Dr. Thomas W. Hanchett
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The Chadwick-Hoskins mill villages lie some three miles
northwest of the center of Charlotte along Rozelles Ferry Road.
Created in the early 1900s, the district represents an important
era in Charlotte's economic development. Chadwick-Hoskins, like the
contemporaneous North Charlotte area
across town, was created as something of a "textile new-town," a
massive new district of mills and workers' housing that helped
solidify Mecklenburg County's position as a leading textile
producer, and pushed Charlotte toward being the largest city in
North and South Carolina. 1 The Chadwick-Hoskins
district is also of interest in North Carolina's business history.
In 1908 its mills became part of one of the state's first
corporately-organized mill chains. 2
Building the Villages:
The Rozelles Ferry Road, which runs northwest from Charlotte to
a crossing of the Catawba River, is among the county's oldest
trails, dating back to the eighteenth century. In 1861 it was
joined by the rails of the Wilmington, Charlotte, and Rutherford
Railroad, later known as the Seaboard Railroad. 3 As
late as the 1890s, the land near the crossing of the road and the
rail line was occupied by large tenant farms, whose owners included
such prominent local citizens as S.B. Alexander, W.S. Alexander,
and James Thomas. 4 The area seemed destined to remain
farmland for a long time, for it was almost two miles from the
border of the small city. This all changed rapidly, beginning in
the fall of 1899. Farmer William Vandever sold his 124 acre farm to
speculator Julian H. Little, who in turn sold it to the Southern
Real Estate Loan and Trust Company of Charlotte. 5 In
July of 1901 Southern Real Estate sold the acreage to a consortium
of Charlotte businessmen who planned a mill for the site along the
railroad. 6 Included were H.C. Clark, E.A. Smith, J.P.
Wilson, and F. Dilling, who made up the board of the recently
incorporated Chadwick Manufacturing Company. 7
The founders of the Chadwick Manufacturing Company were an
interesting lot. Wilson was a member of a locally prominent real
estate and textile family. Captain Dilling was from Kings Mountain,
North Carolina, where he headed the Dilling, Enterprise, and Cora
mills. 8 Smith and Clark were both transplanted New
Englanders. They represented the beginnings of a movement which saw
first individuals, then investors, and finally entire corporations
drawn south by the booming textile economy of the Piedmont during
the first decades of the twentieth century. Edward Arthur Smith had
come to Charlotte from his native Baltimore, Maryland, as salesman
for the Baltimore-based textile supply firm of Thomas K. Carey and
Son. In 1889, with the help of textile leader D.A. Tompkins, Smith
founded his own Charlotte Supply
Company, "general cotton mill furnishers, manufacturers of
leather belting, dealers in machinery, machinist's tools, etc."
9 Henry C. Clark came to Charlotte in 1900 to assume
presidency of Charlotte Supply, and to join Smith in his planned
mill-development ventures. 10 Clark had built a
reputation as a distinguished textile man and public leader in New
England, having organized Standard Mill Supply in Providence, Rhode
Island, and served as mayor of Warren, Rhode Island. That he would
leave to come south to Charlotte was indicative of the Piedmont
town's growing importance in the nation's textile economy. Possibly
to atone for being largely composed of "outsiders," the new
corporation chose its name to honor one of Charlotte's pioneer
textile men, Colonel H.S. Chadwick, who had founded the Louise
Mills. Work on the new Chadwick Mill began in early 1901, even
before the sales agreement for the land had been officially filed.
By August the Charlotte Observer could report that the plant
was nearing completion:
The Chadwick has the reputation of being the
finest-built mill in the State. The main building is three stories
high, 262 feet long and 78 feet wide. It is built of pressed brick
... by J.A. Jones of Charlotte. The mill is equipped with machinery
for the manufacture of yarns and a fine grade of convertible
sheetings. It will operate 12,000 spindles and 300 looms.
