Mill House Museum

163 Cross Street
Cooleemee, North Carolina (Davie County – 27014)
GPS Coordinates: 35.813408,-80.5564
Web site for this location:

The Mill House Museum tells the home life story of an ordinary mill hand’s family. This typical 1903 mill house has been transformed into a 1934 dwelling, completely furnished with local artifacts..
     Rent in the 25¢ a room per week. Mother cut and sewed clothes from feed sacks and garments were kept clean with soap made from lard and lye.
       Garden produce was canned, dried or pickled.  Hams and side meat were salt cured on hog killing day.  Cooking and baking was accomplished on a wood cook stove.
      Every child had chores—chopping wood, bringing in coal, emptying the ice box drip pan, washing dishes, feeding chickens, gathering eggs and more.
         Cooleemee families were large, with an average of five children, and most had relatives or boarders living with them.
Elders describe living in “one big family.” Neighbors visited often and looked after each other in hard times. Children could be corrected by a neighbor.
         Love filled these humble mill homes.  Children learned life lessons —bring honor to your family, practice the “Golden Rule”
and work hard work to get ahead. All this made for a community of self-reliant people whose families didn’t lock their doors.

Site History:
The Mill House Museum was an original mill house built at 16 Joyner Street in the  mill village of Erwin Mills. It was home to a Hendrix Family, the O.D. Canupp Family and the Ruth & Glen McDaniel Family. In 2002 it was purchased by Don & Bonnie Byerly and moved to its present location at old 14 Cross Street for a museum. It is maintained by the Cooleemee Historical Association. The original house on this lot burned in the 1990s. That house was once home to the Boone Cartner family.

National Register of Historic Places:
A nomination of the Cooleemee Mill and Village Historic District will be submitted in 2012

Contact: Lynn Rumley

Phone: (336) 284-6040


Other Contacts:
Town of Cooleemee – (336) 284-2141

Directions to Site:
15 miles northwest of 1-85 in Salisbury, 6 miles south of I-40 in Mocksville, NC. Go to the intersection of US Hwy 601 South and NC Hwy
801 South. 1 miles south to Cooleemee. Turn onto Marginal Street at the school. Go 4 blocks and turn left on Church Street. Park at the historic Zachary House for your tour guide. Mill House Museum is one block away.

Textile heritage collections related to your site:
Extensive archive at Cooleemee’s Textile Heritage Center located in the Zachary House. Visits by appointment only. Over 3000 digitized photographs, over 1000 original documents, history library. Available for research by students at all levels and by scholars and lay historians. Dozens or video and audio oral histories.

Textile heritage institutions related to your site:
Cooleemee Historical Association
RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls

Textile heritage individuals related to your site:
William A. Erwin
Benjamin Duke
T.V. Terrell
James W. Zachary
Edwin M. Holt

Textile heritage oral histories related to your site:
Mabel Howerton Head, Frances & Claudie Boger, Peggy Skinner, John Henry Nail, Claude and Howard Hellard, Russell Ridenhour , Bernice Owens, Sallie Brown Spillman, Lillie Jarvis Bailey, “Dutch” Howell, Earl Deadmon, Lillian Whitty Spry, Dora Cope Pierce

Textile heritage books related to your site:
Cooleemee: The Life & Times of a Mill Town by Jim Rumley Salute to Our Veterans Preserving the Legacy Stories of the South’s Cotton Mill People