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Erlanger Mill Village Historic District


The Erlanger Mill Village Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in January, 2008. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Erlanger Mill Village Historic District lies approximately one mile north of downtown Lexington and encompasses a remarkably intact collection of 302 primary resources, the majority of which were constructed between 1913 and 1929. The roughly 85-acre mill village includes about nine north-south and five east-west blocks and is separated from Lexington by Interstate 85-Business/US 29-70 Bypass, a four-lane divided highway. Commercial development at the Winston Road (NC 8) exit has encroached on the southeast corner of the village, occupying the former site of the Erlanger playground, athletic fields, and swimming pool. The village's topography is nearly level, although the northern portion of the neighborhood is at a slightly higher elevation than the southern portion.

The rear lot lines of dwellings on Short and Seventh Streets form the district's southern boundary; Winston Road (where there has been some loss of original mill housing to commercial development) and Hames Street serve as the eastern boundary; the rear lot lines of residences on Second Rainbow Street create the northern boundary; and the rear lot lines of houses on Park Circle and Second Rainbow, Olympia, and Short Streets form the western boundary. The streets and avenues are arranged in a grid pattern except at the north end and around Park Circle and Short Street, where they are curvilinear. Charlotte landscape architect Earle S. Draper laid out the crescent-shaped First and Second Rainbow Streets at the north end of Broad and Hames Streets — the district's primary north-south corridors.[1] The street grid's orientation shifts slightly at the south end of the village in alignment with the mill complex. Service alleys running along the back of house lots between most streets allowed for trash collection. The alleys are no longer maintained by the city and some are in a state of disrepair.

The east-west streets are numerically numbered, beginning with Seventh Street at the south end and ascending north to Thirteenth Street. This numbering system was originally reversed, with First Street at the north end and ascending south to Seventh Street. Original street names also differed from current names: Mill Street was originally called Central Avenue, Hames Street was Church Street, Short Street was South Street, First Rainbow Street was Rainbow Street, and Second Rainbow Street was Snow Street. Ninth Street/Fifth Street was also known as Office Street. Most of the current street names were in place by 1948, as reflected on that year's updated Sanborn map.

The Erlanger Mill complex stands on a large parcel in the southwestern quadrant of the district. The mill office, a one-story brick building with a flared hip roof, deep bracketed eaves, and a hip-roofed porch supported by Tuscan columns, is located on the west side of Mill Street facing Ninth Street. One- and two-story mill buildings constructed from 1913 through the 1960s extend north, south, and west of the office. The 1913 Sanborn map indicates that the mill complex — under construction at that time — included the main brick mill building, a large weave shed, a picker room, a cotton warehouse, a water tower, and a reservoir.

The village's two churches, both executed in the Gothic Revival style, stand at the intersection of Ninth and Hames Streets. The Graded School's Grammar Department, later attached to Erlanger Baptist Church, and the Kindergarten and Day Nursery, now a heavily-altered residence, are the only extant community buildings in the village. The Grammar Department is similar in appearance to the mill office — a one-story brick building with a flared hip roof, deep bracketed eaves, and a hip-roofed porch supported by square brick posts spanned by a brick railing. The only surviving original features of the one-story frame Kindergarten and Day Nursery are the clipped-side-gable roof and a large stone chimney. Elane Lodge, a Tudor Revival-style hotel and teacherage; Milton Hall, the YMCA; and the Graded School's Primary Department once stood in the same block as the two churches.

The land within the Erlanger Mill Village Historic District is primarily devoted to residential use and includes both single- and multi-family housing. Development is dense, and all houses have compact front and back yards and narrow side yards. The mill houses are predominantly one story in height and are positioned near the street and close to one another, resulting in a harmonious rhythm of form, massing, and materials. All of the houses are frame, sided with weatherboards, wood shakes, brick veneer, aluminum, asbestos, rolled asphalt, Masonite hardboard, or vinyl. Most dwellings are three bays wide and double-pile, with side-gable roofs, brick foundations, brick interior chimneys, and shed-roofed porches, but there are a few hip- and front-gable-roofed houses. Many residences have rear shed or gable-roofed ells to allow for additional living space. A few two-story houses are located on Mill, Seventh, and Eighth Streets. Frame, concrete block, or metal garages, sheds, and carports are located beside or to the rear of a few dwellings.

Significant landscape features include four elongated, oval, grassy medians with recently planted trees that occupy the center of Broad Street in each block between Ninth and Thirteenth Streets, and the large round median and two small triangular medians at the center of Park Circle that were originally configured as one large median and contained the village park. Concrete sidewalks serve most of the district, but are not found in all sections. Stone retaining walls line the eastern sections of Broad and Ninth Streets, while the retaining walls on the north side of Seventh Street are stuccoed rubble. Most properties are shaded by mature deciduous and evergreen trees, and a variety of shrubbery and foundation plantings are found throughout the district.

The houses fall into two main categories: simple, basic house types with spare detailing and Craftsman Bungalows, some of which are remarkably stylish for a mill village. The more basic house types are, for the most part, distributed throughout the earlier sections of the village — a roughly eight-block area just north, east, and south of the mill complex that was built out by 1916-17.[2] In keeping with dwelling types found in other North Carolina mill villages, the majority of these early houses are modest one-story single and double-pile side-gable-roofed dwellings with shed-roofed front porches; a few L-plan, front-gable, and pyramidal-roofed were also erected during this initial construction phase.

The distinctive bungalows appear in the next development period (1917-23), when approximately fourteen blocks on Broad, Olympia, First and Second Rainbow, and the south end of Short Streets were laid out. The dwellings on the north side of Second Rainbow Street, erected between 1923 and 1929, were the last to be constructed. A 1917 Erlanger Mill Company recruiting brochure states that "the employees' cottages in the newer portion of the village are the most modern bungalow designs, being built with great individuality from thirty original special drawings." Mill employees remember that the houses were painted "green, maroon, and brown" while owned by Erlanger.[3] Variations in siding materials, gable configuration, porch size and location, porch post style, and window arrangement lend the bungalows interest and character, a complete departure from the earlier Erlanger mill houses. Based on a comparison of the Craftsman bungalows to identical house types in Reynoldstown or Cameron Park in Winston-Salem and Alexander Manufacturing Company in Forest City, it appears that the bungalows, and perhaps even some of the simpler dwellings, may have been constructed from kits manufactured by the Minter Homes Company.

Attempts to locate a Minter Homes mill village catalog and thus identify the Erlanger house types by name and/or model number have not been successful. A 1916 residential catalog from the Huntington, West Virginia Minter Homes plant includes dwellings quite similar to those in Erlanger; those house names are included in the following typology.[4] Erlanger Mill Company records classify the mill houses by number of rooms (three to six) and general appearance (frame houses or bungalows).[5] As the floor plans of each dwelling were not readily accessible for classification purposes, fifteen primary types of mill houses within the Erlanger Mill Village Historic District were identified based on form. Variations exist within each type in elements such as siding material and porch posts. The more basic, earlier house types are categorized as A through G, while the bungalow types are H through O. The typology reflects house forms that appear with great frequency (Types A, B, I, K, and N), as well as especially distinctive house forms that are relatively rare (Types D, E, F, G, L, and M). A few houses fall outside of these categories. Although most of the dwellings have been altered since they became privately owned after 1953, the majority retain their original form and character. Typical modifications include replacement of window sash, porch posts, and original pressed-metal shingle roofs; installation of porch railings; and application of aluminum, asbestos, rolled asphalt, Masonite hardboard, or vinyl siding.

