This report was written on July 1, 1998
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Textile Mill Supply Company is located at 1300 South Mint Street in
Charlotte, North Carolina.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the
property: The owner is:
Triple Mint, Inc.
1229 Greenwood Cliff
Charlotte, NC 28204
Telephone Number: (704) 333-8881
3. Representative Photographs of the property: This report
contains interior and exterior photographs of the property.
4. Maps depicting the location of the property: This report
contains a map depicting the location of the property.
5. Current deed book references to the property: The most recent
deed to the Textile Mill Supply Company is listed in Mecklenburg County Deed
Book 9364 at Page 917. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is 073-265-05.
6. A brief historical description of the property: This report
contains a historical sketch of the property prepared by Dr. Dan L. Morrill.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains an architectural description of the property prepared by Dr. Dan L.
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets criteria
for designation set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-400.5:
a. Special significance in terms of history, architecture, and
cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known as
the Textile Mill Supply Company does possess special significance in terms
of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The Commission bases its judgment on
the following considerations: 1) the Textile Mill Supply Company, designed
by Lockwood Green & Co., illustrates the essentially conservative values
which underlay Charlotte's industrial and commercial architecture in the
1920's; 2) the Textile Mill Supply Company was an important component of
the industrial and commercial infrastructure which allowed Charlotte to
become a major textile center of the two Carolinas in the early twentieth
century; and 3) the Textile Mill Supply Company is an important remnant of
an industrial district which arose in the early 1900's between the Wilmore
streetcar line and the tracks of the Southern, now Norfolk Southern
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling,
and association: The Commission contends that the architectural
description by Dr. Dan L. Morrill demonstrates that the Textile Mill
Supply Company meets this criterion.
9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The current Ad Valorem tax appraisal
for the improvements is $365,810. The current Ad Vorem tax appraisal for the
1.453 acres of land is $110,400. The total Ad Valorem tax appraisal for the
parcel is $476,210. The property is zoned I-2.
Date of Preparation of this Report: July 1, 1998
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill
Charlotte - Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
2100 Randolph Road
Charlotte, N.C. 28207
Summary Paragraph The Textile Mill Supply Company Building,
erected in 1922, is a structure that possesses local historic importance
because it housed enterprises that made significant contributions to
Charlotte's emergence as a major textile manufacturing and distribution
center in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Textile Mill Supply
Company sold and distributed supplies essential to the operations of
textile mills in the Piedmont sections of the two Carolinas. Items sold
included pulleys, shafts, bearings, lubricants, couplers, spinning rings,
ball bearings, electric motors, pumps, casters, and metal shelving, to name
just a few of the products in the company's inventory. The only other
Charlotte structure associated with the textile mill supply business, the
Charlotte Supply Company Building, was torn down in the mid 1990's to
make way for Charlotte's Ericsson Stadium, home of the NFL Carolina
Panthers. The Charlotte Manufacturing Company, which leased space on the
third floor of the Textile Mill Supply Company Building from 1922 until
1956, likewise participated in Charlotte's development as a textile center.
It produced and shipped card clothing and loom reeds, also indispensable
supplies for the textile industry.
Without the support of firms like the Textile Mill Supply Company and its
tenant, the Charlotte Manufacturing Company, cotton mills could not have
proliferated in the Piedmont sections of the two Carolinas in the early
twentieth century. The Textile Mill Supply Company Building, designed by
Lockwood Green & Company, also possesses local historic importance because
it is a representative example of a type of commercial and industrial
structure constructed in Charlotte in the 1920's. Like the Charlotte Supply
Company Building and the Electric Supply and Equipment Company Building
(1925), both fashioned by Lockwood Green & Company, the Textile Mill Supply
Company Building is essentially revivalistic. Such elements as the regularly
punctuated fenestration, the stepped-parapet roofline with concrete coping,
concrete lintels and sills at the windows, a decorative diamond in each end
bay on the eastern elevation, the corbeled string courses in brick just
below the cornice of the Mint St. side of the building, and the symmetrical
massing of the building's front facade, hearken back, however obliquely, to
Classical concepts of beauty. These revivalistic structures are reflective
of the conservative philosophy that characterized the political, social and
economic thinking of Charlotte's business elite in the 1920's.
