The Hoskins Mill, 1907
The Hoskins Mill, 1988
The office building at the Hoskins Mill
This report was written on February 1, 1988
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Hoskins Mill is located at 201 S. Hoskins Road in Charlotte, North Carolina.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the
property: The owner of the property is:
Trenton Properties, Inc.
James A. Mezzanotte, President
6521 Trenton Place
Charlotte, NC 28226
Telephone: (704) 364-9608
3. Representative photographs of the property: This report
contains representative photographs of the property.
4. A map depicting the location of the property: This report
contains a map which depicts the location of the property.
5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent
deed to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 5652, page
72. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is: 063-061-23.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains
a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by Dr. William H.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains a brief architectural description of the property prepared by Dr.
Dan L. Morrill, Ph.D.
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria for designation set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-399.4:
a. Special significance in terms of its history, architecture,
and/or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property
known as the Hoskins Mill does possess special significance in terms of
Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on the following
considerations: 1) the Hoskins Mill is one of the best-preserved textile
mill complexes which survive in Mecklenburg County, once a center of
textile manufacturing; 2) the Hoskins Mill Office Building is a unique
remnant of the textile mill architecture of Mecklenburg County; 3) the
Hoskins Mill is the historic heart of the surrounding Hoskins Textile Mill
Village. and 4) E. A. Smith (1862-1933), the principal organizer of the
Hoskins Mill, became a leading textile executive in Mecklenburg County.
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling,
and/or association: The Commission contends that the architectural
description by Dr. Dan L. Morrill which is included in this report
demonstrates that the Hoskins Mill does possess its essential integrity.
9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The Commission is aware that
designation would allow the owner to apply for an automatic deferral of 50%
of the Ad Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the property which becomes
"historic property." The current appraised value of the improvements is
$424,340. The current appraised value of the 11 acres of land is $161,720.
The total appraised value of the property is $586,060. The property is zoned
Date of preparation of this report: February 1, 1988
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
1225 S. Caldwell St.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Telephone: (704) 376-9115
Dr. William H. Huffman
The Hoskins Mill was built in 1903-1904 as the second mill in the
community that was known as
Chadwick, now Hoskins, which is located about three and a half miles
northwest of the Square. The first one in that previously rural area was the
Chadwick, built two years earlier. Together they represented a thirty
percent increase in Charlotte-Mecklenburg's mill capacity, and should be
seen in the context of the rapidly expanding mill production and supply
based in the city and county in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
The key figure in sparking Charlotte-Mecklenburg's transition from being
a cotton trading center to one of cotton manufacturing as part of New South
industrialization was Daniel Augustus Tompkins (1852-1914). A South Carolina
native who was educated and trained in manufacturing in the North, Tompkins
first came to Charlotte in 1882 as a machinery sales representative for
Westinghouse, but quickly saw the potential for growth in the still small
community, and set up his own factory design, contracting and machine shop
business in 1884, the D. A. Tompkins Co. In the following thirty-two years,
Tompkins built over one hundred cotton mills, fertilizer works, electric
light plants and ginneries, and changed the region's cotton oil from a waste
product to a major industry by building about two hundred processing plants.1
The first cotton mill in Charlotte was the
Charlotte Cotton Mills, which started up in 1881. Tompkins built the
city's second, third, and fourth mills, the
Alpha, Ada and Victor in 1889, and built and headed the sixth, the
Atherton , in 1893. He also saw the need for a local company to supply
machinery and equipment for the new mills, and so, with E. A. Smith and R.
M. Miller, Jr., he organized the
Charlotte Supply Company. In 1889. R. M. Miller, Jr. ( 1856-1925) was
secretary-treasurer of the D. A. Tompkins company, and headed the city's
tenth mill, the Elizabeth, in 1901. E. A. Smith ( 1862-1933) was a Baltimore
native who, like Tompkins, came to Charlotte as a representative of Thomas
K. Carey and Son, an industrial supply firm in Baltimore. In 1901, Smith,
Tompkins and Miller sold their interest in the Charlotte Supply Company, and
Smith set about building and operating his own mills.2
His first mill was the Chadwick, located about three miles northwest of
town on Rozelle's Ferry Road and the Seaboard Air Line Railway tracks. Named
after Col. H. S. Chadwick, who headed the Louise Mill (the city s seventh,
started up in 1897), the new three-story plant was built by the J. A. Jones
Construction Company, and a mill village of 40 houses was put in place just
north of the factory. The Chadwick was built and started operations in 1901.
