If you drive up NC 62 from Burlington and turn in where it says Textile Heritage Museum , you’ll find yourself on the Haw River and into Glencoe Village. It’s an old brand new village or a brand new old village, depending on how you want to look at it.
When I walked the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, I stayed there for several days and got shuttled on the trail, making it all the way to Durham.
I got a good feeling for the history. Since then, I’ve done a lot of reading about North Carolina’s textile mills but I went back to Glencoe to see what it’s like to live here today.
I stayed at the Barbershop again and walked around the two streets of the village. Saturday night was quiet, not like the old mill village days when the only real time to socialize was Saturday night. Then families got together and talked and sang on porches.
But Sunday morning, I walked again and got a different impression.
I “picked up” Deby, an independent videographer who has lived here since 2003.
“We all know our neighbors,” she said. “Everyone who worked on the houses originally are very close.” She invited me to see her house. Her kitchen is bigger than mine and I have a modern house.
She and other residents are planning a picnic for the original residents of the mill village, a kind of homecoming. Since the mill only closed in 1954, there are still people who remember what it was like to grow up here.
Toni, another woman who I met on the street walk, echoes Deby. “We all came from someplace else so we got close.” Toni raised two daughters here. Both went to the Burlington schools.
Hank and Lynn P. own the barbershop and have the distinction of being the first people to commit to the new Glencoe Village. They were the first to actually put down money on a shell of a house with no plumbing, no electricity and no central heating. They moved in permanently in 2005.
Now Lynn, a weaver who works at the back of the house, has big plans. She recently leased the old Glencoe machine shop and is redoing it as an artist’s studio. She’ll move her weaving studio and has several other artists who have committed to work there as well. They plan on giving classes on their particular craft -weaving, painting, sculpting. There’s a lot of construction now – see the top image – but they plan to open this fall.
I see a coffee shop next. Lynn dreams of a restaurant by the Haw River. In five years, Glencoe Village will be a destination for art lovers and gourmet eaters. Better go now, learn about the history and avoid the rush!