History of the Mill and Village

Explore the history of the Loray Mill and mill village through our interactive, multimedia timelines. Read about the mill’s construction and production process and the lives of those who imagined, built, managed, worked in, and lived near this iconic structure. Access original source materials, like newspaper articles and oral histories, that offer windows into the past and reveal how we reconstruct it in the present.

Building Loray, 1899-1912 documents the construction and early years of the mill and village. Everyday Life at Loray, 1913-1923 chronicles their growth as well as the development of a distinctive community of mill employees and village residents and the social institutions and relationships they built. It also reveals the conditions that led to conflicts between workers, managers, and owners and resulted in the first Loray strikes. Working Loray, 1928-1934 tells the story of the violent 1929 Gastonia strike, its aftermath, and the Loray’s place in the General Textile Strike of 1934. These conflicts divided local people, and their memory remains contested in Gaston County.  They also were significant turning points in Southern labor history whose effects continue to reverberate today.

Check back here as we add more timelines and provide a fuller history of the people and events that have made this such a compelling place. Look in our Digital Archive for materials from the Firestone years, 1935-1993. Do you have stories to tell or sources to share? Contact Us to contribute to this evolving project.