The Avid Exchange Music Factory site is nestled among bridges, railroads, and a mix of industrial development, bordered by Elmwood Cemetery and the rebuilt Greenville neighborhood. Construction on this site, which originally housed the John B. Ross Company, began in 1904 and continued on and off till the 1960s.
Like most mills in Charlotte during the period, its roots were in the cotton boom, but that phase of production was brief. By 1920 its focus was asbestos-textile production, which lasted until 2001.
Thomas Sadler works in maintenance for the NC Music Factory today. He also worked there during the building’s period as an asbestos manufacturer.
“It was hard work, loading spools of material onto machines,” Sadler says. “But it was a good company and they provided a living for the community.”
Fiber Mills LLC purchased the site in 2001 and created the property that exists today. The complex, at 1000 Seaboard Street, boasts two original mill buildings, 200,000 square feet of space, and two live performance stages. Most of the tenants are entertainment or dining establishments, including Club One, Wet Willies, the Comedy Zone, the Fillmore and VBGB.
The complex is one of Charlotte’s most successful restoration-and-repurpose stories, even more so when you consider its shift from being a place for back-breaking work to serving as a popular party destination.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Old Masters: A Look at Charlotte’s Historic Buildings; David Aaron Moore, Charlotte Magazine, February 2012.
Additional commentary added.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass