Councilman, community group hope to preserve historic mill
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HIGH POINT--A city councilman and a community group are trying to save one of the city's historic mills from the wrecking ball. They said the mill's current owner had fallen on hard times and might tear down at least a portion of the complex.
It once was a thriving company, but these days the Highland Yarn Mills on Mill Avenue sits idle. City Councilman Mike Pugh said plans by Los Angeles-based Cisco Brothers fell through.
"They had some very great ideas to put a furniture showroom, a farmers market, maybe shops and different things in the mill and renovate the mill,” said Pugh. “But like everything else they got caught up in the recession."
Dozens of company-owned homes surrounding the mill once housed its workers and eventually were sold, many of them to former workers. But Pugh said the mill's future was uncertain.
"There's been some speculation that there's a possibility the mill may be demolished or portions of it be demolished," he said.
The Southwest Renewal Group hoped to get the mill on the National Register of Historic Places, which might attract a new owner and spur interest in development.
"Well, there would be big tax savings on that and there could be government grants,” said the group's Charles Simmons. “It would be a preservationist's dream."
In addition to the economic potential, the mill has great meaning to many people whose families lived and worked there.
"I have a lot of sentimental attachments to the village because I was born here,” said Pugh. “My father, my mother both worked at the mill. My grandmother, my grandfather on both sides worked here."
"I grew up here in Highland, two doors down and my mom and dad both worked here,” said Pat Bodenhamer. “My dad went to work when he was 14 when he came here, so, I hope they can keep this mill because it means a lot to this community."
Simmons said anyone interested in the Highland Mills complex can contact him at (336)886-4602.