The article went on to describe the mill village taking shape
along the west side of Rozelles Ferry Road:
The extensive ground around the factory is as level as
a floor, and in laying off the plant the opportunities which it
offered for a model mill community were taken advantage of. A town
of 40 houses was built to the north of the mill as homes of the
operatives. The buildings are of wood, painted a pure white with
green blinds and present a pleasing appearance. The architecture of
all is the same. Each house contains four rooms, a front and back
porch. All the rooms are connected and there are closets and other
conveniences. A broad street is laid off in front of each row of
buildings and between them is a broad open space divided off into
gardens ... so that the occupants have the blessings of air and
light and the advantages of a garden large enough to supply their
needs year round.... The town store is a large brick building whose
interior arrangement is equal to that of a city store. It is not
kept by the factory, but is leased to an outsider, with whom the
operatives are at liberty to trade as they please.
The building of the Chadwick plant was only the first step in
E.A. Smith's plans for the land along the Seaboard tracks. In April
of 1903 he chartered a second corporation with investors J.A.
Wilson and Jerimiah Goff, known as Hoskins Mills, Incorporated.
13 The following month the new company took title to 121
acres of farmland owned by John T. McGee adjacent to the Chadwick
property, plus an additional twenty acres owned by Smith and his
wife Mary. 14 The three-story Hoskins Mill is quite
similar to that shown in drawings of the Chadwick Mill, and both
were built by J.A. Jones of Charlotte, who was on his way toward
achieving a national reputation as a construction contractor.
15 By November carpenters were laying the thick,
fire-resistant floors: "three layers of timber, with a total
thickness of about five inches. The top layer of the floors will be
of maple timber." 16 The building and its one-story
brick office may be seen today on Hoskins Avenue, about a half mile
north of the Chadwick site. More parallel rows of mill houses
sprang up. Linwood, Cromer, Cregler, and Goff streets south of the
Hoskins Mill, and Hoskins, Cloudman, and Ramsey streets north of
the plant are lined with early mill houses. Stores could be found
on Rozelles Ferry Road near the Hoskins Avenue intersection. Larger
homes, probably occupied by overseers and store-owners, lined
Rozelles Ferry across the railroad from the mill village.
Mecklenburg County built the two-story brick Hoskins Elementary
School at Linwood and Gossett streets (demolished 1985). And the
mill owners contributed land for a Methodist Church and a Baptist
Church, and donated 20% of the cost of the buildings. 17
Also, the McGee Presbyterian Church at 109 N. Cloudman Street was
established just outside the village in 1913. 18 Its
vaguely Victorian wood-frame sanctuary is believed to have been
erected soon thereafter. Reported the Charlotte Observer,
"When the new plant is in operation, the Chadwick settlement will
have a population of about 1600 people." 19 The creation
of a district of this size in a period of about three years would
be noteworthy today in Charlotte, but in the 1900s it was almost
breathtaking. In 1900, census figures showed that only 18,000
persons lived in Charlotte itself. 20 The new
Chadwick-Hoskins district increased the area's population by almost
ten percent (though it did not formally become part of the city
until 1960), and boosted the county's industrial capacity by more
than thirty percent. 21 What was even more remarkable,
investors William Holt, Charles Johnston, and Jesse Spencer were
undertaking a similar development across town in the North Charlotte area at the same time, as we
shall see in a later chapter.
The Hoskins Mill
The Chadwick Mill
The Chadwick-Hoskins Company, Incorporated:
The way in which the Chadwick and Hoskins mills had originally
been chartered was typical of the general practice in the Piedmont
in the late nineteenth and very early twentieth centuries. Usually
each mill was set up as a separate corporate entity. Interlocking
directorates might create small chains of several mills controlled
by one family or one management team, but on paper each was
distinct, with its own unique roster of investors. Stockholders in
these early decades were generally drawn from the region around the
mill in question. Most were farmers, storekeepers, or others with a
small surplus of cash to invest. With only one or two minor
exceptions, all money for Charlotte's mills prior to 1908 came from
a region within a hundred mile radius of the city. In the course of
the twentieth century, the hundreds of independent, locally-owned
mills have been consolidated into a handful of major chains, among
them Burlington, Ti-Caro, J.P. Stevens, and Textron Southern. The
large corporations draw capital from investors in both the old New
England textile region and the newer Piedmont area, and in fact
from all over the world. The development of these corporations has
had great impact on North Carolina history. The infusion of
out-of-state capital, as well as the marketing strength and
production-planning efficiency of the large companies, allowed
continued growth of the industry throughout the first two-thirds of
this century, though this was accomplished at the sacrifice of
local control over local industries. E.A. Smith helped start this
trend in 1908. On February 18, 1908, he filed incorporation papers
for the Chadwick-Hoskins Company, with capital stock of $3 million.