The fifteen primary house types are as follows:

Type A: a one-story, three- or four-bay, single-pile, side-gable-roofed house with a central shed-roofed entrance porch supported by square posts (some of which are chamfered), six-over-six sash, a central chimney at the roof ridge, a brick foundation (in some cases brick piers infilled with brick or concrete block), weatherboards or wood shakes, and gable vents. Some dwellings have or originally had two front doors; others have rear shed- or gable-roofed ells. Thirty-two Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; 60 Park Circle and 86 Seventh Street are relatively intact examples. Type A houses are quite similar to "The Dalton," a three-room dwelling pictured in the 1916 Minter Homes catalog on page 111.

Type B: double-pile, with an almost full-facade porch and central chimney on the front roof slope, but otherwise identical to Type A. Several Type B houses on Hames and Eighth streets have stone foundations that match the stone retaining walls found throughout the mill village. Some dwellings of this type were duplexes, although quite a few examples lost one front door when they became single-family homes. Sixty-nine Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; 111 Short Street and 121 Park Circle serve as representative examples. Type B houses are quite similar to "The Scranton," a four-room dwelling pictured in the 1916 Minter Homes catalog on page 113.

Type C: a one-story, L-plan house with a shed-roofed porch supported by square posts spanning the recess created by the front wing, six-over-six sash, an interior chimney, a brick foundation (in some cases brick piers infilled with brick or concrete block), weatherboards or wood shakes, and gable vents. Several Type C houses on Hames Street have stone foundations that match the stone retaining walls found throughout the mill village. Twelve Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; 34 Mill Street and 58 Park Circle are representative examples.

Type D: a one-story, double-pile, three-bay, front-gable-roofed house with an almost full-facade hip-roofed front porch with square posts (some of which are chamfered), six-over-six sash, an interior chimney, a brick foundation, weatherboards, cornice returns, and gable vents. Four Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; 203 and 214 Hames Street are substantially intact examples. Type D houses are quite similar to "The Lavalette," a four-room dwelling pictured in the 1916 Minter Homes catalog on page 102.

Type E: a one-story, double-pile, side-gable-roofed duplex with two recessed corner porches, six-over-six sash, a centrally located interior chimney, a brick foundation, weatherboards, cornice returns, and gable vents. Only two Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category: 212 and 217 Hames Street. Type E houses are quite similar to "The Denby," a four-room dwelling pictured in the 1916 Minter Homes catalog on page 82. The Erlanger buildings are a double variation of "The Denby," however, as they originally functioned as duplexes.

Type F: a one-story, three-room-deep, hip-roofed house with an offset gabled front porch supported by truncated square posts on brick piers, a combination of four-over-four, six-over-six, and eight-over-eight sash, an interior chimney, a brick foundation, weatherboards, and triangular eave brackets in the porch gable. Only three Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category: 231 and 257 Broad Street and 709 First Rainbow Street.

Type G: a two-story, three-bay, single-pile, side-gable-roofed house with an almost full-facade hip-roofed porch supported by square posts, a gabled central attic wall dormer bearing only a small vent, six-over-six sash, an interior chimney, a brick foundation, and weatherboards. Some examples have a rear ell; others have more extensive rear additions. Five Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; 83 Seventh Street and 65 Eighth Street serve as representative examples.

Type H: a one-story, double-pile, side-gable-roofed bungalow with a large central gable and a smaller slightly projecting gabled bay, a gabled entry porch supported by L-shaped posts, relatively small six-over-six sash, an exterior end chimney with a paved half-shoulder, a brick foundation, weatherboards or wood shakes, exposed rafter ends, triangular eave brackets or false beams, and diamond-shaped gable vents. Fifteen Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; extant examples are located at 220 Hames Street and 277 Winston Road.

Type I: a one-story, double-pile, cross-gable-roofed bungalow with a partially-recessed gabled entry porch supported by L-shaped posts spanned by a kneewall, large paired and single six-over-six sash, an interior chimney, a brick foundation, weatherboards or wood shakes, exposed rafter ends, triangular eave brackets or false beams, and diamond-shaped gable vents. Twenty-two Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; intact examples are located at 271 Broad Street and 299 Winston Road.

Type J: a one-story, double-pile, front-gable-roofed bungalow with a rear gabled (sometimes asymmetrical) ell or gabled side bays, a gabled entry porch supported by three truncated square posts on tall brick piers, paired and single six-over-six sash, an interior chimney, a brick foundation, weatherboards or wood shakes, exposed rafter ends, triangular eave brackets or false beams, and diamond-shaped gable vents. Eleven Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; 288 Winston Road is an excellent example of the variation with an asymmetrical gabled side bay, and even retains its original pressed-metal roof. The house at 720 First Rainbow Street has full gabled side bays at the rear of the main block. Type J houses are quite similar to "The Lakewood," a five-room dwelling pictured in the 1916 Minter Homes catalog on page 37.

Type K: a one-story, double-pile, side-gable-roofed bungalow (some of which have shallow rectangular shed-roofed side bays), with a recessed full-facade porch, paired and single six-over-six sash, an interior chimney, a brick foundation, weatherboards or wood shakes (some examples have weatherboard or German siding wainscoting below wood shake siding), exposed rafter ends, and false beams or triangular eave brackets and vents in the gable ends. The porch post variations for this type include full-length square posts, two paired truncated square posts with a third diagonal post (272 Broad Street), and paired or single truncated square paneled posts (601 Park Circle and 285 Winston Road). The truncated posts rest on wood-shingled or weatherboarded piers which are often spanned by matching kneewalls or wood railings (most of which are modern additions). Many examples have one or two small gabled dormers, usually with vents, above the front porch. Sixty-five Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category. Several dwellings pictured in the 1916 Minter Homes catalog have recessed porches and other features similar to Type K houses, but none are identical. "The Edgewood," for example, is a five-room dwelling with a recessed porch supported by square posts and a shed dormer (p. 67).

Type L: a one-story, double-pile, front-gable-roofed bungalow with large central gable and a smaller slightly projecting gabled bay, a shed-roofed entry porch supported by very short square posts on massive pyramidal brick posts that spans the recess created by the projecting gabled bay, six-over-six sash, an exterior end chimney with a paved half-shoulder, a brick foundation, weatherboards or wood shakes, exposed rafter ends, and false beams and diamond-shaped vents in the gable ends. Five Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; 292 Winston Road and 218 Hames Street are intact examples.

