BELLEVUE MILL - OPENING ROOM

BELLEVUE MILL - OPENING ROOM

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1909
/ Demolished in
1970-2000
Construction type: 
,
Type: 

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  • Tue, 10/11/2016 - 8:37am by gary

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,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1909
/ Demolished in
1970-2000
Construction type: 
,
Type: 

 

Bellevue Mill, 1950s, looking west. South Nash Street runs along the foreground left to right. The Opening Room is to the left (single story, stepped parapet) and the Cloth Room is to the right (two story)

The Opening Room was constructed prior to 1911 as the Cloth Room and Cotton Shed. After construction of the two-story Cloth Room (to the right above) the building was repurposed as the Opening Room.

Per LearnNC (http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-newsouth/5493):

Manufacturing began in the opening room, where workers removed the ties and bagging from bales of raw cotton. Because of the dust and dirt and the ever-present danger of fire, this room was often located in an adjacent warehouse or in the basement of the mill. The opening machine tore apart the compressed cotton, removing dirt and short fibers. As the cotton was fluffed, a vacuum system carried it through a giant tube to the picker room, where pickers — or lappers as they were also known — continued to clean the cotton and organize it into continuous, even sheets.

H. Lee Waters, still from 1939 film. Looking north on S. Nash. The Opening Room is on the left, and the Cloth Room is behind that. (State Archives of NC)

In ?, the Opening Room was demolished and replaced by a pseudohistoric block building with brick veneer and fake windows

07.31.2016 (G. Kueber)

Behind those windows is solid concrete block.

From the CBRE leasing flyer, 2016

It's not a terrible looking building - I believe it was purchased by Redeye as part of their acquisition of the modern warehouse (formerly Southern Season) and as of August 2016 is for lease as industrial space. I do hope someone can think differently about this building - with some renovation there is the possiblity that it could contribute positively to the retail environment along South Nash. My wish list would be for Redeye/YepRoc to team up with Mystery Brewing (as they have for their "Sawyer Sessions") and make this building into a music venue. It's the right size and shape, and it would certainly need a lot of acoustic treatment, but otherwise the fake windows would actually be an asset.

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