22 Chief investors in the company were Smith,
Charlottean E.C. Dwelle who had managed the Chadwick Mill, and a
father and son from New England who were famous in textile circles.
William F. Draper and his son Arthur J. Draper lived in Hopedale,
Massachusetts. William F. Draper's father George Draper had
developed the Draper power loom, used in nearly every textile mill.
23 William took over the lucrative business, and also
found time to serve as United States Congressman (1892-1897) and
Ambassador to Italy (1897-1900). 24 Arthur Draper came
south to live in Charlotte and serve as president of the
Chadwick-Hoskins concern. 25 He quickly became one of
the city's financial leaders, an official of the American Trust
Company and a founding member of the Stephens Company, developers
of Myers Park. With the backing of this New England capital, the
new corporation was able to take over operation of not only Smith's
mills, but also three earlier mills in the county. 26
The Hoskins and Chadwick mills became "Mill #1" and "Mill #2." The
1889 Alpha Mill (by this time
known as the Calvine Mill) near downtown Charlotte at Twelfth and
Brevard streets was "Mill #3." The 1897 Louise Mill in the
Belmont-Villa Heights section of the city
was "Mill #4." And the 1894 Dover Mill in the village of Pineville
south of Charlotte became "Mill #5." In a single stroke, the
Chadwick-Hoskins Company became the largest textile corporation in
all of North Carolina, operating 98,000 spindles. 27
Lakewood and Thomasboro:
In 1911, the burgeoning mill district was connected to the
still-distant City of Charlotte by commuter rails. J.B. Duke
planned an electric interurban railroad network connecting all the
major towns of the Piedmont textile region. 28 The
Chadwick-Hoskins directors saw to it that the Charlotte-Gastonia
link of this Piedmont and Northern Railway ran immediately to the
west of their mill villages, with a regular stop at "Hoskins
Station."29 The line allowed corporate officers to move
easily from the mills to downtown, and it also provided freight
service to the factories.
Not only did the new railway give the Chadwick-Hoskins #1 and #2
mills the advantage of two competing shippers, but it also brought
development of the surrounding land. The Piedmont and Northern
itself located its Pinoca shops (a word coined from a corruption of
Piedmont and Northern Company) just north of the mill villages. The
yellow-brick buildings survive in the 1980s much as they were
originally designed by Charlotte architect C.C. Hook. 30
To the west of the mills, farmer James E. Thomas began to create
the suburb of Thomasboro from his father's old farm. In fact, he
now listed his occupation in the Charlotte city directory as "real
estate." Despite the Piedmont and Northern Railway, the land was in
reality too far from town for convenient commuting. J.E. and
brother P.A. Thomas platted the land slowly throughout the 1010s
and 1920s, a street or two at a time. 31 Most of the
area today is covered with short meandering blocks of small
wood-frame bungalows. The district did not fill up until after the
Second World War, when new Veterans Administration mortgages and
widespread availability of the automobile made Thomasboro more
Southeast of the Chadwick Mill, the Piedmont and Northern
undertook a development of its own in the 1910s. An earthen dam was
built across a hollow near where Parkway Drive runs in the 1980s.
Behind the dam a lake filled up, and along its shores the
interurban company built a romantic park with pavilions, a theatre,
and picnic shelters. 32 Lakewood Park supplanted the old
Latta Park -- also built by a trolley company -- as the city's
favorite playground. The Park closed in the 1930s, and the dam and
the lake are gone. But if one looks closely, one will still see
street signs proclaiming "Lakewood Avenue," "Lakeview Street,"
"Fairground Avenue," "Parkway Avenue," and "Parkview Street," a
legacy of those earlier days.
