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
BELLEVUE MILL - OPENING ROOM
BELLEVUE MILL -ENGINE ROOM
The main boiler and power plant for the mill; built with attractive Romanesque arches, it likely served as a primary entrance to the mill.
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
BELLEVUE MILL - OFFICE BUILDING
BELLEVUE MILL - PICKER ROOM
BELLEVUE MILL - CLOTH ROOM
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)