BELLEVUE MANUFACTURING COMPANY

BELLEVUE MANUFACTURING COMPANY


The Bellevue (initially spelled "Belle-vue") Manufacturing Company, located in west Hillsborough, was incorporated in 1904. The original two-story mill building (with a one-story wing to the west) was built sometime between 1907 and 1909, and was run by belt-driven machinery fueled by steam power.

The Bellevue (initially spelled "Belle-vue") Manufacturing Company, located in west Hillsborough, was incorporated in 1904. The original two-story mill building (with a one-story wing to the west) was built sometime between 1907 and 1909, and was run by belt-driven machinery fueled by steam power.

Shepherd Strudwick, Sr. was its first president, and was president until 1929. For many years T. Norfleet Webb was secretary and treasurer. After 1929, L.E. Beard was president and treasurer. In 1911 the mill was operating with 5000 spindles and 200 narrow looms and was manufacturing ginghams; by 1924 it was producing ginghams and cheviots.

BELLEVUE MILL - MAIN MILL BUILDING

,
Hillsborugh
NC
Built in
1907-1909
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
National Register: 
Type: 
Use: 

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Last updated

  • Sat, 05/13/2017 - 2:51pm by gary

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,
Hillsborugh
NC
Built in
1907-1909
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
National Register: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

From "History of the Town of Hillsborough 1754-1966"

1911 (Sanborn Map)

c. ~2000 (NCSU Historic Architecture survey)

10.29.2004 (Belk Architecture)

08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture)

08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture)

Basement level, 08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture)

Interior, 08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture)

01.23.2016 (G. Kueber)

South face of Main Mill, 01.23.2016 (G.Kueber)

Detail of Main Mill, 01.23.2016 (G. Kueber)

Renovations began in earnest in late 2016; by March of 2017, the 1960s infill on the north side of the main mill building had been demolished, re-exposing that facade for the first time in ~50 years.

Looking west from South Nash, 03.01.2017 (G. Kueber)

05.02.2017 (G. Kueber)

05.02.2017 (G. KUeber)

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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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BELLEVUE MILL -ENGINE ROOM

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1909
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Type: 

The main boiler and power plant for the mill; built with attractive Romanesque arches, it likely served as a primary entrance to the mill.

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  • Sun, 09/04/2016 - 1:33pm by gary

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,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1909
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Type: 

 

01.23.2016

Attached to the south facade of the two-story block were boiler and engine rooms, separated from the main mill and from each other by fire walls. To the east of these was the beaming room. The facade of this room was preserved behind a 1923 addition, but must have been destroyed upon removal of that addition: the existing south wall sits several feet in front of the engine room facade. The original factory had a power train of belt-driven machinery, run by steam power; at the rear of the engine room, a belt-way penetrated the main area of the mill.

1943 Sanborn

The facades of the boiler room and engine room are the most "designed" of the complex, and must have been intended as the entry to the mill. The engine room has a large segmental arch opening, the top of which is still visible behind a later wall. Above, to each side, is a smaller window set beneath a segmental arch; in 1923 the arches were filled in with masonry and the windows replaced with steel sash. The arch motif is repeated in the facade of the neighboring boiler room, which resembles a portico; this facade is intact, although hard to view because of the proximity of the neighboring warehouse which was later built to the south.

08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture)

 

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In 1920 a one-story weaving room was built to the north of the original mill building, and an office was built to its east. In 1923 a second story was added to the weaving room, an addition was built at the west end of the original mill building, a Picker Room was added next to the power plant, and a two-story cloth building was built on Nash Street (which was demolished circa 2005). Between 1919 and 1926 the mill was converted to electric power.

BELLEVUE MILL - WEAVING ROOM

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1920-1924
/ Demolished in
2016
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
National Register: 
Type: 
Use: 

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Last updated

  • Sun, 09/04/2016 - 1:46pm by gary

Comments

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1920-1924
/ Demolished in
2016
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
National Register: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

Weaving Room, 1950 (via Steve Rankin)

The Weave Room or Weaving Room was built ~~1923 as part of the expansion of the Bellevue Mill beyond its original Main Mill building.

 

Interior of Weaving Room, 08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture)

Interior of Weaving Room, 08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture) - Evidently there are some Nazi graffiti artist soap opera fans out there (who, typically, botched the quote.)

