|Carraway Award of Merit: Edenton Cotton Mill|
For restoration of a former textile mill for re-use as luxury condominiums.
Edenton Cotton Mill opened in 1898 and instantly became a major force in the lives of Eastern North Carolinians. Men and women from surrounding communities came to Edenton for jobs at the mill and rented houses in the nearby mill village.
After serving its original purpose for nearly a century, the mill ceased operations in 1995, and the mill and surrounding property were donated to Preservation North Carolina. PNC found buyers to rehabilitate the houses and bring the mill village back to life. Just this summer, the last house in the village was sold for restoration.
Meanwhile, the challenge of reusing the large former cotton mill remained. Several development schemes were proposed, but each fell to the wayside. In 1999, at PNC’s 60th Anniversary reception at the Executive Mansion, Tom Wilson of Mooresville, a contract emergency room physician and part-time developer, inquired about the mill. Within days he was flying his plane into Edenton to look at it with architect Steve Schuster, who had worked with other prospects.
Tom decided to take on the project. He hired Steve’s firm, Clearscapes, and recruited Henry Yates, a talented craftsman and contractor. Henry maintains that his first reaction to the mill was: tear it down. The team turned out to be extraordinary. The design and the execution have both been exceptional.
Rehabilitation of the mill and its conversion to condominium residences was accomplished in numerous phases. The result is a series of character-filled spaces with all the perks of modern upscale living. Yet the history remains: the maple floors, the seventeen-foot tall brick walls, the exposed-beam ceilings.
The condo units range in size from 1,870 to 2,600 square feet and offer easy walking access to downtown Edenton and the waterfront. You might say the residents of Edenton Cotton Mill are now living in high cotton, thanks to the efforts of Tom and the Edenton Cotton Mill Development Inc.
For its sensitive renovation and reuse of the Edenton Cotton Mill, Preservation North Carolina presents Tom Wilson and Edenton Cotton Mill Development Inc. with the 2009 Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit.