TEXTILES AND ALAMANCE COUNTY, North Carolina
1. Alamance County was an early leader in building and operating successful water-powered cotton mills in the South. From 1832 to 1880, Alamance County men established more than 8 water-powered mills, all located along the Haw River.
2. Alamance County’s cotton mill men were renowned throughout North Carolina and were generous in helping others set up cotton mills, including helping the Dukes who built 5 cotton mills in NC, and establishing the Pilot Mill in Raleigh.
3. The first textile mill in Alamance County was the Snow Camp Woolen Mill, established in 1830. The first cotton mill in Alamance County was the High Falls Mill (1832), which today is part of Copland Fabrics in Hopedale.
4. The first mill in the South to produce colored cotton plaid fabrics was the Alamance Factory (1837). It became famous for making the popular Alamance Plaids.
5. Alamance County had 30 textile mills operating by the turn of the 20th century.
6. Burlington Industries began in Burlington in 1923 under Spencer Love’s leadership, taking a chance on the new fiber RAYON and eventually becoming the world’s largest textile company in 1962. Unfortunately in 2002, the company went bankrupt after a hostile takeover by a corporate raider.
7. The city of Burlington attained the status of Hosiery Center of the South in the 1950s.
8. The first hosiery mill in Alamance County was Daisey Hosiery (1896). In 1950, there were 54 hosiery manufacturers in Alamance County, and almost everyone worked in a textile or hosiery mill from the 1920s to the 1950s.
9. Our present Alamance County textile companies are world-class international companies, producing tapestries, automotive and industrial fabrics, indoor-outdoor fabrics, home décor and business interior textiles, as well as several name brand hosiery operations.
(referring to the number of cotton mills in Alamance County)
“We wish every county in the State was an Alamance.”
“The good old county of Alamance don’t seem to be selfish in the establishment of cotton mills. Perhaps she knows that she is safely in the lead and don’t mind helping other counties along, especially if the situation and environment appear inviting. Some of the largest plants in the State have been built by Alamance people in counties other than Alamance. The Pilot mills of Raleigh is one of these. It was erected in 1892 by Capt. James N. Williamson and Mr. Wm. H. Williamson, of Graham, and Mr. O. H. Foster, of Raleigh.”