Randolph Manufacturing Company II

Before we leave the back (south) side of the 1895 Randolph Manufacturing Company, here are two more pictures of interest.

The above view is looking up Deep River towards the northwest; the 1901 Island Ford Steel Bridge is in the dim left background.

Both of these views probably date from the mid-1950s, as the western brick extensions to the lower mill weave room have been built out over the river on pilings almost all the way to the steel bridge.

Two other important additions are visible- the wooden toilet towers. These wooden enclosures are 20th-century versions of the “garderobes” built onto medieval castles—two-story privies cantilevered out over the river, where the waste products (!) drop straight down into the water.

The eastern-most toilet tower can be seen in the photo below, behind the tree in the left center; that tower’s waste dumps into the tail race flowing out of the arch.

Photo No. 2 was taken from the steel bridge, looking down river, east toward the Community Building. The actual historic Island Ford is just at the bottom of the photograph, a rocky shallow spot that allowed crossing the river. Since the photo in yesterday’s entry, numerous additions have been added to the eastern side of the mill, including a two-story metal-sided addition to the old Island Ford wheel house.

Going further east, the wood-framed additions on concrete piers below the Community Building are designed to expand the cotton warehouse, printing, bleaching and shipping departments.

Both photos show how meticulously clean the Randolph Mills maintenance crew kept the river banks. In the days before gas mowers, bush hogs and weed-eaters, crews of (usually black) men and (usually white) school boys on summer vacation kept the whole Town chopped and scythed and spick and span and painted uniformly white. Before the stock laws passed in the early 1890s, the same result was obtained in the landscape by herds of roving free-range livestock, which happily ate most of the stray vegetation not protected by fencing.


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