot S5 IS that we purchased approximately three years ago and I’ve enjoyed working with it.  It’s a sturdy camera with a comfortable weight and still takes great pictures for what I need from it.  The tripod we bought for it was an additional blessing.

At the present time, I’ve photographed thirty mills in the North and South Carolina areas with one in Georgia, and I’m always on the lookout for more. I’m learning how to expand myself as a photographer  and hope others discover the beauty I see when I look up at a mill tower or feel just how tall smokestacks are when you stand at their base and look up.

There is much history in these structures and I’m honored to photograph part of it.

 

Hello world!

Loray Mills EntranceIf you’ve come to this page, you’re obviously checking out to see who I am, so let me satisfy your curiosity.  To begin with, I’m on of those unusual critters referred to as a native Floridian.  I’ve lived on both the west and east coast of the Sunshine State and hadn’t considered living anywhere else until I met my significant other, Ted.  Currently, we’re living in Fort Mill, South Carolina, a nice little burg just south of the lovely city of Charlotte.

Ted and I knew each other in passing through various fandoms, starting with Elfquest, the SCA and then through anime.  We married in 1987.  We share the house with three cats, Harley, Gracie and Lucy, collectively referred to as ‘the girls’.

Professionally, I’ve been a counter attendant at a movie theater, a cashier for a grocery story, worked in data entry, generated assembly instructions for baby clothing at a textile mill, and worked as a Radiology transcriptionist for several hospitals.

My hobbies and interests tend to be varied.  I’ve been working in counted cross stitch since I was 14.  Writing is another pleasure of mine, starting with fan fiction and then moving on to my own original stories, and have been published in various zines, books and online.  During the past few years I’ve become intrigued by two things: architecture and photography, and that branched off to photographing old textile mills.  It’s because of this interest that I’ve put together this blog, to share my passion for these old buildings, hence the name Textile Corridor.  The area we live in was one of the hubs of the textile industry.

In the following posts, I’ll share the mills I’ve visited and photographed, as well as some of their history.  Have to warn you, though – I may divert to another subject that comes to mind like books, movies or cats so you have been warned…  Hope you enjoy!