Mills Project

The Oakdale Cotton Mills Project began in 2006 with recognition that the life histories of employees of the Oakdale Cotton Mills of Jamestown should be collected and recorded.

Mary and Patricia M. Koehler wrote Oakdale Cotton Mills which was published in 2009, after completing a project sponsored by the Historic Jamestown Society that explored the history of this local mill.  This pictorial history contains many old photographs of the mill families and mill village and is a valuable record of times long past.  The book is published by Arcadia Publishing is available at Mendenhall Homeplace.  Cost of $21.99.

This cotton spinning mill has been in continuous operation since the summer of 1865, and continues today, but only in a small way and with an uncertain future. The project has recorded on film the memories of mill employees and their families.  This 28 minute DVD, Oakdale Cotton Mills: Close-Knit Neighbors, video features interviews with former employees and mill village residents. It ws filmed by Mary M. Dalton; Browning and Koehler helped produce it. This is a valuable record of the past, a real keeper. Available at the Mendenhall Homeplace.  $10.00.

In addition, a printed pictorial history of the mill will be published by Arcadia Press in 2009. All of the photos, interview transcripts, memorabilia, surveys, documents, and other miscellaneous data collected as part of the project, will be archived at Mendenhall Homeplace.

The Historic Jamestown Society is the sponsor for the project, which was originated by Patricia Koehler and Mary Browning. Glenn Deck, the Society's vice president, chairs the project committee. The Society helped to fund it and grants were also obtained from other sources. Filming was done under the direction of Mary M. Dalton, Ph. D., Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dept. of Communications, Wake Forest University.

Oakdale Cotton Mills has been most generous in allowing access to its plant, its employees and to its business archives of old record books, advertising materials, and photographs.

A short preview of the 30-minute Oakdale Cotton Mills documentary produced by Mary Dalton.

Bridge - Until recent years, this old triple span metal Pratt truss bridge, constructed in 1922 by Atlantic Bridge Co. of Charlotte, was on the Oakdale Rd. that ran all the way to Kivett Drive. With new road construction, Oakdale Rd. ends at Harvey Rd., and the old bridge is closed to traffic.

Mill with reflection

Henry Hodgin house in Oakdale Mill Village, ca. 1890

Oakdale Tower

The tower is a symbol of change and growth at Oakdale Cotton Mill. Once the most prominent feature of the mill, its base is now completely enclosed by newer construction, and its courtyard is now part of the mill floor.