The Mill Village In Comparison to The Mill Hill
Some communities surrounding a mill were called Mill Villages. Cliffside Mill, which later became a part of Cone Mills, as well as the other mills in the lower section of the county were the centers of this type community. When these mills were built, the village of houses provided to those working there grew up around it. The sole purpose of the village was to provide housing and services for the employees of the mill, who were drawn from outlying farms and areas from which daily travel would not have been possible. Such was not the case with Florence Mill. There, the mill and the mill houses were a later addition to an already established town, rather than the reason for its existence.
Forest City, formerly Burnt Chimney, was a thriving town, existing long before Florence Mill and the houses their employees were to inhabit were built. The citizens of the town and of the areas surrounding it had various occupations, including farming. Most of them were not dependent upon a mill for their livelihood, although some were surely employed by the small thread mill that operated there in the 1890s before Florence Mill came into existence. The town proper, with most of its streets running East and West, lay north of the Florence Mill buildings. The houses for the mill employees were built on the mill’s property south of the mill and the Southern Railway tracks. Thus they were somewhat separate, although some mill and non-mill owned houses were located next door to each other since the mill property adjoined and was surrounded by privately owned property having no connection to the mill. The main area of Forest City in which the mill’s houses were located was usually called “The Mill Hill.”
Moving To The Mill Hill
The small yellow frame house at 314 Lake Street into which we moved in the fall of 1940 was probably a carbon copy of many of the other four room single-family houses on the Mill Hill, although there were also some three room houses, some two story duplex houses in which two families lived, and a few larger one-family houses. When I asked Daddy why some people had big houses while we had such a little one, he said it was because he was a weaver and the people who lived in the bigger houses had bigger jobs as supervisors in the mill.