Development after 1920:
About 1922, A.J. Draper stepped aside as president of the
Chadwick-Hoskins Company. 33 The new chief officer was
Benjamin B. Gossett, son of Spartanburg, South Carolina banking and
textile pioneer James Pleasant Gossett. The elder Gossett had begun
building up mill holdings in 1901 with the Williamston Mills of
Williamston, South Carolina. 34 By the 1910s he was on
the Board of Directors of Duke's Piedmont and Northern Railway, and
he and his son Benjamin controlled the Williamston, Brogan,
Calhoun, Riverside, and Toxaway mills in South Carolina.
35 Purchase of a large block of Chadwick-Hoskins stock
in the 1920s gave the Gossetts control of those five North Carolina
Mills. Not long after, they purchased control of the Martinsville
Cotton Mill Company in Martinsville, Virginia. 36 By
1939 the Greenville, South Carolina News could state that
"The Gossett chain, comprising twelve plants in three Southern
states (two other plants not in the chain) involves the creation of
a large manufacturing organization by one man, and the carrying on
of a fine tradition by the father's own son." 37
Benjamin B. Gossett proved to be a strong figure in his own right.
He came to Charlotte to live in posh Myers
Park upon taking charge of the Chadwick-Hoskins chain, and
before long was on the boards of the Seaboard and the Piedmont and
Northern railroads which served the city. 38 In
1932-1933 he was national president of the American Cotton
Manufacturers Association. 39 He became an outspoken
conservative voice for southern textile interests, and eventually
endowed the Gossett Lecture Series at North Carolina State
University. 40 Gossett took charge of all of the
family's mills upon his father's death in 1939. 41 Under
the direction of Gossett, as under Draper, the Chadwick-Hoskins
Mills continued to be spoken of as better-than-average living
environments. According to a 1917 article in the Southern
No mill company in the country has done more to
beautify their mills and surroundings .... There are trees,
flowers, and shrubs in all the villages, the mills are surrounded
with them, and the whole is kept in perfect condition. The lawns
are spacious and well-kept. Thousands of dollars have been spent to
keep the villages places of permanent beauty.
The Bulletin noted that the management under Draper
sponsored annual flower shows among its operatives. This still
continued in 1923 under Gossett, according to a second article:
Under the direction of a gardener the people have been
most enthusiastic in their efforts at raising fine vegetables and
flowers. Indeed the annual flower show given at the
Chadwick-Hoskins community is eagerly looked forward to by the
tenants. These exhibits take place in the fall and are among the
social events of the year. Prizes are offered for... the best
specimens. Several hundred dollars are given away each year by the
The article went on to note that the company provided a
community building with a reading room, gymnasium, auditorium, and
swimming pool. There was also a trained nurse available to
community residents, provided in cooperation with the Charlotte
Cooperative Nursing Association. 44 Remembered long-time
Chadwick-Hoskins resident Edna Hargett in 1979: "People would quit
the mills and go up to another mill. But after I came over here I
liked it so well I just stayed." 45 The Gossett years at
Chadwick-Hoskins seem to have meant more localized control of the
mills, with most stock being owned by Carolinians. In 1946, this
changed. 46 Benjamin B. Gossett merged all of his
family's holdings including the Chadwick-Hoskins mill villages with
the giant Textron-Southern chain. The corporation was based in
Delaware for tax purposes, but was controlled by a group of New
England investors. Gossett became a top officer in Textron
Southern, but evidently soon retired from active participation in
the business. He died in 1951. 47 Since 1946, the
Chadwick-Hoskins area has been in the hands of a succession of
different companies. 48 By the 1980s the Chadwick Mill
was gone, and the Hoskins mill used only for storage. The Hoskins
School succumbed to the bulldozer in 1985, but many of the early
operatives' houses remained, though privately owned. Now part of
the City of Charlotte, the district remains a working-class
residential area, punctuated by warehouses and industrial
1 United States Bureau of the Census, Sixteenth
Census: 1940, Vol. I, pp. 772, 976.
