The Cooleemee Mill will be open to visitors this Saturday, February 23, from 2-4 PM for a community open house. This is a free event and the mill is located at 314 Main Street, Cooleemee, NC.
With over 1,000,000 square feet, the Cooleemee Mill is the largest structure in Davie County. For many decades the mill was Davie County’s largest employer and the economic engine for this region. Fully operational beginning in 1901, the mill was closed in 1969.
“If Cooleemee wants to survive, it needs its own economic engine,” says its mayor, Lynn Rumley. “The redevelopment of this old cotton mill is our best prospect but it’s going to take everyone putting their ideas in the pot.”
That process that will begin in earnest on Saturday, February 23rd from 2-4 pm inside the historic mill.
Creating a Vision for the Future
At the Mill Open House visitors will see exhibits about the days of mill work, photos of the Saxapahaw Rivermill project and displays of essays, art and design work from the elementary school’s 4th and 5th graders.
Dress warm, say organizers. There’s no heat in the mill. There will be plenty of hot coffee, hot cider and sweets.
Although the Mill Open House will be held in the new “Burlington” addition, every so often there will be a guided tour of the old first floor section, courtesy of Stokes County Yarn Company staff.
Many local people have expressed interest in going inside the old mill. Their parents or grandparents may have worked there. Or, they just cannot imagine its future potential without taking a look. There’s even interest from many across the river in Rowan County where a mill bus used to pick up workers from Woodleaf and Needmore.
“Although this is a ten-year project, the first phase of construction could begin as early as 2014,” says Rumley.
Cooleemee Mill Tour Details
Even planners ask that visitors park outside the main gate or just across Main Street. Walk through the small gate and toward the loading docks. Everyone who enters will be asked to sign an insurance waiver.
For more info, please call 284-6040 or 284-2141. The Cooleemee Cotton Mill Project is a partnership between the Town of Cooleemee, the Cooleemee Historical Association and the Davie County Economic Development Commission.
Its planning phase has been funded by a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields program and a design grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.