In April, 1903, E. A. Smith, J. P. Wilson and Jeremiah Goff organized
Hoskins Mills, Inc. with authorized stock of 5,000 shares with par value one
hundred dollars, but they began with each of the three owning 125 shares,
which gave them a working capital of $37,500.4 (Goff was the new
vice-president of time Charlotte Supply Company, and its new president, H.
C. Clark, was a principal in the Chadwick Mills with Smith; Goff and Clark
were natives of Warren, Rhode Island, where they got their textile
experience).5 The following month the corporation bought two
tracts of land totaling about 140 acres adjacent to the Chadwick Mills and
set about to build the mill and a typical mill village for the workers.6
Smith chose Hoskins for the mill because it was his mother's family name. By
November, 1903, the mill and most of its village, which was also built by J.
A. Jones, were nearly complete, as reported in the Charlotte Daily
"The new Hoskins Mills, at Chadwick, a western suburb of the city, is
nearing completion, and when completed will be one of the best and
handsomest manufacturing plants in the South. The work of putting the roof
on the building was finished Saturday and the carpenters will now be
engaged in laying the floors. The floors mill have three layers of timber,
with a total thickness of about five inches. The top layer of the floors
will be of maple timber. The machinery for the new mill will begin coming
in within a few weeks and will be placed as it arrives. The equipment of
the plant will be of the best. It will begin operation about the first of
March. Twenty of the 80 tenement houses for the operatives of the mill
have been completed and work has begun on others. The houses are neat,
comfortable structures of four and five rooms and make an attractive
looking little town. When the new plant is in operation, the Chadwick
settlement will have a population of about 1,600 people, including people
who have other trades and do not work in the mills."7
Since the city of Charlotte only had a population of 18,000 at the time,
and the county's industrial capacity was boosted by thirty percent from the
Chadwick and Hoskins mills, this was a substantial undertaking that
reflected the great confidence these entrepreneurs had in the future of the
cotton mill business in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and the surrounding area.8
By 1907, Smith headed the Chadwick, Hoskins, Calvine (formerly Alpha),
Dover (in Pineapple) and Louise mills, and later built mills in Rhodhiss and
King's Mountain.9 The following year, 1908, he began to
consolidate his holdings under one corporate umbrella by forming the
Chadwick-Hoskins Company, with principals William F. Draper, Arthur. J.
Draper and E. C. Dwelle.10 William F. Draper lived in Hopedale,
MA, was U. S. Congressman from that state 1892-7, and U. S. Ambassador to
Italy, 1897-1900; his father George had invented the Draper power loom,
which was found in most textile mills throughout the nation. His son, Arthur
J. Draper, moved to Charlotte, served a term as president of
Chadwick-Hoskins, and subsequently became an officer of the American Trust
Company (merged into American Commercial Bank, 1958, and NCNB, 1960) and a
principal in the Stephens Company, which developed Myers Park.11
Under this new structure, the Chadwick Hill became Chadwick-Hoskins Mill #1,
the Hoskins, Mill #2, Calvine, Mill #3, Louise, Mill #4, and Dover, Mill #5,
and the Chadwick-Hoskins Company was then the largest textile mill business
in North Carolina.12 The Chadwick and Hoskins communities got a
further boost in 1911, when the Piedmont and Northern Electric Commuter
Railway from Charlotte to Gastonia was routed on the west side of the mill
villages with a stop at "Hoskins Station."13 In 1917, the
Charlotte Evening Chronicle ran a picture of the interior of the
spinning room of the Hoskins mill, which carried this caption:
"There is one of the nicest and cleanest mills in this section. Notice
the excellent lighting and the cleanliness and order in which everything
is kept. When a girl gets on a long apron, and "The Chronicle Protection
Cap," which many of them wear, she is well fixed for a job that is not bad
by any means. If she keeps the machinery in good condition it does not
require her to be right over the frames all the time; still the best
spinners are always near at hand. All the floors in the mill, which are of