2 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office:
records of corporations book 2, p. 313.
3 LeGette Blythe and Charles R. Brockman, Hornets'
Nest: the Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (Charlotte:
McNally of Charlotte, 1961), p. 261. John Gilbert and Grady
Jefferys, Crossties Through Carolina (Raleigh, N.C.: The
Helios Press, 1969), p. 8.
4 Butler and Spratt, "Map of Charlotte Township,
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, From Recent Surveys... 1892."
Copies are in the collections of the History Department of the Mint
Museum, Charlotte, and the City of Charlotte Historic Districts
5 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Deed
Book 140, pp. 145, 160.
6 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Deed
Book 161, p. 76.
7 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office:
records of corporations book 1, p. 194.
8 Charlotte Observer, November 27, 1900.
9 William H. Huffman, "Old Charlotte Supply Company
Building: Survey and Research Report" (Charlotte: Charlotte
Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1983). Huffman quotes
the original incorporation document.
11 Charlotte Observer, August 12, 1901. See
also, Charlotte Observer, February 11, 1901 and July 4,
12 Charlotte Observer, August 12, 1901. I-85
now runs north of the old mill site, and there are no houses in
13 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office:
records of corporations book 1, p. 352.
14 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Deed
Book 179, pp. 110, 114.
15 Charlotte Observer, August 12, 1901 shows
the Chadwick Mill and mentions Jones' involvement. Information on
the Hoskins Mill comes from Dan L. Morrill, "A Survey of Cotton
Mills in Charlotte, N.C...." (Charlotte: Charlotte Mecklenburg
Historic Properties Commission, 1981).
16 Charlotte Observer, November 30, 1903.
17 Southern Textile Bulletin, December 20,
1917. Both of these early structures have evidently been
demolished, as has the Southern Industrial Institute also mentioned
in the article.
18 Date is found on the signboard in front of the
19 Charlotte Observer, November 30, 1903.
20 Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, "1950 Census Data"
(Charlotte: Chamber of Commerce, 1950). This report conveniently
includes city-wide and ward data back to 1850.
21 According to the Annual Report of the Bureau of
Labor and Printing of the State of North Carolina, 1900
Mecklenburg County had 94,392 spindles in that year. The 1904
report showed that the Chadwick and Hoskins mills had added a
combined total of 28,800 spindles to that number.
22 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office:
records of corporations book 2, p. 313.
23 For more on the loom and its impact see Feller,
"The Draper Loom in New England textiles, 1894-1914..." Journal of
Economic History, September 1966, p. 339. Carol Alice Galenson,
"The Migration of the Cotton Textile Industry from New England to
the South: 1880 to 1930" (Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University,
1975), p. 42, explains that "The Draper loom helped eliminate many
stops per day, resulting not only in longer hours per machine. but
also in assignment of more machines to each worker."
24 Who's Who in America, 1908-1909 (Chicago:
A.N. Marquis and Co. , 1909 .
25 Mrs. Owen Fitzsimmons of Charlotte, interview with
Thomas W. Hanchett, March, 1985. Mrs. Fitzsimmons is A.J. Draper's
26 Data for this paragraph were drawn from the
Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Deed Book 1217, p.
499, and the Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Printing
for the State of North Carolina, 1901.
27 Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and
Printing of the State of North Carolina, 1910. It was almost a
decade before Chadwick-Hoskins was surpassed in number of spindles
by the Cabarrus Cotton Mills corporation of Kannapolis and the
Wiscassett company in Albemarle.
28 Thomas T. Fetters and Peter Swanson, Jr.,
Piedmont and Northern, the Great Electric System of the
South (San Marino, California,: Golden West Books, 1974),
29 Kratt, p. 104 shows a facsimile of the transit
30 William H. Huffman, "Piedmont and Northern Railway
Station: Survey and Research Report" (Charlotte: Charlotte
Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1982).