Type M: a one-story, three-bay, front-gable-roofed bungalow with a side-gabled rear ell that encompasses a rear porch, a full-facade recessed porch supported by square posts, six-over-six sash, an interior chimney, a brick foundation, weatherboards or wood shakes, exposed rafter ends, triangular eave brackets or false beams in the gables, and rectangular diamond-shaped gable vents. Only two Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category: 801 and 815 Olympia Street.

Type N: a one-story, double-pile, cross-gable-roofed bungalow with a partially-recessed shed-roofed front porch supported by square brick or wood posts (sometimes spanned by a kneewall or railing), paired and single six-over-six sash (some examples have eight-over-eight sash on the facade and six-over-six sash on the other elevations), an interior chimney, a brick foundation, weatherboards or wood shakes, exposed rafter ends, triangular eave brackets or false beams in the gables, and rectangular or diamond-shaped gable vents. Twenty Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; 274 Broad Street and 1 Hames Street serve as representative examples.

Type O: a one-story, double-pile, side-gable-roofed bungalow with a small gable over a shed-roofed front or corner porch supported by grouped, very short, square posts on tall brick piers; single, double, and triple six-over-six sash (some examples have eight-over-eight sash on the facade and six-over-six sash on the other elevations); a brick interior chimney with a tall stack, a brick foundation, weatherboards or wood shakes, exposed rafter ends, triangular eave brackets, and diamond-shaped gable vents in the gable ends. Nine Erlanger Mill houses fall into this category; 226 and 268 Broad Street are substantially intact examples.

Statement of Significance

The Erlanger Mill Village Historic District meets National Register of Historic Places Criterion A for industry and community planning and development and Criterion C for architecture, and is of local significance. Erlanger Mills was Lexington's largest and most productive textile manufacturing operation, and the mill village design and distinctive mill houses further enhance the district's significance. Although it is not known who prepared the original mill village schematic plan, Charlotte landscape architect Earle S. Draper laid out the crescent-shaped First and Second Rainbow Streets at the north end of Broad and Hames Streets.[10] The mill worker housing falls into two main categories: simple, basic house types with spare detailing and Craftsman Bungalows, some of which are remarkably stylish for a mill village. The more modest dwellings are, for the most part, distributed throughout the earlier sections of the mill village — a roughly eight-block area just north, east, and south of the mill complex that was built out by 1916-17.[11] The distinctive bungalows appear in the next development period (1917-23), when approximately fourteen blocks on Broad, Olympia, First and Second Rainbow, and the south end of Short Streets were laid out. The houses on the north side of Second Rainbow Street, erected between 1923 and 1929, were the last to be constructed. The Graded School's Grammar Department, later attached to Erlanger Baptist Church, and the Kindergarten and Day Nursery, now a heavily altered residence, are the only extant community buildings in the village. The village's two Gothic Revival-style edifices — Union Church and Erlanger Baptist Church — stand at the intersection of Ninth and Hames Streets and continue to function as important religious and social components of the Erlanger community. The district's period of significance begins in 1913 with the construction of the mill complex and first phase of worker housing and continues to 1953, encompassing mill and mill village expansion phases and ending when the Erlanger Mill Company began selling mill houses to individuals.

Historical Background

New York textile magnates Abraham and Charles Erlanger purchased a 250-acre portion of the Grimes estate north of Lexington for a new mill site in 1911. The Erlanger brothers wanted their own source of checked cotton dimity fabric for the one-piece men's underwear (union suits) manufactured for the BVD company in their Baltimore plant, and a group of Lexington businessmen, led by George Mountcastle, persuaded them to locate a production facility in North Carolina. Charles Erlanger's son Milton hired local and out-of-state carpenters and masons to build Erlanger Cotton Mills and supervised the undertaking that began with the construction of a concrete dam in December 1913.[12]

A long, rectangular, brick building with a two-story main mill at the south end, a larger one-story weave shed at the north end, and a two-story picker room in between encompassed the eastern section of the 1913 Erlanger Cotton Mills complex. This building originally housed 25,600 steam-powered spindles and 680 looms; the first cloth was woven on March 28, 1914. A boiler house and turbine room extended from the east elevation of the main mill. Early photographs of the east elevation illustrate that the area bordering Mill Street was nicely landscaped with small trees, a variety of shrubs, and a paved sidewalk. The western section of the mill complex included a two-story brick warehouse (divided into three sections by interior firewalls) with one-story waste and opener rooms on the north end. The large rectangular reservoir north of the warehouse and two towers between the main mill and the warehouse supplied water to the mill's sprinkler system.[13]

Production doubled by 1916 with the introduction of two labor shifts and the installation of new equipment and facilities including 15,360 additional spindles, 420 new looms, and a 5,000-spindle yarn plant. Erlanger Mills employed approximately 1,400 workers during its first years of operation and produced eight million yards of fabric annually. Mill employees worked an average of fifty-five hours a week and lived in the village of frame houses surrounding the mill complex. Workers could rent a variety of houses at the rate of twenty-five cents per room per week, which included the cost of electric lights, water, and sewer.[14]

A 1916 photo illustrates some of the mill houses on Hames and Mill Streets, in addition to Union Church, the graded school, and Milton Hall on the south side of Ninth Street. Milton Hall, a brick, hip-roofed building with a full-facade porch named in honor of Milton Erlanger, housed a spacious gymnasium/auditorium and a cafe on the upper floor and a general store, post office, barber shop, nurse's office, billiard room, and community showers on the lower level. Employees used mill-issued tokens and coupons to make purchases at Milton Hall. Elane Lodge, a two-story, fourteen-room teacherage; the Graded School's Primary Department; and the Kindergarten and Day Nursery stood on the north side of Ninth Street by 1921. The mill village continued to expand through the late 1920s, eventually encompassing 320 homes, two churches, and a series of community buildings.[15]

The Erlanger Company published the first issue of The Erlanger Community, an illustrated newsletter that contained commentary on life in the mill village, in November 1919. A letter from Dr. P. P. Claxton, U. S. Commissioner of Education, to Erlanger residents declared that

"Erlanger is beautiful for its broad streets and clean sidewalks, its cozy houses with their large yards...its playgrounds and its plots of ground for the common use of the people...Close enough to the town of Lexington and the railroad station to give the needed contact to the outside world, Erlanger is still free from the crowding and noise and dust and dissipations and vices of the city."[16]

Articles covered a wide selection of topics, from home garden management to the history of Erlanger Graded School. The newsletter also posted schedules for community baseball, volleyball, and basketball games as well as club meetings.

The Erlanger Dairy began operating in the spring of 1918 with the intention of providing wholesome and sanitary milk for village residents, but eventually supplied milk for clients throughout Lexington. The no longer extant dairy complex, located northwest of the mill village, included large gambrel-roofed Rustic Revival log barns, a bunkhouse for dairy employees, and a series of silos when Jim Swing took over the operation in 1922. His family ran the dairy for forty-seven years.[17]

Erlanger inhabitants also benefited from a community poultry yard and a piggery, established by the company in an attempt to remove the noise and smell of livestock from individual residential lots. Photographs in the December 1919 issue of The Erlanger Community contrast "the old way" of keeping pigs in derelict pens with "the Erlanger way" of scientific hog-raising. Residents were further encouraged to keep back yards clean and tidy by using company-provided garbage cans and stacking wood and coal neatly.[18] Service alleys running along the back of house lots between most streets allowed for trash collection.

