Top Ten Facts About Rocky Mount Mills

falls on the tar river rocky mount ncFrom the gazebo at Battle Park, visitors can watch the Tar River cascade over the rocky boulders at the "falls of the Tar. The rolling water hearkens back to a time when the flowing river complemented the rattle and hum coming from the machines at Rocky Mount Mills.

While the mill itself has gone silent, the area is very much alive. New innovations, a brewery incubator, restoration of the mill village and even a mill 5K run have marked a new era for this North Carolina landmark.

We felt this was a perfect opportunity to explore these top ten facts about Rocky Mount Mills.

1. Rocky Mount Mills was the second oldest cotton mill in North Carolina.
It was established in 1818. Over time, it would eventually expand to cover roughly 20 acres.


2. The mill remained in operation until 1996—making it the longest-running mill in North Carolina.
The cotton mill was one of the area’s most lucrative endeavors.


3. The mills produced cotton yarns but never textiles/fabric.

4. The building showcases a variety of architectural styles from several different eras.
This includes the antebellum, postwar, and twentieth century eras.


5. Initially the mill was owned by two business partners, but by 1825, it was solely owned by Joel Battle.

6. Farm families were the primary customers.
Lower-grade yarn and cloth was sold to nearby farm families before the Civil War. These families would then use carding machines, looms and spinning wheels to make their own clothes.


7. The original mill was primarily made from local granite.

8. There were three hydro-electric turbines that provided electricity to the mills and village into the 20th Century.

9. Rocky Mount Mills was only one of many mills that helped produce a total of $191 million worth of textiles during World War I.

10. The mill was burned by the Union troops during the Civil War.
This was only one of two fires that damaged the facility throughout the years. The mill was completely rebuilt when it was destroyed by another fire in 1869. The fires prompted changes in the ways buildings were constructed. Later buildings had masonry exterior walls and had water pumping stations around the complex.


We're thrilled about our rich history, but we're also excited to be looking toward the future. Following are some articles from our archive about the incredible developments blossoming around Rocky Mount Mills:

Craft Breweries Bring Employment Opportunities to Rocky Mount

Updates on Rocky Mount Mills

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