Mount Hecla Mill, Marker J-104
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member drmellow
N 36° 04.418 W 079° 47.488
17S E 608823 N 3992791
Quick Description: First steam-powered cotton mill in N.C. Operated ca. 1834-50 in large brick building that stood 2 blocks N.
Location: North Carolina, United States
Date Posted: 11/11/2006 8:13:16 AM
Waymark Code: WMYAC
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member GeoGordie
Views: 40

Long Description:

Text on marker:

Mount Hecla Mill
First steam-powered cotton mill in N.C. Operated ca. 1834-50 in large brick building that stood 2 blocks N.

This historical marker is located on West Friendly Avenue at North Greene Street in Greensboro. It was erected in 2001.

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources has an essay on Mount Hecla Mill, from which the following is excerpted:

In her 1925 book Bettie Caldwell referred to the Mount Hecla Steam Cotton Mill as “long the pride of old Greensboro.” Completed by 1834 in the center of the city by Henry Humphreys (1787-1840), the mill was the first in North Carolina powered by steam. Eventually this mode of operation would become the standard (by 1905 sixty-seven percent of the cotton mills in the South were steam-powered) but at the time it represented an innovation. Textile entrepreneurs, among them Edwin M. Holt, consulted with Humphreys on steam technology.

Humphreys got his start in the mercantile business and soon profited to the point that in 1822 he could purchase the Greensboro mansion (later owned by John Motley Morehead) known as “Blandwood” The first Mount Hecla cotton mill, only the third built in the state (after Schenck-Warlick and Rocky Mount) was a typical waterpower driven operation opened in 1818 on the outskirts on Greensboro. By 1828 Humphreys had closed this mill and purchased a lot at the corner of Bellemeade and Greene Streets. He purchased machinery from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and brought down James Danforth to design and equip the mill. The masonry building was four stories tall with a basement, 150 feet long by 50 feet wide, working 2500 spindles and 75 looms.

An advertisement in July 1834 indicated that the mill was “in the full tide of successful operating.” Initially employing a mixed workforce of slaves and whites, Humphreys soon moved to whites only (100 in 1840 produced 3000 pounds per week), supplying “employment for numerous hands hitherto doing nothing for the community, and but little for themselves.” He issued scrip currency in 50 cents, $1, and $3 denominations featuring an illustration of the mill. Humphreys died in 1840 and was succeeded by his son-in-law Thomas R. Tate as operator of the mill. An ad in 1843 indicated that the mill was shipping “immense quantities” to distant markets but by 1850 it had relocated to the Catawba River in Gaston County and returned to traditional waterpower.

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Marker Name: J-104: Mount Hecla Mill

Marker Type: Roadside

Related Web Link: [Web Link]

Required Waymark Photo: yes

Local North Carolina markers without State Number Designation: Not listed

Visit Instructions:

Photos of your visit to the marker are required, but PLEASE, no old vacation photos taken just because it was there!

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Hawaiian Ninja visited Mount Hecla Mill, Marker J-104 4/2/2011 Hawaiian Ninja visited it
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