maple, are kept white and clean and no one would ever dare expectorate
upon the floor or sides of the walls. A mill that is kept in such
condition will always get the better class of help because the best of
spinners will not be satisfied in a mill where there are filthy floors and
walls and bundles of lint and strings always under their feet. There is
some one sweeping or scouring at the Hoskins mill all the time in order
that everything may be kept in perfect condition."14
The villages themselves, with streets named after the mill officers, were
known to be a pleasant place to live, particularly after the development of
an amusement park, Lakewood Park, nearby. The companies, of course, supplied
land and buildings for churches, schools, and recreational facilities.15
In 1920 and 1921, a company owned by the Gossett family bought
controlling interest in the Chadwick-Hoskins Company, and thereby became a
subsidiary of Gossett Mills (known as the "Gossett chain"). By 1939 the
chain was comprised of twelve mills in Virginia, North and South Carolina.16
Benjamin B. Garrett became president of Chadwick-Hoskins (his father, James
P. Gossett, had built up a mill and banking business in Greenville, SC,
starting in 1901).17 In 1946, local control and ownership of
Chadwick-Hoskins ended by a merger with Textron-Southern, Inc. of
Providence, RI; but two years later (1948) Textron-Southern sold the Hoskins
plant to a local company, the Spatex Corporation (The Chadwick had been sold
off a year earlier). Since that time the factory has gone through several
owners, who used it for industrial purposes: P. B. Shikiarides, et al,
1958-60; Westbury Knitwear, 1960-63; Universal Automated Industries,
1963-69; Hydro Prints, 1969-86.18
In August, 1985, a fire caused damage to a small portion of the interior,
and Hydro Prints ceased operations at the mill.19 The present
owners, Trenton Properties, purchased the property in November, 1987, and
intend to rehabilitate the mill.20 Since only portions of the
Chadwick mill remain, the Hoskins mill building is a key part of the mill
legacy of the Chadwick-Hoskins community, and must be preserved if there is
to be any connection with the community's, past, present and future.
1 George T. Winston, Builder of the New South: Being the
Story of the Life Work of Daniel Augustus Tompkins (Garden City, NJ:
Doubleday, 1920), passim.
2 Dan L. Morrill, "A Survey of Cotton Mills in Charlotte,"
Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1979; Winston, cited
in note 1; William H. Huffman, "A Historical Sketch of the Charlotte Supply
Company," Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1983.
3 Charlotte Observer. May 1, 1933, p. 1; Morrill, cited
above; Thomas W. Hanchett, "The Chadwick-Hoskins Mill Villages," Charlotte
Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission. 1986.
4 Mecklenburg County Record of Corporations, Book 1, p. 352.
5 Huffman, cited above.
6 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 179, pp. 110 and 114, 16 May
7 Charlotte Daily Observer. November 30, 1903, p. 5.
8 Hanchett, cited above.
9 Huffman, cited above.
10 Mecklenburg County Record of Corporations, Book 2, p. 313.
11 Hanchett, cited above.
14 Charlotte Evening Chronicle, January 10,1914, p.8.
15 Hanchett, cited above.
18 Record of Corporations, Book 23, p.239,30 September 1946;
Deed Books 1308, p.17; 1994, p.153; 2192, p.535; 2436, p.256; 3147, p.15;
3403, p. 481.
19 Charlotte News, August 12, 1985, p.1B; Deed Book
20 Deed Book 5652, p.72.
Dr. Dan L. Morrill
Statement of Significance
Thomas W. Hanchett, Principal Investigator for the Charlotte Survey,
believes that the Hoskins Mill Complex is among the most significant
remnants of Charlotte's textile mill architecture. He writes:
"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
Unlike the majority of Charlotte's initial cotton mills, such as the Ada,
Alpha, and Atherton, which were primarily patterned after the design
philosophy of D. A. Tompkins, thereby containing no more than two floors,
the Hoskins Mill exhibits the form and massing which one encounters in early
New England textile factories and in mills constructed later in the South --
a truth perhaps reflective of the fact that Northern money was involved in
the founding of the Hoskins Mill or that standardized fire safety
regulations were increasingly influencing textile mill architecture
throughout the United States.
