CENTRAL FALLS

RANDOLPH COUNTY MILL VILLAGES: Central Falls

From “The Maxi Page,” The Randolph Guide Senior Adult Newspaper Supplement, published March 25, 1981

Central Falls, ca. 1970, as a Burlington Industries Plant

Central Falls, ca. 1970, as a Burlington Industries Plant

Central Falls was founded in 1881 as the home of the Central Falls Manufacturing Company. J.H. Ferree, part-owner of the mills in Randleman and Worthville, was one of the founders of the Central Falls firm, which also included prominent men and women of Randleman and Asheboro. The site was presumably named after Central Falls, Rhode Island, a major center of textile manufacturing. A brick mill as well as a community building and 25 houses were built, with the community building also housing non-demoninational church services. The building was sold to the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1882, and survives today under a brick veneer skin added after a minor fire in 1934.

The Central Falls factory employed 65 people in 1884, weaving 2,000 years of sheeting per day on 35 looms. In 1886 the Worth Manufacturing Company purchased the Central Falls plant and renamed it Worth Mill No. 2 (the Worthville factory becoming No. 1). One of Dr. Worth’s most unusual operations was freight and passenger service between the two villages via steamboat. Worth Manufacturing entered bankruptcy in 1913, and the Central Falls factory subsequently underwent several reorganizations. The factory is presently owned by Burlington Industries.

Construction of the new highway bridge, 1929, replaced the old covered bridge at Central Falls.

Construction of the new highway bridge, 1929, replaced the old covered bridge at Central Falls.

Central Falls was awarded a post office in 1882, but was never incorporated as a town. The village was included in the Asheboro Sanitary Sewage District in 1941 as the city’s discharge point into Deep River, and is now completely within the Asheboro city limits.

The village is still more than just another neighborhood of Asheboro, however, and suffers from something of an identity crisis. The most chronic complaint today concerns the condition of the community building, once the Central Falls School, which has been heavily vandalized and is unuseable. The community could greatly benefit from its renovation.

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7 Responses to “CENTRAL FALLS”

  1. Roxanne Ingold Thomas Says:

    Hi,
    I love reading about places around Asheboro and Randolph County on your blog. The above-pictured Central Falls bridge made me think of my favorite photo of my late paternal grandparents, W.T. (Torrence) Ingold and Hazel Vuncannon Ingold. The photo shows my grandma dressed in her Sunday best and him in his WWII uniform on the Central Falls bridge. My grandfather worked for 44 years for the Burlington Industries factory in Central Falls. He was a mechanic at the mill, and my father still has his wooden tool bench that he used at the mill to store his tools. In fact, he was seriously injured while at work when a “shuttle”, as he called it, flew off of the loom into his eye while he was working on a weaving machine. He was in severe pain, blacked out, and had to crawl his way to the infirmary. He said it was so loud in the mill that no one could hear him calling for help, and the incident resulted in him having to wear a glass eye. I also remember him mentioning eating over at the “Rock Store” in Central Falls.

    • Shirley R. Ludemann Says:

      Hey Roxanne,
      I have been researching family history with my son, James Isaac, and came across this page. We found this site researching the” rock store ” you mentioned, that is connected to my family! My great aunt Bessie Rollins ran the “Rollins Rock Store”, a grocery store originally, in Central Falls for years, and we are finding out in some research online that my great uncle James Walter or J. W. Rollins had the Rollins Rock Store built in 1934 by a mason in Franklinville. My grandfather ( James Walter’s brother) was Isaac Dewey Rollins,Sr. and my dad was Max Ray Rollins, and I grew up in Central Falls on their land off the WOW camp road, and I went to my Aunt Bessie’s rock store as a little girl. She always gave me candy bars after school when we would wait for my dad to pick us up from the store, where the bus dropped us off. My dad Max also worked at the mill in Central Falls, from the time he was a young man till 1978, when he retired at age 50. He was the planning manager there for the last few years, and retired early due to the death of my mom from cancer at the young age of 48…Burlington Industries wanted to move him to Greensboro and he decided not to do that…so I bet my dad Max Rollins knew your granddad, because your name Ingold sounds very familiar to me …my mom’s twin Aunt Claris your family may know also, who still lives in Central Falls. My two brothers live in Central Falls and Randleman. I am finding lots of great things concerning the mill life, the rock store and Central Falls online! I found also online a wonderful writer named Barbara Presnell, who has beautiful writings and poems about the mill workers/life you can purchase. She grew up in Asheboro in a mill family also.
      Thanks for sharing!

      • macwhatley Says:

        I went to high school with Barbara Presnell and know both her book (which is collected poems about Stedman Mfg. Co. in Asheboro, where her father was a supervisor) and the play that her poems were turned into. She lives in Lexington.

      • Shirley R. Ludemann Says:

        Mr. Whatley,
        It is your book, The Architectural History of Randolph County, that gave us the info on my great uncle and the Rollins Rock Store with its 1930 origin. I never was told how the store started, but felt it was a big part of my family history. My son graduated from UNC Chapel Hill and was going to look up your book in its library. We found it on Archive Online and can read it there. But can you purchase copies of it anywhere, as a book? We would love to possibly own a copy …besides mentioning the Rollins Rock Store, it has pictures of the historical house my Aunt Bessie bought in Central Falls, the mill, the school I started in which became the Shaw furniture bldg in Randleman…and lots of my family history is thoughout the book. My mom’s family is from Seagrove, and as far back as we have researched my family has always lived in Randolph County. Thanks for any info!

      • Roxanne Thomas Says:

        Shirley,
        My father, Tony Ingold, remembers going into the Rollins store as a young boy and can remember your Aunt Bessie Rollins. I have all of my grandmother’s recipes, and it is fun to see the recipes clippings she kept from the Central Falls mill newsletters. It appears that they really had a true sense of community that is often overlooked today.

  2. macwhatley Says:

    Sometimes those books are available on amazon.com through used book dealers. My photo history of Randolph County is available there too. I have been asked to do another book on Asheboro, which Central Falls is technically now part of. so if you run across great old photos of Central Falls, let me know.

  3. Glenn York Says:

    Several generations of Yorks lived down the road from Rock store.

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