31 The first major sections of Thomasboro were laid
out in 1914: Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds office: Map Book
332, pp. 16, 140, 161. The Thomas House, a handsome two-story
structure from the turn-of-the-century, stands at Marble and
32 For a picture of the park see Kratt, p. 106.
33 Spencer Turner served briefly as President between
Draper and Gossett. See Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds
office: records of corporations book 6, p. 449. Charlotte
Observer, November 14, 1951, noted that Gossett arrived in
Charlotte "about 30 years ago."
34 Marjorie Young, ed. Textile Leaders of the
South (Columbia, S.C.: James R. Young, 1963), pp. 76-77.
35 Ibid., p. 751.
36 Edgar T. Thompson, Agricultural Mecklenburg and
Industrial Charlotte: Social and Economic (Charlotte: Charlotte
Chamber of Commerce, 1926), pp. 139-140.
37 quoted in Young, p. 751.
38 Charlotte Observer, November 14, 1951.
Gossett bought the former Charles Lambeth House at 923 Granville
Road and lived there until his death.
39 Charlotte Observer, May 2, 1946.
40 Charlotte Observer, November 14, 1951.
41 Ibid. and Young, p. 751.
42 Southern Textile Bulletin, December 20,
1917, pp. 20-21.
43 Southern Textile Bulletin, November 22,
1923, pp. 92-93.
44 Thompson, ed., p. 140.
45 Edna Hargett, interview with Jim Leloudis in
Charlotte, July 1979. Southern Oral History Program files in the
Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina
Library, UNC-Chapel Hill. Quote is from a typed manuscript.
46 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office:
records of corporations book 23, p. 239. See also Charlotte
Observer, May 2, 1946, October 6, 1946.
47 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: death
certificate 1482. Charlotte Observer, November 14, 1951.
48 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Deed
Book 1308, p. 17; Deed Book 1994, p. 153; Deed Book 2192, p. 535;
Deed Book 2436, p. 256; Deed Book 3147, p. 15; Deed Book 3403, p.
Within the Survey Boundaries (original mill villages):
In and Around the Chadwick-Hoskins Survey Area
109 N. Cloudman Av. - McGee Presbyterian Church (c. 1913)
201 S. Hoskins Av. - Hoskins Mill and Office (1903)
Outside the Survey Boundaries:
1000 Marble Av. - Thomas House (c. 1906)
Off Ramsey St. at Seaboard Railway- Pinoca Shops (c.1911)
McGEE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (circa 1913)
109 N. Cloudman Avenue
The handsome McGee Presbyterian Church is one of a dwindling
handful of early frame churches in Charlotte. The congregation
organized in 1913 and took its name from John T. Gee, a prominent
landowner in the area. Ten years before, McGee had sold 121 acres
of farmland to the Hoskins Company for their new textile mill and
village. The McGee Presbyterian congregation was likely made up of
mill employees and nearby storekeepers, for when it was founded,
the area was still far outside the city. The present church was
presumably erected soon after the congregation organized. In its
massing and details it shows hints of the Victorian era of
architecture which was just drawing to a close in the early 1910s.
The structure has a cross-shaped plan with a short tower nestled
into a front corner. Roofs are gabled with exposed rafters in the
narrow eaves and simple bargeboards. Side windows have graceful
Gothic arches, while front windows are simple one-over-one-pane
double-hung sash. A round arch in the base of the tower reveals the
main entrance. Weatherboarded exterior walls complete the
HOSKINS MILL AND OFFICE (1903)
201 S. Hoskins Avenue
Within months of the opening of the Chadwick Mill off Rozelles
Ferry Road north of Charlotte, financier E.A. Smith began planning
a second large textile manufacturing facility. Smith was a
Charlotte resident and head of the mill-machinery sales firm
Charlotte Supply, but he was a New England native with strong
financial connections to the established capital resources of that
region. They helped fund construction of the new Hoskins Mill
beginning in April of 1903. The three-story brick building with
segmental-arched windows was nearly identical to the earlier
Chadwick facility which had been built by Charlotte contractor J.A.
Jones, who was then at the start of a career that would see him
become one of the United State's largest construction firms. Inside
Jones' brick walls, the construction was of heavy wooden timbers
and maple planking, utilized for its fire-resisting qualities.
