Lexington Landmark Erlanger Mills

Erlanger Mills in 1918.

On March 28, 1914, Erlanger Mills began production in Lexington. The company was conceived of in 1911, when New York textile magnates Abraham and Charles Erlanger needed a source of cotton fabric for their BVD underwear factory in Baltimore, Md. Lexington businessmen convinced the brothers to build a plant near their town.

The Erlangers bought 250 acres north of Lexington, laid out a mill and model village, and began construction in 1913. The mill complex initially included a brick mill building housing 25,600 steam-powered spindles and 680 looms, a large weave shed, picker room, cotton warehouse, water tower and reservoir.

The free dental dispensary for school children at Erlanger Mills in 1918.By the 1920s, the grid-plan village encompassed 325 houses, two churches, schools, a hotel, hospital, clubhouse, company store and even a dairy. Erlanger residents also benefitted from a community poultry yard, piggery, greenhouse, cannery and their own athletic teams. After being annexed by Lexington, executives sold village houses to its employees during the 1950s. In 1972, the Erlanger family sold the mill to Gastonia’s Parkdale Mills Inc. Parkdale spent millions to modernize the mill, which currently manufactures cotton and cotton-blend yarn.

The village, now undergoing restoration, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

For more, check out the National Register nomination form for the Erlanger Mills Village Historic District from the State Historic Preservation Office.

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