Finally, with the notable exception of Highland Park Manufacturing
Company Mill No. 3, the Hoskins Mill is the only surviving Charlotte textile
complex that contains a significant support building. Indeed, the Hoskins
Mill Office Building is an invaluable and irreplaceable historic remnant of
the industrial built environment of Charlotte.
The Hoskins Mill, later Chadwick-Hoskins Mill No. 1, erected in 1903-04, is
located to the immediate southeast of the intersection of Gossett Ave. and
Hoskins Rd. in the northwestern quadrant of Charlotte, North Carolina, at
the terminus of a now mostly destroyed railroad siding off the Seaboard Air
Line tracks which run beside Rozzelle's Ferry Rd.2 It is an
American bond brick mill building with segmental arched windows with cement
sills on the first floor, segmental foundation vents, a shallow
gable roof, broad, flat eaves with heavy wooden brackets, and
characteristic wooden post and beam construction and two stairways and an
elevator shaft on the interior.
The main body of the structure, which faces northwestward toward Hoskins
Rd., is twenty-eight bays wide and nine bays deep, three stories tall, with
a bathroom tower on the eastern facade (away from Hoskins Rd.), and wooden
double entrance doors near either end of the western facade (toward Hoskins
Rd.). Extending northward from the main block is a one story, seven bay wide
by nine bay deep extension identical in architectural detailing to that of
the main block. Projecting from the southern end of the Hoskins Mill, where
the machine shop and picker room were located, is a one-story and two-story
section, severely damaged by fire in the early 1980s, which housed the
engine room, storage, and loading and unloading docks. A small, one story
wooden building, southeastward from the bathroom tower, was probably
originally a pump house.3 Several metal standards, also
associated with fire protection, are situated in the yard between the main
block and Hoskins Rd.
An especially striking feature of the Hoskins Mill complex, and one which
is unique to Charlotte, is an extant, one and one-half story, five bay wide
by nine bay deep, brick office building in
running bond, facing Hoskins Rd. and situated near the northwestern
corner of the property. The slate truncated tripped roof, with broad eaves
and brackets, is penetrated by six jerkinhead
dormers. The main
windows are 1/1
sash with granite sills and segmental arches. A gable-roofed stoop
protects a side entrance near the rear of the southern facade. An
unprotected arched entryway exists on the rear or eastern side of the office
building; and a front entrance porch, with a steeply-pitched gable roof
supported by two brick pillars, is situated at the center of the western
The interior of the office building contains several original features.
The woodwork (window surrounds, dado rails, base and crown mouldings) is
largely intact. An early or original light fixture hangs from the center of
the room on the right front of the building. A stairway leads to a large,
attic, which has been used for storage. But particularly noteworthy are a
safe, still containing the inscription, "Chadwick-Hoskins Co.," and a
magnificent oak and frosted glass counter just inside the pair of
single-lighted front entrance doors, no doubt where millworkers and others
came to do business with the Hoskins Mill management.
Important historic elements of the Hoskins Mill Complex no longer exist.
They include: 1) a 3,000,000 gallon capacity reservoir, 2) two cotton
warehouses, and 3) a transformer station.4 Moreover, significant
changes have occurred to the Hoskins Mill, including the placement of a
loading platform and office entrance on the northern end of the eastern
facade of the main block, no doubt to accommodate trucks. Also, the bathroom
fixtures in the bathroom tower are of relatively recent origin. On balance,
however, the Hoskins Mill complex, including the office building, retains
its essential historic integrity.
1 Thomas W. Hanchett, "Charlotte And Its Neighborhoods: The
Growth of a New South City" (An unpublished manuscript in the files of the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1985), Chapter 14.
2 Insurance Maps of Charlotte, North Carolina (Sanborn Map
Company, New York, 1929), Vol. 3, p. 348.