It has been a very busy week here at Preservation Greensboro, but this morning we have gotten the summer issue of our Landmarks newsletter delivered to bulk mail. For those of you who have been involved with newsletters, you know what a monumental task they can be.
Landmarks has been a tradition of Preservation Greensboro since its first issue was composed in December 1969. Over the past 38 years it has benefited from the hands of countless editors, contributors, and staff time. Our staff of two and a half souls continues to put a high priority on maintaining high standards of publication including interesting articles related to a diversity of topics related to Greensboro’s treasured places. Some members have told me that receiving Landmarks in the mail is the best part of being a member of Preservation Greensboro. Well, that’s ok!
This issue, we review Greensboro’s textile heritage, including two defining periods of development in our city. We are fortunate to have an in-depth article about Greensboro’s earliest textile mill, the Mount Hecla Mill begun by Henry Humphreys in the 1820s, researched and written by Mac Whatley of Franklinville. Mac is an enthusiast of industrial history, especially textile history here in North Carolina. His article profiles this Greensboro patriarch, declared by Mac to be a “primary influence” on industrialization in antebellum North Carolina, adding:
“… Greensboro is no stranger to the superlatives of American textile history (since the 1890s). But the association is even older. Before 1830, Greensboro was home to what appears to have been the first steam-powered textile mill in the South, and the first textile mill of any kind in the North Carolina Piedmont: the Mount Hecla factory, located on the northwest corner of Bellemeade and Battleground. The proprietor of the factory, Henry Humphreys, is an unsung trailblazer for the southern textile industry. The state historic marker on West Friendly Avenue at North Greene Street is Humphrey’s only memorial in Greensboro, but his personal initiative and vision were crucial to the industrialization of antebellum economy, with his pioneer example inspiring textile entrepreneurs for more than half a century.”
To read more about Humphreys and his Mount Hecla factory, look for Landmarks in your mailbox (or become a member of Preservation Greensboro if you aren’t already!).
Other articles in our summer issue include a profile of the Cone family and their Revolution Cotton Mills, a primer on the nomenclature of brick construction, and news from Greensboro’s active historic districts.
Though I’m glad we got this issue to the post office today, we are already designing the lay-out for the next issue – ready to learn about the lost symbolism of nineteenth century gravestones?