With livestock and trash contained elsewhere, the back yards of house lots could then be utilized solely for food production. A community greenhouse supplied residents with vegetable and flower plants for home gardens. The Erlanger Company paid young boys to work in the gardens under the supervision of their teachers, who inspected their efforts once a week. The boys also maintained village landscape features such as the Broad Street medians. Women preserved fruits and vegetables from their home gardens at the community cannery. Competitions for the best jams and jellies were popular events at the Erlanger Fair.[19]

The Erlanger Cotton Mills complex included an office (circa 1915), additional warehouses north and south of the reservoir, and a two-story yarn mill (completed in 1916) off the main mill's southeast corner by 1923. A one-story brick cloth room and storage space stood directly west of the of the north end of the main mill building. The warehouse north of the reservoir was expanded between 1926 and 1929. Production shifted to cotton dress and shirt fabrics around 1925, when men started wearing two-piece underwear instead of union suits. The Erlanger plant included 46,000 steam- and electric-powered spindles and 1,240 cloth looms operated by 1,600 employees by 1927, when annual production was twenty million yards of cotton fabric. The growing popularity of rayon fabrics in the early 1930s resulted in the gradual incorporation of synthetic fibers into Erlanger products, which translated into a need for new equipment and the space to house it.[20]

Modifications to the Erlanger plant reflected changes in the textile industry as a whole, as textile manufacturers focused on expanding productive capacity, improving textile quality, and reducing labor costs in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The mechanization of the textile industry during this period resulted in the loss of jobs, decreased pay, and poor working conditions; unions consequently found more support among mill employees. The Great Depression further contributed to layoffs and pay cuts at Erlanger and elsewhere, and set the stage for mill workers across the South to participate in the General Textile Strike of 1934. The strike temporarily shut down the Erlanger plant, and after the strike ended the Erlanger Mill Company fired known union sympathizers. The union efforts were not in vain, however, as the Roosevelt administration's social and economic reform programs culminated in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which instituted a forty-hour work week and increased worker pay by establishing a national minimum wage.[21] Erlanger wages varied considerably in the 1930s. A November 23, 1936 list of Power Department employee wages reflects a wide hourly rate range based on job classification, with janitors at the low end ($0.275 an hour or $11.00 a week), and the second hand and electrician at the high end ($0.715 an hour or $28.60 per week).[22]

Erlanger was officially incorporated into the Lexington city limits on January 1, 1942, but the village retained a strong sense of community. Erlanger Day celebrations, which included a large picnic and the Miss Erlanger beauty pageant, continued to fill the Broad Street medians every year. World War II demands resulted in a resurgence of the southern textile industry, and Erlanger produced Army uniform cotton twill and parachute nylon rip-stop in addition to shirt, bathing suit, dress, and pajama fabric for the New York market. By 1948, the warehouse north of the reservoir had been expanded again and additions connected all of the buildings in the complex.[23]

Erlanger Mills installed new roofs on the mill houses and began selling them to private owners at a cost of $500 a room in 1953, with current residents being given preferential consideration. The company provided financing, in part to prevent investors from purchasing the houses for use as rental houses. The majority of the mill houses were sold by 1963.[24] An undated list in the possession of long-time Erlanger employee Lester Sain itemizes the purchaser name, sale price, downpayment amount, mortgage lender, and interest rate for each mill house sale.[25]

Milton Erlanger created the Erlanger Mills Corporation in 1956, which encompassed the North Carolina Finishing Company (Salisbury), Alexander Mills (Forest City), and Leward Cotton Mills (Worthville), in addition to Lexington's Erlanger Mills, Inc. He served as honorary chairman of the board of directors until 1960, when his son Michael assumed the top management position.[26] Michael quickly instituted a modernization program at the Erlanger Mills facility. The plant was air-conditioned and humidity controls installed, a new building to house the picker machinery was constructed next to the opening room in 1962, and new spinning, twisting, and spooling equipment was purchased. A 1966 addition to the east elevation of the main mill provided additional space for spinning frames.[27]

Erlanger Mills continued to play an important role in the Lexington economy through the 1960s. A 1968 newspaper article reports the Erlanger plant had an annual payroll of $4,500,000 for 950 employees. The plant produced a wide variety of synthetic fibers by that time, including Dacron, Fortrel, Kodel, and Avril, in addition to combed cotton blends. Erlanger developed fabrics for the United States military in the 1960s: a fine combed cotton for Vietnam soldiers' uniforms and a light-weight cotton-Avril blend for duffle bags.[28]

The Erlanger family announced plans to sell the company after Milton Erlanger's death in 1969. Parkdale Mills Inc. of Gastonia purchased Erlanger Mills in 1971 and still continues to operate the plant.[29] Parkdale undertook a multi-million dollar modernization project at the Lexington mill in 1992, converting the ring-spinning operation to an open-end spinning operation. The plant manufactures cotton and cotton/blend yarn which is then sold to knitting and apparel companies. Approximately 125 employees produce 1,400,000 pounds of yard a week.[30]

Three Parkdale employees — Lester Sain, Maezellar Peebles, and Estill Edwards — worked at the mill when it was owned by the Erlangers. Lester Sain has been a mill employee for sixty-three years, first laying up roving in the spinning room and then working as doffer. After serving in World War II, Mr. Sain went back to school and returned to Erlanger as a refrigeration shop employee. Mr. Sain lived at 21 Hames Street, and purchased that residence and three others when the Erlangers started selling mill houses. He began overseeing the second shift around 1967, and also supervised the air conditioning unit. Mr. Sain is currently the shop manager.[31]

Maezellar Pebbles, who was hired as a spinning room sweeper in 1965, became Erlanger's first African American spinning machine operator around 1968. Mrs. Peebles operated a variety of spinning machines with different frames, including open-end machines, and eventually began changing wax in the machines. She is currently the backwinding operator. Mrs. Peebles never lived in the Erlanger Mill village, but her entire family has been employed by Erlanger or Parkdale. Her husband James worked in the opening room and carding section, her son Doug runs drawing, and her son De operates the packing line.[32]

Estil Edwards, an open end spinning technician, began working at Erlanger in 1957. His first job, which paid ninety-eight cents an hour, was to run the quill skinner, a machine that removed yarn remnants from used bobbins and reloaded them for use in the weave room. Mr. Edwards worked the third shirt for many years, as a technician and shift supervisor, and eventually moved to the first shift and was promoted to winding department manager. After the machinery in his department was phased out, he worked with the overhaul crew. Mr. Edwards and his wife rented a mill house on First Rainbow Street for many years, but they no longer reside in the mill village. Mrs. Edwards also worked at the mill, as a receptionist in the front office.[33]