Commerce and Industry Context and Historical Background Statement
The Textile Mill Supply Company Building, erected in 1922, housed
enterprises that contributed to Charlotte's emergence as a major textile
manufacturing and distribution center in the late 19th and early 20th
centuries. "Among all of North Carolina's cities, Charlotte enjoyed the most
sustained growth and by 1910 had surpassed Wilmington as the largest in the
state," writes historian Brent D. Glass. "The significance of Charlotte's
development," says Glass, "lay not only in the thirteen textile mills built
between 1889 and 1908 but also in the creation of a true urban
infrastructure that included engineering firms, financial institutions, and
department stores."1 Incorporated on October 7, 1898, by four
former employees of the rival Charlotte Supply Company, the Textile Mill
Supply Company was involved in "buying, selling and dealing" in textile mill
machinery and supplies.2 The company sold such items as pulleys,
shafts, bearings, lubricants, couplers, spinning rings, ball bearings,
electric motors, pumps, casters, and metal shelving, to name just a few of
the products in its inventory.3 Moreover, until 1956, the
Charlotte Manufacturing Company, makers of card clothing and loom reeds,
leased space on the third floor of the Textile Mill Supply Company Building.4
Elements of line shafting used by this industrial enterprise remain in the
building. Without the support of firms like the Textile Mill Supply Company
and its tenant, the Charlotte Manufacturing Company, cotton mills could not
have proliferated in the Piedmont sections of the two Carolinas in the early
twentieth century. Thomas Bigham (1925 - ), who first went to work for the
Textile Mill Supply Company in 1941, traveled as a young boy with his
father, Roy Bigham (1886-1953), who had become a salesman for the company in
1906. They drove by automobile to textile mills throughout North Carolina
and parts of South Carolina. "Go every place you see a smokestack," the
elder Bigham was told. Business was conducted on a more personal basis in
the 1920's and 1930's. Roy Bigham would visit with the mill superintendents,
get their permission to ascertain the needs of the stock room managers,
write up the orders for the superintendents' review, and then take the
orders back to Charlotte, from where the goods would be shipped by rail and
later by truck to the customers. "The superintendents would often ask Dad to
have supper at their houses," Thomas Bigham remembers.5
On May 30, 1958, the Textile Mill Supply Company merged with the
Industrial Hardware and Supply Company to become the Industrial and Textile
Supply Company.6 By 1967, the company had opened a distribution
facility on West Franklin Avenue in Gastonia and another on Main Avenue
Place in Hickory.7 Gradually the textile share of the Industrial
and Textile Supply Company's business diminished as a greater variety of
industrial customers was developed and as the number of textile mills in the
region declined. In July, 1997, the Industrial and Textile Supply Company
vacated its headquarters in Charlotte at 1300 South Mint Street and moved to
the Arrowood Industrial Park in southern Mecklenburg County.8
Although presently empty, the Textile Mill Supply Company Building stands as
a compelling reminder of the importance of the textile industry in Charlotte
and its surroundings in the early and middle years of the twentieth century.
The only other Charlotte structure associated with the textile mill supply
business, the Charlotte Supply Company Building, was torn down in the mid
1990's to make way for Charlotte's Ericsson Stadium, home of the NFL
Carolina Panthers.9 Happily, a group of investors is converting
the Textile Mill Supply Company building into office condominiums.
Architecture Context and Historical Background Statement
The location of the Textile Mill Supply Company Building is intimately
bound up with the laying of an electric
streetcar track along South Mint Street to connect the Wilmore
neighborhood. with Charlotte's central business district. The rapid increase
of Charlotte's population in the early 1900's heightened the demand for
housing. "With the booming economic growth came tremendous physical
expansion," says Thomas W. Hanchett.10 In 1914, real estate
developer F. C. Abbott responded to the vigorous local housing market by
laying out lots in a new streetcar suburb named Wilmore, and the trolley
line was built down Mint Street from uptown Charlotte to serve the
neighborhood. The Wilmore streetcar line paralleled and was only about a
block and a half east of the Southern Railroad tracks that connected
Charlotte and Gastonia. 11
It was virtually inevitable that the area between Mint St. and the
railroad would become a major industrial district. With excellent railroad
and improving highway connections to communities in the Piedmont sections of
the two Carolinas, Charlotte became the logical place in the early 1900's
from which to ship supplies to the ever increasing number of textile mills
in the region. "Many new demands have come upon Charlotte Realtors during
the past year for locations for building of warehouses, because Charlotte
has come to be known in the sales organizations of national manufacturers
throughout America as the best point in the Southeast for the distribution
of products and for the location of branch plants," proclaimed the
Charlotte Observer. "Some realtors here have become specialists in
finding such locations to suit varying requirements, and almost every
available foot of railroad frontage has been analyzed and compared in
price." The newspaper noted that "proximity to street cars, freight
stations, express offices and retail districts commands the higher prices."
