The Cotton Mill House

Welcome to The Cotton Mill House. Charles and I are blessed to have purchased this fixer upper in Edenton, NC.  Charles and I have fallen in love with this charming little town since visiting in 2008.  During one of our visits last summer, we began discussing the option of purchasing a home more seriously and began our search.  After an 8 months search and working with a wonderful real estate agent, this property came on the market as a foreclosure.  We closed on the property in April and are working diligently to restore it back to the beautiful home it once was.  We want to share our journey and progress with you along the way. 


the house

The house was built in 1916.  The home underwent a renovation in 1996 during the revitalization of the Cotton Mill Village.  The home had one owner since the renovation.  Sadly, the owner passed away 3 years ago and her family was unable to maintain the payments. The home went into foreclosure in November 2016.  The home was neglected which was evident on the home's interior and exterior.  Overall, Charles and I could see that the house had potential. The house had good bones despite it's age and needed mostly cosmetic updates.  We began updating the house the day we got the keys.  The project is a work in progress and will take some time to restore the home's deteriorating condition. However, this project is one that we look forward to working on and spending many years enjoying the hardwork that it will take to make this house our home. 


the before

the history

The Edenton Cotton Mill was organized and funded in 1898 by nineteen local residents who wished to~provide a market for the region's cotton growers and thereby keep the industry's profits ill the area. 

The mill building was designed by C. R. Makepeace and Company of Providence, Rhode Island. It is a handsome example of an Italianate Revival brick industrial complex, a style that was popular in turn-of-the-century North Carolina.  Its three-story water tower is decorated with corbeled brickwork.

The original building was completed in 1900, with m0st of the construction materials provided by local contractors. Extensions, shops, and storage buildings were added in 1904, 1906, and 1909, and the brick smokestack was added in 1913. The windows were bricked in the 1960's when the building was air-conditioned. The brick mill office on Elliott Street was constructed in 1909 and doubled in size with a western addition in the 1950's.

The mill, one of only two spinning mills in the Albemarle area, continued in local ownership until February 1990, The mill was acquired by the University of Greensboro in 1993, which closed the mill in 1995 and donated it to the Preservation Society of North Carolina. 

the mill village

Between 1899 and 1923, the mill built more than seventy dwellings for its workers. While the simpler dwellings are vernacular in origin, the large dwellings for mill managers reflect the early 20th century Colonial Revival style.

The earliest houses are the vernacular structures on the south side of Queen Street and the north side of Elliott Street. Many of the single-story, three room houses were built as duplexes, with a separate door into each one room apartment and a shared kitchen. Others had one door, with apartment entrances off a central exterior entrance.

Over the years these houses were converted to single family houses, but many of the second doors remain. Three small houses built on Elliott Street in 1921 (only two remain) were manufactured by the Aladdin Company; plans for the "Selwyn" model (which sold in 1917 for $318.25) were found in mill documents.

Since most of the workers were former farmers, management made the village as open and rural as possible. Early photos 'show the entire back yard area in cultivation, with rows of privies down the center of the block. The village has maintained this rural "feel," even within two blocks of main street, with the curb-less streets and extensive open space.