Industry Context

Davidson County was created from a portion of Rowan County in 1822; Lexington became the county seat in 1824 and was incorporated in 1827. The Lexington Manufacturing Company, a steam-powered cotton mill constructed in 1839, was the first large-scale industrial enterprise in town. After the mill burned in 1844, development was slow until a North Carolina Railroad line traversed Davidson County in 1855, connecting the eastern and western parts of the state and providing the impetus for commercial farming and the development of textile and furniture industries.[34]

The anticipation of the arrival of the railroad in the 1850s resulted in Lexington's first building boom, which culminated in the completion of a new courthouse in 1858. The commercial district extended from the courthouse along Main Street by 1885, when the first Sanborn maps were produced for the area. Industrial buildings were also located close to the center of town. John D. and Thomas J. Grimes constructed a four-story, frame, steam-powered flour mill one block west of Main Street in 1879, and soon expanded into a four-story brick addition. William E. Holt established Wennonah Cotton Mills in 1886, sparking development east of Main Street. William A. Watson and D. K. Cecil moved their brick-making machine from Concord to Lexington in 1890, facilitating the manufacture of stronger, more durable, and smoother building brick at a most opportune time, as merchants, tradesmen, industrialists, bankers, doctors, and lawyers erected businesses, offices, and homes in the county seat.[35]

The influx of laborers for new businesses resulted in the population more than doubling — from 626 to 1440 — between 1890 and 1900. The population increase fueled a need for additional housing, and dwellings for the both the elite and working classes were built southwest of the central commercial district. Amenities such as telephone and electric service were available to Lexington residents by 1897.[36]

As the twentieth century dawned, Lexington, like much of the state, was poised for continued growth and expansion. A special 1906 issue of The Dispatch proclaimed Davidson County "the center of Piedmont North Carolina, Section of Golden Promise, A Land Where Progress Reigns." A Commercial History of the State of North Carolina, published in 1908 by the North Carolina Division of the Travelers Protective Association, declared that:

"Lexington, North Carolina, presents in a nutshell the story of the new South. In less than a decade it has developed from a straggling village to a splendid modern town, bustling with activity, throbbing with new-found energy, accomplishing each day more than the old town did in twelve months... About one and one-half millions are invested in manufacturing; the output is valued at about three millions; fifteen hundred workingmen find employment ... Industrially, educationally, socially, Lexington is an ideal town."[37]

By 1911, the Winston-Salem Southbound and the Southern Railway passed through Lexington, connecting the growing town to markets throughout the eastern United States. The Lexington Board of Trade made a concerted effort to bring farmers downtown to shop when they delivered and received goods at the freight depots on either side of town.[38]

Most Lexington residents worked at furniture and textile manufacturing industries or in auxiliary service enterprises. Dixie Furniture, Star Milling, Valley Tie and Lumber, Davidson County Creamery, Dacotah Cotton Mills, Nokomis Cotton Mills, Erlanger Mills, Shoaf-Sink Hosiery Mills, Lexington Coal and Ice, Peerless Mattress, Lexington Coca Cola Bottling, Lee Veneer, Lexington Chair, Industrial Manufacturing, Lexington Mirror, and Southern Upholstery are just some of the companies that began operating in Lexington between 1900 and 1920. Erlanger Mills was the largest textile manufacturing operation by far, encompassing 46,000 spindles and 1,240 cloth looms operated by 1,600 employees in 1927. Annual production was twenty million yards of cotton fabric. In comparison, Dacotah Cotton Mills employed 235 workers and output ten million yards of chambrays worth just over one million dollars in 1924. Nokomis Cotton Mills produced sheeting, print cloths, and pajama checks valued at $400,000 that same year.[39]

Company owners and employees lived close to the downtown commercial and industrial area, and with the exception of a few pockets of mill housing, were scattered throughout Lexington's residential district. John H. Mattison, a Dacotah Mills superintendent, resided in a modest frame bungalow at 302 West Second Avenue. Luther Dane, a foreman at Dixie Furniture, lived in a side-gable bungalow at 315 West Third Avenue, while Jacob Wagoner, an employee of Nokomis Mills, resided just down the street at 307 West Third Avenue. Most Erlanger Mills workers lived in the Erlanger village north of town, but a few, including O. Klutz Sharpe, an assistant manager at the Erlanger Community Club who occupied a hip-roofed cottage at 500 West Second Avenue, lived in Lexington.[40]

Architecture Context

The development of Erlanger and other North Carolina textile mills created not only jobs, but entire communities, as mill owners constructed small self-sufficient villages to sustain mill workers and their families. Mill villages contained homes, schools, churches, and company stores adjacent to the mills and often boasted sizable populations. Mill owners qualified school and church construction as philanthropic efforts, but the 1910 Federal Report on Women and Child Wage Earners dismissed this assertion, stating that "mills had to build complete communities to attract workers and these expenditures counted as normal costs of doing business."[41]

The Erlangers, like other mill owners, perpetuated "a distinctive ideology of paternalism," which "invoked the image of family to justify extending authoritarian and hierarchical discipline to workers."[42] Benevolent acts and mill village amenities might boast worker morale, but they also served to produce dependence. Churches and mill officials insured stability and order by withdrawing church membership and mill employment from anyone who compromised the moral character of the mill village through drunkenness, disorderly behavior, or criminal activity.

Local carpenters designed and built the earliest North Carolina mill houses, which resembled small vernacular farmhouses. In order to facilitate cost effective construction, rows of identical one-story frame dwellings with front porches and kitchen ells were generally erected in close proximity to the mill. By the end of the nineteenth century standardized mill house plans were available in publications such as textile industry theorist Daniel A. Tompkins' Cotton Mill - Commercial Features (1899), which included elevations, floorplans, and detailed specifications for two-, three-, four-, and five-room one-story frame dwellings. Tompkins felt that gardening was "conducive to general contentment among the [mill] operatives," and thus promoted sizable (half-acre) mill house lots. His work served to codify vernacular practice and to introduce planning and design theory into mill house and village construction.[43]

National and regional trends influenced mill village design in the early twentieth century. Charlotte landscape architect Earle S. Draper's mill village plans drew from Frederick Law Olmsted's naturalistic landscape design tradition. Draper used existing topography and vegetation to guide his plans, arranging low-density housing around gently curving roads in a manner designed to appeal to southern mill residents' "rural and mountain origins." As most mill workers brought the habits and accoutrements of life on the farm to their new setting, house lots were deep, allowing plenty of room for gardens, livestock pens, and outbuildings. Rows of street trees were intended to screen houses from the main mill complex and each other.[44]

Although landscape architects did not design mill village houses, they did have a great deal of influence upon the types of houses erected in their planned mill villages. Draper and other designers favored the Craftsman Bungalow over the vernacular frame house for mill village dwellings, as the potential for variations in bungalow detail and finish allowed for a welcome departure from the uniformity of company housing. Margaret Crawford suggests that, as the bungalow was the ubiquitous rural and urban dwelling in the first decades of the twentieth century, this evolution of mill house style removed some of the social stigma attached to vernacular mill houses and their residents. She asserts that "improved housing began to erase the social boundaries between living conditions in mill villages and those of urban areas and gradually included mill workers as part of the Piedmont culture."[45]

The Erlanger Mill Village layout and house designs were carefully considered. Although it is not known who prepared the original mill village schematic plan, Earle S. Draper laid out the crescent-shaped First and Second Rainbow Streets at the north end of Broad and Hames Streets.[46] The current street configuration reflects Draper's design, but other plan components, such as the erection of a community building on the north side of Thirteenth Street overlooking the Broad Street median and a church on the northwest corner of First Rainbow and Thirteenth Streets were not executed. Single-family dwellings occupy these locations. Draper specifies the number of rooms in the expansion area houses, with six-room dwellings lining First Rainbow Street and four-, five-, and six-room residences on Second Rainbow Street. Approximately three blocks of four-room houses west of Second Rainbow Street and several dwellings north of Second Rainbow Street were never constructed. Draper's plan also calls for a small pond and curvilinear roads to occupy the area southwest of Second Rainbow Street, east of Hames Street, and north of Park Circle. This area was never developed.