Workmen gave the wood and brick interior a coat of glistening white
paint designed to reflect all available light and make the
workplace as brightly lit as the technology of the day would allow.
Today the Hoskins Mill is used only for storage, but it remains in
excellent original condition. Most other plants in the South had
their windows bricked in with the advent of air conditioning, but
the Hoskins retains its original wooden sash. With the Alpha
(Orient Building 1901) and Mecklenburg (1903-1904) it is one of
only three well-preserved mills in Charlotte, and an important
reminder of the era when Mecklenburg was among the South's most
important textile-manufacturing counties. Adjacent to the Hoskins
Mill, and also in excellent condition, is the one-story office
building, constructed of matching red brick with a slate hipped
THOMAS HOUSE (circa 1906)
1000 Marble Street
The Thomas House, located on a side street northwest of Bradford
Drive, is the most impressive structure in the Thomasboro
neighborhood. In 1892 the land was shown on Butler and Spratt's
"Map of Charlotte Township" as part of the farm of J. Thomas. In
the 1900s the Chadwick-Hoskins mill village was developed adjacent
to the farm, and in 1911 the Piedmont and Northern electric railway
connected it with the City of Charlotte. In 1914 J.E. Thomas and
P.A. Thomas, presumably sons of the earlier farmer, began filing
plats for suburban subdivision of the land as Thomasboro. The
Thomas House is by far the largest structure in this predominantly
one-story bungalow neighborhood. It is a two-story Rectilinear
style residence. Its basic form is a rectangle with a small gabled
side bay and a one-story rear kitchen wing. The high hipped roof is
sheathed in slate, and pierced by a hip-roofed front dormer. A
spacious one-story porch runs across the front and wraps around one
side, supported by square wooden columns. Trim is very plain, with
weatherboarded walls, narrow boxed eaves, and corner boards.
Windows are double-hung sash, with small upper panes in the
second-floor units. Large fixed-pane windows with transoms flank
the central front door. Preliminary title research indicates that
the Thomas farm may have some interesting historical connections in
the years before the present house appeared. An earlier owner was
Stephen Mattoon, first president of black Biddle Institute and
grandfather of socialist United States Presidential candidate
Norman Thomas. Famous American industrial pioneer Cyrus McCormick
also appears in the chain of title as guarantor of an 1880s deed of
PINOCA SHOPS (circa 1911)
off Ramsey Street at the Seaboard Railway
The 1900s were a heady time in the fast-growing Piedmont textile
region. Thousands of spindles were coming into operation every
month in an arc of cities and villages extending from Greensboro,
North Carolina, through Charlotte and Gastonia, and down to
Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina. A major industrializing
force was millionaire James B. Duke's Southern Power Company (Duke
Power today), which was beginning to provide cheap hydroelectricity
to the mills.. In 1911 Southern Power embarked on a secondary
project, the construction of an electric "interurban" railway. Duke
envisioned his Piedmont and Northern Railway connecting all the
textile towns, encouraging additional industrial development, and
not coincidentally giving Duke a piece of the lucrative freight
traffic then controlled by the Southern and Seaboard railroads.
Though legal maneuvers by the established rail companies kept Duke
from building the all of the line, the Piedmont and Northern did
operate trackage in North Carolina and South Carolina for many
profitable years. Construction started on the Charlotte to Gastonia
leg in April of 1911. This lucrative line linked the region's major
city with its most productive textile county. The Charlotte firm of
C.C. Hook and W.G. Rogers provided plans for all stations and
associated buildings. Today their distinctive red and yellow brick
designs may still be seen in Mount Holly, Gastonia, Greer, and the
Mecklenburg County community of Thrift. Duke's engineers chose the
name Pinoca ( a shortening of the company name) for the junction of
the Piedmont and Northern and the Seaboard Railway just north of
Charlotte. Here they built the shops to service the electric
interurban cars. The structure has two gable-roofed service bays,
and its walls of yellow brick above the window sill line, and red
below, carry out Hook and Rogers' distinctive motif.