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Historic Preservation=Community Revitilization: New beginings for Carolina Piedmont textile towns 

Directed by Jo Leimenstoll, pp. 107


By studying the impact of vacant textile mill buildings on communities, the researcher showed how historic preservation played a role in combating the effects of vacancy. Using a framework of community indicators, quality of life and economic conditions during the last two decades of the twentieth century were measured in three Carolina Piedmont textile towns: Albemarle, North Carolina, Morganton, North Carolina and Spartanburg, South Carolina. Through these case studies, the researcher sought to illustrate the effects that the textile industry’s decline had on mill communities in the areas of economic viability, stability, heritage value, educational attainment and standard of living. She then explored how the rehabilitation of the large mill complexes that the industry left behind can help to reverse the effects of abandonment.

This thesis provides concrete evidence of the impacts that the decline of the Southern textile industry had on the communities that it once sustained. The case studies of three communities with rehabilitated textile mill complexes can help communities who are faced with the same circumstances generate ideas and plans to use the historic built environment as a catalyst for community change.

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