Interior of Weaving Room, 08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture)

On May 20, 2016, in the afternoon, a "suspicious" fire broke out in the Weaving Room, quickly becoming a multiple alarm / mutual aid fire, with fire departments from Efland, Mebane, Chapel Hill, New Hope (and perhaps others) responding.

Only part of the exterior wall remains after the destructive fire.

05.21.2016 (Town of Hillsborough

Looking east, 05.23.2016 (Belk Architecture)

07.31.16 (G. Kueber)

The sale of the mill complex to a developer occurred on 08.23.2016; the developer maintains that they will reconstruct the Weave Room in its original configuration.

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BELLEVUE MILL - OFFICE BUILDING

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1920
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

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Last updated

  • Sun, 09/04/2016 - 1:31pm by gary

Comments

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1920
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

 

Office Building, 05.04.2005 (Belk Architecture)

Attached to the eastern facade of the Weave Room, built in 1920, is a small two-story building that served as the main office for the mill.

1943 Sanborn

05.04.2005 (Belk Architecture)

Interior, 08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture)

07.31.2016 (G. Kueber)

 

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BELLEVUE MILL - PICKER ROOM

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1920
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Type: 

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  • Sun, 09/04/2016 - 1:30pm by gary

Comments

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1920
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Type: 

 

Looking northwest, 08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture)

1943 Sanborn

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BELLEVUE MILL - CLOTH ROOM

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1923
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
National Register: 
Type: 

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Last updated

  • Sun, 09/04/2016 - 12:11pm by gary

Comments

,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1923
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
National Register: 
Type: 

 

07.31.2016 (G. Kueber)

In 1923, a two-story cloth building was built along Nash Street, on the site of the former cotton storage sheds. The gabled roofline of this building is the same pitch as the main mill building, anchored by an elevator tower at the northeast corner. It has continuous fenestration with steel hopper windows (15 pane windows on the first floor, 35 panes on the second floor). Unlike the windows of the main mill and addition, the sills are concrete and the lintels are flat rather than arched. The short north and south facades have double- wide service doors at both levels.

1943 Sanborn Map (ProQuest)

Looking east-northeast, 05.04.2005 (Belk Architecture)

View south with the Cloth Building to the left and the Main Mill/Picker Room to the right, 05.04.2005. (Belk Architecture) This is prior to the construction of the faux-historic building between the cloth building and the West End storefronts (the profile of which can be seen in this picture as the gray stepped masonry walls in the background)

 

Window detail - 07.31.16 (G. Kueber)

08.10.2015 (Belk Architecture)

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Local ownership and control of the mill ended in 1945, when it was purchased by Hesslein and Company. After its purchase by Hesslein and Company, more than a half million dollars was spent in improvements to the mill. The improvements included new penning and picking machines, new carding machines, new drawing and spinning frames, a new boiler plant, a new lighting system, and the installation of white tiled washrooms.

1950s - Looking west - the main mill is to the left (with the visible framed windows) and the weaving room is to the right. A 1923 connector bridges between the buildings at the background. The two story structure in the foreground is the Cloth Room.

 

In the 1950s, the plant manufactured ginghams and related fabrics. In 1953, the mill employed 355 workers, 225 of whom were men. Also in the 1950s, the mill ran two shifts, and a few of the looms operated a third shift.

Hesslein was succeeded by Saratoga Knitting Mills. During the Vietnam War, the mill produced mosquito netting for the military.

In the 1960s it was "Hillsboro Mills," which added a steel/bar joist supported infill warehouse between the Main Mill and the Weave Room, giving the mill its present (2016) configuration.

From the NR nomination (Belk Architecture)

The mill became "Falk, Fibers, and Fabrics" in the 1970s. In 1987, it was acquired by Flynt Fabrics and was known as "Stokes County Yarn Company-Hillsborough Industries."

The mill closed in 2000 and began to wend its way through a series of potential purchasers and potential conversions to condominiums (subdivided residential ownership) or apartments (rental.)

Site plan excerpt from Belk Architecture, dated 29 Apr 2009.

The mill was purportedly near closing with new ownership (again) when a major fire destroyed the Weaving Room building on May 21, 2016. However, the developer, Sari and Co. out of Charlotte, NC, decided to proceed with the project once they confirmed ongoing eligibility for Historic Tax Credits, and the property sale closed on August 23, 2016; their plan was to create 114 apartments on the the 9.8-acre property.

By the winter, renovation began in earnest, and by March of 2017, the 1960s infill in the diagram above had been demolished.

03.01.2017 (G. Kueber)

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