12 Originally located in rented space at the corner of East
Fourth and South College Streets in center city Charlotte, the Textile Mill
Supply Company had a three-story, brick store, warehouse and manufacturing
building erected in 1922 next to a Southern Railroad spur line that
terminated at South Mint Street.13
Designed by the South Carolina architectural and engineering firm
Lockwood, Green & Company and erected by the E. H. Clements Company of
Durham, the building is situated just south of the center city and just
north and west of Charlotte's Wilmore neighborhood.14 According
to the Charlotte Observer, more than 50 firms submitted bids for the
"construction, plumbing, heating, elevator, lighting, etc." "Plans have been
so drawn," the newspaper continued, "that the plant to be built may be
duplicated at any time, making the structure just twice as large as it will
be as contemplated."15 Lockwood, Green & Company predicted that
the building would be completed by October 1st. 16
Lockwood, Green & Company, headquartered in Greenville, S. C., was one of
the principal contractors that specialized in the construction of textile
mills and other industrial type buildings in the Charlotte area in the first
half of the twentieth century.17 Among the Charlotte structures
the firm designed was the Charlotte Supply Company Building (1923) at 500
South Mint Street (torn down in the early 1990's to make way for Ericsson
Stadium), and the Electric Supply and Equipment Company Building (1925),
which is located at 421 Penman Street or less than one block west of the
Textile Mill Supply Company Building.18 Architecturally, the
Textile Mill Supply Company Building, like the Charlotte Supply Company
Building and the Electric Supply and Equipment Company Building, is
essentially revivalistic. Such elements as the regularly punctuated
fenestration, the stepped-parapet roofline with concrete coping, concrete
lintels and sills at the windows, a decorative diamond in concrete on each
end bay on the eastern elevation, the corbeled string courses in brick just
below the cornice of the Mint St. side of the building, and the symmetrical
massing of the building's front facade, hearken back, however obliquely, to
Classical concepts of beauty. These principles of design are also strikingly
evident in architect/engineer Richard C. Biberstein's
Nebel Knitting Mill (1927- 1929) on Camden Road in Charlotte, which has
been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
These revivalistic structures are reflective of the conservative
philosophy that characterized the political, social and economic thinking of
Charlotte's business elite in the 1920's. During this decade of
unprecedented growth, when Charlotte's population increased by 78 percent to
82,675, there was little interest in experimentation or boldness. This
hesitancy to be daring stood in sharp contrast to the attitudes of
Charlotte's business community in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries. "The generation of New South leaders, including D. A. Tompkins,
Edward Dilworth Latta, and George Stephens, who had taken enormous risks to
turn the Piedmont into a major industrial region, were passing their power
to a new generation," explains Hanchett. "The new leaders," Hanchett
continues, "seemed much less adventuresome, willing to follow in the
directions set by their predecessors. Their homes and offices reflected this
increased interest in tradition over innovation, in social correctness than
1 Brent D. Glass, The Textile Industry In North Carolina. A
History (Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Department Of
Cultural Resources, 1992), p. 44.
2 Mecklenburg County Book of Corporations 1, p. 87. The
initial stockholders were W. H. C. Rose, A. J. Crampton, F. B. Ferris, and
J. J. Farnan. Rose, from Baltimore, Md., had been general manager of the
Charlotte Supply Company. Farnan, also from Batltimore, had been head
bookkeeper. Crampton, from Syracuse, N.Y., had been a traveling salesman, as
had F. B. Ferris, who was from Providence, R.I. B. D. Heath was president of
the Textile Mill Supply Company, W. C. Heath vice-president, Farnan
secretary and treasurer, and Rose the general manager. Ferris and Crampton
were traveling salesmen. Charlotte Observer (October 8, 1898), p. 6.
Charlotte's first cotton mill was the
Charlotte Cotton Mills, established by the R. M. Oates and D. W. Oates.
In 1880-1881. The pace of textile industrialization quickened in Charlotte
and its environs after the founding of the D. A. Tompkins Company in 1884.
3 Interview of Thomas Schroder Bigham by Dr. Dan L. Morrill
(December 14, 1997). Hereinafter cited as Interview.
4 Charlotte City Directory 1923-24, p. 223. Charlotte City
Directory 1955, p. 128. Charlotte City Directory 1956, p. 131.
6 Mecklenburg County Book of Corporations 45, p. 201. The
members of the original Board of Directors of the Industrial and Textile
Supply Company were E. G. Glover, A. K. Glover, J. H. Bobbitt, J. R.
Allison, R. K. Allison, and H. J. Allison.
7 Catolog E. Industrial & Textile Supply Company (1967).
9 For a history and description of the Charlotte Supply
Company building, see Dr. Dan L. Morrill, "Survey
And Research Report On The Old Charlotte Supply Company Building."
(Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1983).
10 Thomas W. Hanchett, "The Growth Of Charlotte: A History."
(Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1985), p. 27.
11 For a map of Charlotte's streetcar system, see Ibid.
12 Charlotte Observer (June 29, 1925), p. 2.
13 The original location of the Textile Mill Supply Company is
shown on the Sanborn Insurance Map of Charlotte, N.C., 1911, p. 5.
