Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Dallas Mill and Village

The Dallas Mill is a fascinating place with a history that has been almost completely forgotten.  The Dallas Mill was a cotton mill that was a center of life for those who worked there. The mill was the epicenter of a little city that centered around it. Employees were provided homes, medical care, churches, library, lodge building, YMCA, concerts, a kindergarten, and schools.  The area that surrounded the Dallas Mill was called Dallas Mill Village.  The mill comunity was so tightly linked that they still have a website and community that gathers to remember the good old days of Dallas Village.  Most of the original Dallas Village homes and the Riser School that the mill built for the children have been destroyed or burnt down, only the empty mill remains as a reminder of the once strong community that thrived in it's shadows.

Dallas Mills was begun by T.B. Dallas in 1892 and was Alabama's largest cotton manufacturer.    The Mill closed in 1949 and it's village was incorporated into the city of Huntsville in 1952.  Genesco shoe company bought the building and used it until 1985.  Since that time it has been sitting vacant.  In 1991 there was an enormous fire in the building that burned for three days.  Apparently, at the time of the fire there was a homeless man that was living in the vacant building.  His ghost is said to be seen wandering through the now vacant and burnt remains of the building at night.   Observers say that they have heard his footsteps echoing through the halls and have seen his face looking out through the windows.   It is also said that a man died at the mill cleaning the smokestacks early on and that his ghost also lingers in the shadows of this burnt out, husk of a building.

I travelled to the site where the old mill once stood today and took the pictures below of the old building.  The area that was once the beautiful village  and mill above has turned into a dilapidated, vacant stretch of land that is hidden beneath a network of interstates.  The area itself is haunting. It is empty and dead, as if no new life can find purchase in this once beautiful location.

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