The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and closed on most major government holidays including New Year’s, Martin Luther King, Jr., Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving (extended days), Christmas (extended days).
In the event of inclement weather please contact the museum to confirm operating hours.
*Admission to the museum is FREE (donations graciously accepted).
Address: 2406 Glencoe Street, Burlington, North Carolina 27217
Welcome to Historic Glencoe, North Carolina, one of the most well-preserved and restored 19th century textile mill villages in the southern United States. Stroll the peaceful streets taking yourself back in time to visualize and feel the hustle and bustle of one of America’s early textile mill communities where some of the finest plaid cotton fabrics were produced for more than 70 years. Built in 1880 along the Haw River, Glencoe Mills began operations in April 1882 with a concentration in manufacturing plaid fabrics, which were shipped all over the United States and around the world. One of ten of the earliest textile mills built in Alamance County during the 1800’s it helped ignite the textile boom in central North Carolina.
Begin your tour in the Textile Heritage Museum, located in the former Glencoe Company Store and Administrative offices, where you will find hundreds of original textile artifacts on exhibit from massive machine looms to knitting and sewing machines to the office equipment employees once typed the orders, billing, and correspondence for the mill operations. Some of those original documents and ledgers can also be viewed in the museum. The Glencoe Company Store is partially recreated with many familiar dry good products as well as exhibits representing some of the great textile corporations including Burlington Industries, Glen Raven Mills, Copland Mills, Holt Hosiery, Pickett Hosiery, and Dixie Belle Mills. Visitors can walk into the office of the first president and founder of Glencoe Mills, James H. Holt, whose portrait hangs prominently on the wall. This beautiful oil work of art was painted by well-renowned artist, William Garl Browne, Jr., who also painted such distinguished figures as U.S. President Zachary Taylor and several noted North Carolina Governors including Morehead, Graham, and Iredell.
The story of the revitalization of Glencoe began in 1997 with Preservation North Carolina leading this monumental endeavor. Prior to their commitment, the Glencoe Cotton Mills and village had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 16, 1979. One by one these dilapidated structures were purchased by individuals far and near, and the process of restoration began. In 2002, local inspired citizens of Alamance County entered the village wanting to preserve the deep-rooted heritage of an industry, which had built North Carolina and the Southeastern United States following the horrific devastation of the American Civil War (1861-1865). Mr. & Mrs. George and Jerolene (Jerrie) Nall, Dr. Sam Powell and Mrs. Kathy Barry joined together to head up the restoration and preservation efforts of the former company store and administrative offices of the mill. Their objective was to establish the Textile Heritage Museum, Inc. While this concerted effort was going on, Preservation North Carolina continued overseeing the restoration of the mill homes in the village, and Hedgehog Holdings LLC, a property development company in Raleigh, began restoring the industrial structures of the Glencoe Mills.
As the wood framed structures became livable homes again and the brick mill complex was transformed into new independent businesses, the museum gradually evolved, and by March 2004 it officially opened as the Textile Heritage Museum. While volunteers continued to work diligently for the next decade to preserve the amassed collection of textile artifacts, additional support was eventually needed to ensure the longevity of their passionate efforts. In September 2018, the Textile Heritage Museum, Inc. joined in a partnership with the Alamance Parks Department to secure the long-term future of this current 501-C3 non-profit museum. Visitation continues to increase with added special events, educational school programs, guided tours, the expansion of the Haw River Trail along the waterfront in Glencoe, and further marketing throughout the community and surrounding areas across the state and beyond.
The Glencoe Mill Village Historic District contains 41 residential homes, the Glencoe Baptist Church, a barber shop, a workman’s lodge, and ten varied industrial-related structures that make up this quaint friendly neighborhood. The textile mill industrial complex includes a three-story brick manufacturing facility of Italianate style architecture, a hydroelectric power house, the picker house, machine shop, a finishing room, napper house, dye house, cotton warehouses, and storage rooms, and a company store and the management offices. Just outside the village along Hwy 62 stands the grand two-story house built by Robert Holt, the second mill president. He lived in the house for some 23 years. Following the restoration of the house by George and Jerrie Nall, it was later donated to Elon University, which currently uses the house as an employee residence.
Today, Glencoe Mill Village continues to be a restoration work in progress and is still maintained by some of the original private residents, along with many new neighbors who take great pride in this very unique 19th century historic industrial village. The machine shop is the headquarters of the Alamance Parks Department Northern Division (Alamance Parks Department Headquarters is located at Cedarock Park) with artist studios located on the second floor. Also, located in the complex are the Alamance Partnership for Children, Carolina Chic Home Improvements, and The Chairman’s Retreat/Cutting Board Restaurant Special Event Center located in the former dye house facility. Preservation Burlington now occupies the Quonset hut (once an additional storage facility for textile operations built after World War II) as the Salvage Store, a retail store of vintage house fixtures, furniture, and other unique antiques. All proceeds go toward the preservation of historic structures in Burlington. Meanwhile, Hedgehog Holdings LLC, maintains a strong supportive presence continuing to stay dedicated to maintaining and preserving the industrial complex. There are extensive hiking trails (part of the Haw River Trail and Mountains to the Sea Trail networks) with foot bridges along the picturesque Haw River, where visitors can also put in kayaks and canoes as well as fish. The impressive mill dam is another splendid aspect of the Historic Glencoe Mill Village.
The Textile Heritage Museum, located in northern Alamance County, North Carolina (6 miles north of I-40/I-85 and 3 miles north of downtown Burlington) is currently the only museum in North Carolina solely dedicated to the preservation of the early textile industry of the Old North State.