Mataley Rogers (my mother) in her High School yearbook, member of Glee Club, age 16 (San Antonio, Texas)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Factory gone now

Swannanoa, NC has a spread-out feeling to it.  This is the  town center.  US 70 runs east to west at the next intersection of this street (looking north). Go further east to Black Mountain, west to Asheville.  The Swannanoa Valley was formed by the river of the same name, and like most mountain valleys, is long and narrow.  It's actually pretty wide right at the town center.



My friends Jerry Pope and Rebecca Williams are making a film about the Beacon Blanket factory in Swannanoa, and the lives of the people who worked there.
See more information HERE.  

This is the factory as seen in the 30's.


Across the field (below) you can see small houses in the distance like those around factories in many NC towns.  Why houses around a field?  The Beacon Blanket Factory used to be here (one million square feet on four stories).  It was shut down in 2002 and burned down in 2003.  The property has been cleared of most of the debris and is for sale.

I hope you are as interested in history as I am. 

I will be sending this post as a link for Sepia Saturday, which shows people's pictures from their archives.  This week's topic is monuments and old structures, and I'm pretty sure the Beacon Factory would qualify.

Former site of the Beacon Blanket factory.


And from Jerry and Rebecca's site I saw a fireman's video of the fire, which shows the extent of it's impact upon this community. 





There are those blue ridge mountains in the distance looking past the Beacon property.


 

10 comments:

Brett Payne said...

It is sad when such closures affect communities in such a dramatic way. It seems we are forever destined to see such things happening in the name of market forces and "economy" - no easy answers.

Little Nell said...

What an interesting post. I watched your friend's video too. When something as central to a community as a large factory, closes or is lost in some way, it's inevtable that it will have an effect in the people whose lives are so woven into it.

CAROLDEE said...

I love to look at scenery and old things and wonder. That factory was HUGE I can see. So many lives and jobs there. Oh how we wish things could remain the same and they have to go with progress.. Progress is not always the greatest thing. Nice post!!

Wendy said...

This story reminds me of the area around Danville, Virginia - Bassett and Martinsville. These three were important in textiles and furniture and then factories moved out. Now the area has that sleepy feel to it.

barbara and nancy said...

That's so sad about the blanket factory. I'd love to see the film that your friends are making. Maybe it will be on PBS some day. Hope so.
Nancy

Kathy Morales said...

Yes, it is sad. A trip back to the town where I lived when I was little was very depressing. One if the biggest plants had closed years before and the area is so depressed now.

Sharon said...

The manufacturing industry in Australia is slowing disappearing too. You post makes me think that perhaps I should be out there taking photos now, before the buildings disappear in future.

Boobook said...

Swannanoa is a marvellous name!
An interesting post.

Bob Scotney said...

That was some fire; I wonder who collected on the insurance. Not the people in the houses that's for sure.

Mike Brubaker said...

A terrific choice, Barb. I moved to Asheville before the factory shut down and know some of its history. The destruction of a castle had the same effect on people's livelihoods.