14 Charlotte Building Permit No. 3807. The application for the
permit was received by the Charlotte Building Inspector on June 20, 1922;
and the permit was issued on June 23, 1922. The E. H. Clements Company,
headquartered in Durham, did have a Charlotte office. For a photograph of E.
H. Clements, see Cathertine W. Bishir, Charlotte, V. Brown, Carl R.
Lounsbury and Ernest H. Wood III, Architects and Builders in North
Carolina: A History of the Practice of Building (The University of North
Carolina Press, 1990), p. 341. Lockwood, Green & Company was extremely
active in the Charlotte building industry in the 1920's and had a local
office. Other Charlotte projects included the Charlotte Central High School
15 Charlotte Observer (June 25, 1922), Sec. 2., pp.
16 The initial home of the Textile Mill Supply Company was
condemned and torn down to widen East Fourth Street.
17 Bishir, Brown, Lounsbury and Wood, p. 267.
18 Dan L. Morrill, "Survey
and Research Report On The Charlotte Supply Company Building".
Charlotte News (June 30, 1925). Charlotte Building Permit No. 6204.
19 Thomas W. Hanchett, "Charlotte
Architecture. Design Through Time." (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic
Properties Commission, 1985), p. 34.
The Textile Mill Supply Company Building is a three story, ten bay wide
by five by deep, red brick structure with a full basement. It is situated on
a sloping, rectangular lot on the southwestern quadrant of the intersection
of South Mint and Penman Streets, just south of center city Charlotte and
just north and west of the Wilmore neighborhood.1 Initially
served by a streetcar line on Mint Street and located roughly one and
one-half blocks from the main line of the Norfolk Southern Railroad (then
Southern Railroad), the site was well suited in 1922 as the place for a
distribution warehouse and textile manufacturing facility. The Textile Mill
Supply Company Building borders the sidewalk on the eastern edge of the
property and faces Mint Street. An abandoned railroad spur parallels the
property on the south and terminates near the rear of the building. Three
auxiliary buildings, no longer extant, stood on the western edge of the lot.
One was used to store goods unloaded from freight cars on the railroad spur,
and the others as garages for delivery trucks. The 1300 block of South Mint
St., once filled with industrial buildings, now has only one older structure
remaining -- the Textile Mill Supply Company Building.
As expected in a building designed by Lockwood, Green & Company, the
Textile Mill Supply Company Building exhibits characteristics typical of
early twentieth century "mill construction." It has a slightly sloping,
essentially flat roof of tar and gravel, brick exterior walls laid in
Common Bond, large rectangular windows with metal muntins and small
hopper inserts, pine post-and-beam framing throughout the interior, and
wooden floors, except for a cement floor in the full basement.
A central entrance with replacement glass doors (boarded up during
on-going renovations), regularly punctuated fenestration, and slightly
projecting end bays contribute to the symmetrical massing of the Mint Street
elevation of the building. The
windows have cement sills and lintels. Corbeled detailing decorates the
front facade, which also has a stepped-parapet wall in concrete. A
decorative diamond in concrete embellishes the upper portion of the shallow,
corbeled bays on each end of the front facade and those at the front of the
northern and the southern elevations of the building. Corbeled string
courses extend just below the cornice across the Mint Street front and along
both sides of the building. Original pairs of wooden doors are located near
the front and rear of the northern facade, and a replacement metal door
penetrates the southern side of the building. The wood-framed western or
rear wall of the Textile Mill Supply Company Building has been removed
during on-going renovations, as have its rectangular windows with metal
muntins and small hopper windows. The windows will be replaced as part of
the upfit of the building. A major addition is being attached during
on-going renovations to the western facade to accommodate new office
condominiums. The interior of the building is mostly warehouse space. The
northwest corner of the building contains a wooden stairway with a solid
wooden partition wall on the open side that is surmounted by a wooden
handrail that terminates at newels of simple or restrained design. An
elevator shaft on the southwestern corner of the building is being closed
during on-going renovations, and the car will be placed permanently at the
basement level. The top floor contains remnants of a line shafting system,
replete with shaft and pulleys, which was used by the Charlotte
Manufacturing Company, a tenant from 1922 to 1956, to power the machinery
that made loom reeds and card clothing. On-going renovations also involve
the erection of partition walls on all floors to divide the interior space
into hallways, offices, and auxiliary facilities.
The Textile Mill Supply Company was the home for more than 70 years of an
important component of Charlotte's industrial heritage. Especially with the
destruction of the Charlotte Supply Company, the Textile Mill Supply Company
is the only extant edifice that documents this significant part of the
history of textiles in this community. Moreover, because the building is
largely intact, it reflects an important era in the evolution of the
building arts in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.