I’m pulling out a number of my photos of the east side of Franklinville, the 1846 Island Ford Village. Here is the intersection of East Main Street with Academy (originally Mulberry) Street; the road trending diagonally up the hill to the left is Weatherly Avenue, where the Dave Weatherly House sits behind the trees at the top of the hill.
The smokestack of the Randolph Mfg. Co. is just behind the telephone pole in the right middle ground; the original bell cupola has been removed from the 1895 stair tower, probably placing the date of the photo in the late 1930s.
The Lower Company Store is at the visual termination of Main Street, which took a left turn around the store and continued over the hill toward Ramseur. At the time of this photo, the store would have been transformed into the “Community House” and movie theater.
The three Lower Cotton Row houses to the left of the store were all demolished in the late 1930s during the construction of the Lower Mill Bleachery. The Bleachery itself was added to the mill between the Island Ford Wheel House and the old Cotton Warehouse. The natural cotton cloth woven in the mill came out of it bleached bone white, then to be sent for printing in the adjacent printing department, and then napping (if for sale as flannel) or shipping (if for sale as feed bags). None of the 1846 Island Ford Cotton Row Houses have survived, but all had a two-story form generally identical to the Thomas Rice house on Weatherly Ave. Thomas Rice was the Master Carpenter who built the Island Ford Mill, and probably also his own house and the worker houses.
A concrete swimming pool had been built behind the Cotton Row houses about 1930, but a defect in the concrete caused a wall to collapse and the pool was ruined. It was rebuilt in connection with the Bleachery Pond, a spring-fed reservoir holding the (massive) amount of water required to bleach, dye and print the cloth. The houses were replaced with a pump station and small treatment facility to purify the water.
In the woods at the head of the creek feeding the Bleacher Pond was the “Pest House,” a small house used to isolate Franklinville residents who were suffering contagious diseases. The 19th century endured quite a few such diseases, generally thought to be incurable, and exile to the Pest House was often feared as a sentence of death.