In North Carolina’s Calcium Light
Part 1 of 5
Many years ago there was a monthly magazine called “Sky-Land, Stories of Picturesque North Carolina.” It was the creation of Mae Lucile Smith of Hendersonville, and was published in Charlotte. A hefty publication, each issue was 80 pages or so.
Of particular insterest to us is the December 1913 issue, which included a 20-page article about Cliffside and the most prominent textile tycoon west of Charlotte, R.R. Haynes.
A copy of the article, titled “In North Carolina’s Calcium Light,” has been provided to us by Judson O. Crow, Sr.
This article, portions of which appeared in the Sep-Oct 2007 of the Cliffside Chimes, has been quoted and referenced many times over the years and may have been reprinted in full, but it’s new to us and may be new to you, at least in the way the stories are told.
The article, preceded by an “editorial comment,” covers many details already familiar to us about Mr. Haynes’ rise from poor farm boy to wealthy captain of industry, and about the towns and mills that he built.
Primarily, though, it dwells on the town itself and on some of Cliffside’s lesser known folk, on managers and operatives of the mill.
“In North Carolina’s Calcium Light”
The day of hero worship is past—the laurel wreath that once decked the victor’s brow has faded with the passage of time, nor does the blare of trumpets longer herald the conqueror’s return.
We are living in a practical and withal a busy age, and little, too little, time is given to sounding the praises or exploiting the achievements of those about us, whose efforts are constantly being directed towards strengthening the State’s bulwarks with masonry good and true.
There are men here in North Carolina silently compiling the history of the State,of whom the world hears little; nevertheless they are the strong moving factors that drive to accomplishment large purposes. Deservedly may they be called the history makers of The Old North State.
We hear so much in this day and time of “the man with the vision” that the expression has become almost stereotyped, yet had it not been for the man with the vision we would still write our names with the cliff dwellers.
The man with the vision must do more than see clearly, he must possess the zeal and determination to do and to dare—the power to accomplish.
It is to the history-makers here in North Carolina, whose vision has taken a wide range, and whose efforts have accomplished all within the scope of that vision, that Sky-Land would give a place “In North Carolina’s Calcium Light,” and there record the story of their early struggles and ultimate triumphs,that perchance some discouraged runner in the race, who has not yet passed under the wire, may heed their example, and with renewed courage press on.
The men who appear, from time to time, “In North Carolina’s Calcium Light,” are invariably modest men, who shrink from newspaper notoriety, and are averse to talking about themselves; hence it is often necessary to interview disinterested parties before the story can be obtained in its entirety, as was the case of the men with whom the stories have to deal, “In North Carolina’s Calcium Light,” in the current member of Sky-Land.
The two names presented here are those of R. R. Haynes, president of the Cliffside Mills, financier and practical philanthropist, who is accomplishing a great work in North Carolina’s textile world, and who may aptly be styled the pioneer mill man of Rutherford County; and Lawrence Prett, engineer. The one has felled forests, built villages, harnessed waterpowers, and set in motion thousands of spindles; the other is performing a great service to his State by reclaiming the waste lands of Eastern Carolina.
The vision of each was far-reaching and clear, and the record of his work will stand as a lasting memorial to his heroic efforts.