A walk down history lane
As a photographer, there are times when the subject is preselected, and then there are times when the subject chooses you. This was certainly the case with this location.
Originally, I went to the Mill Village because it was the site where District 12 was filmed for "The Hunger Games." I had read a little about the village but honestly didn't know what to expect. I had planned to take photos for myself and didn't think any more of it until I arrived. There was so much more here than what was filmed, and a much bigger story.
The Mill Village opened in 1905 with 35 worker houses, a two-story boarding house, a brick company store, a power-producing dam, and the three-story brick mill building where the yarn was produced. Now, many of the homes are gone, the mill burned down in 1977, one home has been converted into a rental for overnight stays, and the rest are in various states of disrepair. In its heyday, this was a thriving community. The mill was powered entirely by water, later by steam, and as technological advancements came along, electricity was installed. Even with this power ability, the community had no running water or sewer system.
Although the homes left standing are run-down and some are falling in on themselves, they give us a glimpse of what it was like to live there in the early 1900s. As you walk by the homes and peek into the windows, you can see some furniture that was left behind, wallpaper peeling from the walls, fireplaces that have had the mantles removed, and holes in the floors. I can picture this as a bustling community where everybody knew each other, all the kids played together, and they all worked together for a common purpose. It was a much simpler way of living that had so much strength and resilience not as individuals, but as a community.
Henry River Mill Village is now on the National Register of Historic Places and offers a glimpse into the past that can still be seen, touched, and heard. Once I arrived and took one look, I knew this place was special, and I had to capture the story.
The series I created is called "History Lane" and is currently on display from April 7, 2023, through May 13, 2023, at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. If you would like more information about the prints, please contact me. A few of the prints are shown below. To see the full series head to my portfolio page titled Henry River Mill Village.