The Erlanger Mill Village houses fall into two main categories: simple, basic house types with spare detailing and Craftsman Bungalows, some of which are remarkably stylish for a mill village. The more basic house types are, for the most part, distributed throughout the earlier sections of the mill village — a roughly eight-block area just north, east, and south of the mill complex that was built out by 1916-17.[47] In keeping with dwelling types found in other North Carolina mill villages, the majority of these early houses are modest one-story single- and double-pile, side-gable-roofed dwellings with shed-roofed front porches; a few L-plan, front-gable, and pyramidal-roofed houses were also erected during this initial construction phase.

The distinctive bungalows appear in the next development period (1917-23), when approximately fourteen blocks on Broad, Olympia, First and Second Rainbow, and the south end of Short Streets were laid out. The dwellings on the north side of Second Rainbow Street, erected between 1923 and 1929, were the last to be constructed. A 1917 Erlanger Cotton Mills recruiting brochure states that "the employees' cottages in the newer portion of the village are the most modern bungalow designs, being built with great individuality from thirty original special drawings." Mill employees remember that the houses were painted "green, maroon, and brown" while owned by Erlanger.[48] Variations in siding materials, gable configuration, porch size and location, porch post style, and window arrangement lend the bungalows interest and character, a complete departure from the earlier Erlanger mill houses. Based on a comparison of the Craftsman Bungalows to identical house types in Reynoldstown or Cameron Park in Winston-Salem and Alexander Manufacturing Company in Forest City, it appears that the bungalows, and perhaps even some of the simpler dwellings, may have been constructed from kits manufactured by the Minter Homes Company.[49]

The Minter Homes Company, like Aladdin, Montgomery Ward, and Sears, Roebuck & Company, produced pre-cut house kits for a wide range of dwellings, from modest mill houses to elaborate Colonial Revival mansions. The company also produced plans, specifications, and construction materials for community buildings such as schools, churches, bunk houses, boarding houses for mill and industrial villages and mining and lumber camps throughout the southeast. The United States War Department purchased 1,724 Minter Homes bungalows for construction in the town of Nitro, West Virginia between February and July, 1918. The Minter Homes Company Greenville, South Carolina division went into receivership in April 1921, but the Minter Homes Corporation of Huntington, West Virginia manufactured ready-made houses until 1954 and custom millwork until 1983.[50]

Attempts to locate a Minter Homes mill village catalog and thus identify the Erlanger house types by name and/or model number have not been successful. A 1916 residential catalog from the Huntington, West Virginia Minter Homes plant includes dwellings quite similar to those in Erlanger; those house names are included in the Erlanger typology. Erlanger Mill Company records classify the mill houses by number of rooms (three to six) and general appearance (frame houses or bungalows).[51] As the floor plans of each dwelling were not readily accessible for classification purposes, fifteen primary types of mill houses within the Erlanger Mill Village Historic District were identified based on form. Variations exist within each type in elements such as siding material and porch posts. The more basic, earlier house types are categorized as A through G, while the bungalow types are H through O. The typology reflects house forms that appear with great frequency (Types A, B, I, K, and N), as well as especially distinctive house forms that are relatively rare (Types D, E, F, G, L, and M). A few houses fall outside of these categories. Although most of the dwellings have been altered since they became privately owned after 1953, the majority retain their original form and character. Typical modifications include replacement of window sash, porch posts, and original pressed-metal shingle roofs; installation of porch railings; and application of aluminum, asbestos, rolled asphalt, Masonite hardboard, or vinyl siding.

The Erlanger Mill Village is not the only textile mill-associated housing in Lexington, but it is certainly the largest, most distinctive, and most intact collection in terms of architecture and landscape design. Dacotah, Nokomis, and Wennonah Cotton Mills in southeast Lexington all had associated mill housing similar to the Type A and B houses in Erlanger. As none of those operations ever approached the size of Erlanger, the mill villages were significantly smaller.[52] Eight circa 1910 Wennonah Mill houses (six on South State Street and two on West Ninth Avenue) are included in the Lexington Residential Historic District. The one-story, three-bay, single-pile, weatherboarded South State Street houses have side-gable roofs, hip-roofed front porches supported by square posts, and rear gabled ells. The Ninth Avenue houses are a bit larger — one-and-one-half-stories — and have shed-roofed rear ells.[53]

Other North Carolina mill villages also contain a variety of house types. Moses and Cesar Cone built a series of villages for their mill operatives in Greensboro. The oldest mill houses are vernacular one- and two-story frame buildings, while later dwellings north of White Oak Mill include stuccoed hollow tile bungalows and two-story houses, some with faux half-timbering in the gables (White Oak New Town Historic District, Guilford County, NR 1992).[54] The Roanoke Rapids Historic District (NR 1999) encompasses several mill villages with vernacular mill worker housing and pre-cut houses from the Aladdin Homes Company. Popular models such as "The Gretna," "The Edison," "The Rodney," and "The Princeton" were constructed on vacant lots between older houses and in new sections of the mill villages.[55]

Endnotes

[1]Earle S. Draper, "Study for Village Extension, Erlanger Mills, Lexington, NC," no date, in the UNC-Wilson Library North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Lexington, Davidson County, Erlanger Mills, Series P1.

[2]The Erlanger Mill village is clearly depicted on N. R. Kinney's "Map of Lexington, N. C." in the 1916-17 Lexington City Directory (Florence, SC: Charles S. Gardiner Directory Publishers, 1917).

[3]Phoebe Zerwick, "Company Town: Erlanger's Townsfolk Recall the Good and the Bad During the Time When the Mill Meant Everything," Winston-Salem Journal, January 1, 1989, pp. C1, C3.

[4]Minter Homes Catalogue Number 101 (Huntington, West Virginia: Huntington Lumber & Supply Co., 1916), William D. Wintz Collection (Ms2003-177), West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, West Virginia.

