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Making Carrboro Home: User Alteration of Company Space. (2005)

Directed by Patrick Lee Lucas. 158pp.


This investigation considers the mill housing in Carrboro, North Carolina, and its evolution once it passed from company to private ownership. Seeking to bring together an existing body of knowledge, and apply it to a specific place and time, the study supplements the scholarship and evaluations of the built environment. Carrboro fits into a national textile history, and its mills are simultaneously consistent with and different from the industry as a whole. Like much of the Southern textile industry, the company built the workers’ housing, maintained it for decades, and then sold the majority of the properties at auction in 1939. A change in the houses was inevitable, as individuals altered what were once identical structures. Using material cultural theory, industrial landscape studies and an understanding of the ways that buildings evolve, a small sample of the original mill houses reveal the cultural weathering and alterations made after the auction. These renovations demonstrate the shifting requirements and desires of the owners and how people show personal identity within the built environment. 

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