Early in the 20th century, textile mills dotted the landscape across North Carolina. Few of these mill towns have been preserved well enough to tell their stories like the town of Cooleemee, in Davie County North Carolina.
Bring Your Horse-Teams, Your Mules, Your Oxen and Your Sons…
The video linked to your left, produced by UNC-TV, tells the story of Cooleemee… from theories about how the town got its name, to the history of Erwin Mills newspaper ads asking farmers to bring their horse teams, their mules, their oxen and their sons to come and help build a brand new town on the banks of the South Yadkin River.
The video describes how the mills generated good profits for the mill owners who turned around and poured much of those profits into the community to build schools, playgrounds, baseball teams, homes and more for their employees.
In Cooleemee, The “Community” Remains Strong
While the closing of the mill in 1969 should have dealt a death-blow to the town, the “community” remains strong. Local citizens describe the modern town of Cooleemee as a great place to live, a great place to grow up and a great place to raise a family.
Cooleemee is very proud of what they have and they want to share it with everyone.
Textile Heritage Center Museum
Cooleemee’s Textile Heritage Center Museum is a lovingly restored tribute to the men and women that created North Carolina’s textile industry. The museum is featured in the video and tells the true story of the mill hands and the lives they lived. In this wonderful museum, working people form the pantheon of heroes that built the town and sustain it still today.
The Mill House Museum
The Mill House Museum, 1 block away from the Textile Heritage Center, is a home built in 1905 that has been lovingly restored to tell the story of how the people of Cooleemee lived. People from mill villages across the southeast come here to reconnect with the history that so many mill villages have lost forever.
The Bull Hole, given its name after a bull ox fell to its death there is also included in this video.
History As Told By Those Who Lived It!
While historians often tell the story of mill towns in terms of the power that mill owners wielded over the communities they built, in Cooleemee the cotton mill workers themselves are telling their own story of life in a thriving and bustling mill village.
Thank You UNC-TV and Thank You Cooleemee!
Thank you UNC-TV for helping tell the story of Cooleemee and to the people of Cooleemee who continue to invest in their wonderful community, keeping that story alive, ready to write the next chapter.
Plan Your Visit
The Textile Heritage Museum is located at 131 Church Street in Cooleemee, North Carolina and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Contact them at 336-284-6040, or visit them on the web at www.textileheritage.org.