[5]"Village — Houses August 1, 1920," document from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

[6]"New Education Building," The Erlantern, February 1957, from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

[7]Joyce White Melton, The North Lexington Baptist Church: "They Came From Everywhere" (no publisher, 1991), 16-17, 41-45, 61-63; "History of Erlanger Baptist Church," October 10, 1966, from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

[8]J. M. Ciarrier, "The Erlanger Cotton Mills Co., Lexington, N.C.," Sheet 1266-B, Factory Insurance Association, Hartford, Connecticut, April 19, 1926.

[9]"Kindergarten," The Erlanger Community, Volume II, No. 2, March 1921, p. 10, from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

[10]"Erlanger Cotton Mills, Lexington, N. C.," later label in newspaper article reads "Architect's Drawing in 1912," printed in Lexington, North Carolina (no publisher, 1914), p. 55; Earle S. Draper, "Study for Village Extension, Erlanger Mills, Lexington, NC," no date, in the UNC-Wilson Library North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Lexington, Davidson County, Erlanger Mills, Series P1.

[11]The Erlanger Mill village is clearly depicted on N. R. Kinney's "Map of Lexington, N. C." in the 1916-17 Lexington City Directory (Florence, SC: Charles S. Gardiner Directory Publishers, 1917).

[12]The Erlanger Story," circa 1964 promotional brochure in the Erlanger vertical file at the Davidson County Library in Lexington, reprinted in The Dispatch on September 8, 1964; "Erlanger Cotton Mills Came to Lexington Forty-One Years Ago," circa 1954 article from the Erlanger vertical files at the Davidson County Historical Museum; "Editorial," The Erlanger Community, Volume II, No. 2, March 1921, p. 6, from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum; Joyce White Melton, The North Lexington Baptist Church (Lexington: The North Lexington Baptist Church, 1991), 2-5.

[13]Ibid; Sanborn Map Company maps, Lexington, Davidson County, 1913.

[14]Ibid; M. Jewell Sink, Davidson County: Economic and Social (Chapel Hill: UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Rural Socio-Economics, 1925), 38-39; M. Jewell Sink and Mary Green Matthews, Pathfinders Past and Present: A History of Davidson County, North Carolina (High Point: Hall Printing Company, 1972), 291.

[15]"Erlanger Village in 1916," The Erlantern, February 1960, from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum; Milton Hall was demolished in July 1984, see Bruce Wehrle, "Milton Hall is Gone, But Memories Linger," The Dispatch, July 2, 1984, p. 13.

[16]The Erlanger Community, Volume I, No. 1, November 1919, from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

[17]"The Erlanger Dairy," The Erlanger Community, Volume III, No. 2, April 1922, pp. 2-4, from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum; Ray Rollins, "Lexington Landmark: 57-Year-Old Barn is Coming Down," Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel, May 23, 1977; Joyce White Melton, The North Lexington Baptist Church, 8.

[18]The Erlanger Community, Volume I, No. 2, December 1919, pp. 2, 7, from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

[19]"Our Garden Squad," "Our Greenhouse," The Erlanger Community, Volume I, No. 7, October 1920, pp. 2, 3; "Home Making Exhibit," The Erlanger Community, Volume I, No. 1, November 1919, p. 8; from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

[20]Sanborn Map Company maps, 1913, 1923, 1929; "The Erlanger Story," circa 1964 promotional brochure; Jacob Calvin Leonard, Centennial History of Davidson County (Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Company, 1927), 316.

[21]Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, et. al, Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1989), 202-208; Steve Dryden, "Erlanger-Underwear, Paternalism in Lexington History," The Dispatch, November 17, 1977, p. 13; Brent Glass, The Textile Industry in North Carolina: A History (Raleigh: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1992), 59.

[22]"Power Department," typed memo delineating operative wages effective November 23, 1936, from the Parkdale Mills historic artifact collection, Lexington, NC.

[23]"The Erlanger Story," circa 1964 promotional brochure; Joyce White Melton, The North Lexington Baptist Church, 14; 36-37; Sanborn Maps, 1948.

[24]Ibid; Joyce White Melton, The North Lexington Baptist Church, 12, 14; Steven Bradley Benson, "A Village Beautiful: History of Erlanger Village," paper prepared for the UNC-Charlotte Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, 1999, 6.

[25]25 Lester Sain, interview with the author, August 2, 2007.

[26]Marjorie W. Young, ed., "Milton S. Erlanger," Textile Leaders of the South (Columbia, S. C.: R. L. Bryan Company, 1963), 59.

[27]"Erlanger's Annual Payroll Up $2 Million in Ten Years," The Dispatch, 1968; "Modernization Program Underway," The Erlantern, August 1962, p. 3; The Erlantern, May 1966, p. 1, from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

[28]Erlanger's Annual Payroll Up $2 Million in Ten Years," The Dispatch, 1968;

[29]"Heart Attack Fatal to Milton S. Erlanger," The Erlantern, Volume 21, No. 7, July 1969; "Erlanger Mills To Be Sold," The Dispatch, May 19, 1970; "Erlanger Mills Purchased by Gastonia Firm," The Dispatch, August 6, 1971.

[30]Vikki Broughton Hodges, "Parkdale Mills completes $25 million upgrade," The Dispatch, August 13, 1992; Shane Hamrick, Parkdale Plant Manager, interview with the author, August 2, 2007.

[31]Lester Sain, interview with the author, August 2, 2007.

[32]Maezellar Peebles, interview with the author, August 2, 2007. Mrs. Peebles was not the first African American employee at Erlanger, but she was the first to work in a position other than janitorial services. Erlanger built about ten houses for African American workers on Swing Dairy Road west of the mill village; none are extant. Lester Sain, interview with the author, August 2, 2007.

[33]Estil Edwards, telephone interview with the author, August 6, 2007.

[34]Sink and Matthews, 78; Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2003), 406.

[35]Sink and Matthews, 83-84, 90-93; Paul Baker Touart, Building the Backcountry: An Architectural History of Davidson County, North Carolina (Lexington: The Davidson County Historical Association, 1987), 31.

[36]Sink and Matthews, 90-93.

[37]Sink and Matthews, 93. The Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad line and the railroad right-of-way is just west of the district.

[38]Ibid., 96-97.

[39]Ibid., 290-291.

[40]Ernest H. Miller, 1925-1926 Lexington City Directory (Asheville: Commercial Service Co., 1926).

[41]Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, James Leloudis, Robert Korstad, Mary Murphy, Lu Ann Jones and Christopher B. Daly, Like a Family: The Making of the Southern Cotton Mill World (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1987), 114-115; Margaret Crawford, Building the Workingman's Paradise: The Design of American Company Towns (London and New York: Verso, 1995), 177, 185-186.

[42]Crawford, 178.

[43]Glass, The Textile Industry in North Carolina, 18; Brent Glass, "South Mill Hills: Design in a 'Public' Place," in Carolina Dwelling, ed. Doug Swaim (Raleigh: North Carolina State University, The Student Publication, 1978), 145.

[44]Hall, et. al., 114-115; Crawford, 185-186.

[45]Crawford, 192-193.

[46]"Erlanger Cotton Mills, Lexington, N. C.," later label in newspaper article reads "Architect's Drawing in 1912," printed in Lexington, North Carolina, (no publisher, 1914), p.55; Earle S. Draper, "Study for Village Extension, Erlanger Mills, Lexington, NC," no date, in the UNC-Wilson Library North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Lexington, Davidson County, Erlanger Mills, Series P1.

[47]The Erlanger Mill village is clearly depicted on N. R. Kinney's "Map of Lexington, N. C." in the 1916-17 Lexington City Directory (Florence, SC: Charles S. Gardiner Directory Publishers, 1917).

[48]Phoebe Zerwick, "Company Town: Erlanger's Townsfolk Recall the Good and the Bad During the Time When the Mill Meant Everything," Winston-Salem Journal, January 1, 1989, pp. C1, C3.

[49]The attribution of the Erlanger and Alexander Manufacturing Company houses to Minter Homes is based on a reference to identical houses in Reynoldstown being "of the Minter-Holmes type of house." See Nannie M. Tilley, The R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985), 270-271.

[50]Cora Teel, "Minter Homes Corporation," draft West Virginia Encyclopedia entry, 2005.

[51]"Village � Houses August 1, 1920," document from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

[52]For more information on Dacotah, Nokomis, and Wennonah Cotton Mills see M. Jewell Sink and Mary Green Matthews, Pathfinders Past and Present: A History of Davidson County, North Carolina, 289-291.

[53]Heather Fearnbach, "Lexington Residential Historic District," National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 2007.

[54]Bishir and Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina, 333-334.

[55]Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1996), 306.

Bibilography

Benson, Steven Bradley. "A Village Beautiful: History of Erlanger Village." Paper prepared for the UNC- Charlotte Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, 1999.

Bishir, Catherine W., and Michael T. Southern. A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1996.

_________. A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2003.

Ciarrier, J. M. "The Erlanger Cotton Mills Co., Lexington, N.C." Sheet 1266-B, Factory Insurance Association, Hartford, Connecticut, April 19, 1926.

Crawford, Margaret. Building the Workingman's Paradise: The Design of American Company Towns. London and New York: Verso, 1995

Draper, Earle S. "Study for Village Extension, Erlanger Mills, Lexington, NC." No date, in the UNC- Wilson Library North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Lexington, Davidson County, Erlanger Mills, Series P1.

Dryden, Steve. "Erlanger-Underwear, Paternalism in Lexington History." The Dispatch. November 17, 1977.

The Erlanger Community. Volume I, No. 1, November 1919. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

The Erlanger Community. Volume II, No. 2, March 1921. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

"Erlanger Cotton Mills, Lexington, N. C." Later label in newspaper article reads "Architect's Drawing in 1912," printed in Lexington, North Carolina (no publisher, 1914), p. 55.

"Erlanger Cotton Mills Came to Lexington Forty-One Years Ago." Circa 1954 article from the Erlanger vertical files at the Davidson County Historical Museum.

"The Erlanger Dairy." The Erlanger Community, Volume III, No. 2, April 1922, pp. 2-4. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

"Erlanger Mills To Be Sold." The Dispatch, May 19, 1970.

"Erlanger Mills Purchased by Gastonia Firm." The Dispatch, August 6, 1971.

"The Erlanger Story." Circa 1964 promotional brochure in the Erlanger vertical file at the Davidson County Library in Lexington, reprinted in The Dispatch on September 8, 1964.

Fearnbach, Heather. "Lexington Residential Historic District." National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 2007.

"Erlanger Village in 1916." The Erlantern, February 1960. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

"Erlanger's Annual Payroll Up $2 Million in Ten Years." The Dispatch, 1968.

The Erlantern, May 1966, p. 1. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

Glass, Brent. "South Mill Hills: Design in a 'Public' Place." In Carolina Dwelling, ed. Doug Swaim, 138-149. Raleigh: North Carolina State University, The Student Publication, 1978.

________. The Textile Industry in North Carolina: A History. Raleigh: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1992.

Hall, Jacquelyn Dowd, James Leloudis, Robert Korstad, Mary Murphy, Lu Ann Jones and Christopher B. Daly. Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1989.

"Heart Attack Fatal to Milton S. Erlanger." The Erlantern, Volume 21, No. 7, July 1969. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

"History of Erlanger Baptist Church." October 10, 1966. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

"Home Making Exhibit." The Erlanger Community, Volume I, No. 1, November 1919. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

"Kindergarten." The Erlanger Community, Volume II, No. 2, March 1921. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

Kinney, N. R. "Map of Lexington, N. C." 1916-17 Lexington City Directory. Florence, SC: Charles S. Gardiner Directory Publishers, 1917.

Leonard, Jacob Calvin. Centennial History of Davidson County. Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Company, 1927.

Melton, Joyce White. The North Lexington Baptist Church: "They Came From Everywhere". No publisher, 1991.

Miller, Ernest H. 1925-26 Lexington City Directory. Asheville: Commercial Service Co., 1926.

Minter Homes Catalogue Number 101. Huntington, West Virginia: Huntington Lumber & Supply Co., 1916. William D. Wintz Collection (Ms2003-177), West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, West Virginia.

"Modernization Program Underway." The Erlantern, August 1962. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

"New Education Building." The Erlantern, February 1957. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

"Our Garden Squad." "Our Greenhouse." The Erlanger Community, Volume I, No. 7, October 1920, pp. 2, 3. From the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

"Power Department." Typed memo delineating operative wages effective November 23, 1936. From the Parkdale Mills historic artifact collection, Lexington, NC.

Rollins, Ray. "Lexington Landmark: 57-Year-Old Barn is Coming Down." Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel, May 23, 1977.

Sanborn Map Company maps, Lexington, Davidson County, 1913, 1923, 1929, 1948.

Sink, M. Jewell. Davidson County: Economic and Social. Chapel Hill: UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Rural Socio-Economics, 1925.

Sink, M. Jewell, and Mary Green Matthews. Pathfinders Past and Present: A History of Davidson County, North Carolina. High Point: Hall Printing Company, 1972.

Teel, Cora. "Minter Homes Corporation." Draft West Virginia Encyclopedia entry, 2005.

Tilley, Nannie M. The R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985.

Touart, Paul Baker. Building the Backcountry: An Architectural History of Davidson County, North Carolina. Lexington: The Davidson County Historical Association, 1987.

"Village � Houses August 1, 1920." Document from the collection of the Davidson County Historical Museum.

Young, Marjorie W., ed. "Milton S. Erlanger." Textile Leaders of the South. Columbia, S. C.: R. L. Bryan Company, 1963.

Zerwick, Phoebe. "Company Town: Erlanger's Townsfolk Recall the Good and the Bad During the Time When the Mill Meant Everything." Winston-Salem Journal, January 1, 1989, pp. C1, C3.

Wehrle, Bruce. "Milton Hall is Gone, But Memories Linger." The Dispatch, July 2, 1984, p. 13.

  1. Erlanger Mill Village Historic District, nomination document, 2008, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Erlanger Mill Village Historic District Map

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