(Re)Made in the Carolinas

October 29, 2016

When to Tune In: Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m.

(Re)Made in the Carolinas: Textile Towns, PBS Charlotte’s newest addition to our “Living History” documentary series, traces the Charlotte region’s cotton industry connection and explores how local communities known for their textile history are weaving new futures beyond cotton.

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More About the Documentary

Before Charlotte became known as a banking town, it was a textile town. The massive mills that once anchored the city’s oldest neighborhoods are getting a makeover. Also, the last surviving Charlotte cotton company from the early 1900’s remains in the cotton business today.

In Belmont, the recipe for revitalization following the collapse of local textile mills includes a popular downtown pub and restaurant district that’s becoming a regional destination for fine diners and trendy restaurant owners.

In nearby McAdenville, the whole town decorates for the holidays and invites everyone to enjoy their world famous Christmas Town USA light show. Just as impressive is how they’ve kept their textile town growing and local textile workers on the job.

Entrepreneurs are pumping new life into Mooresville’s old cotton mills and that new life is making the downtown look a lot like it did in vintage home movies, but what’s the future for the homes in Mooresville’s historic mill villages?

For generations, Springs Mills was South Carolina’s largest blue-collar employer. Today, most of those textile jobs in York and Lancaster counties are overseas. So why are the overseas textile companies now building South Carolina mills and hiring here?

In Kannapolis, most of what used to be Cannon Mills is now gone and replaced by a scientific research campus. While the town has been transformed, thousands who lost their textile jobs wonder how this high-tech transformation will benefit them.

When the cotton mills close, what happens to the cotton farmers? In Union and Stanly counties, cotton crops are still in high demand – only the buyers are different now. Some growers are partnering with local companies to make textiles that are truly “homegrown.”

This documentary also highlights Gastonia’s proud textile history all put to music – the workers, mills, strikes and riots that drew national attention – performed by a legendary singer-songwriter who came to the Carolinas and never left. You’ll love meeting and hearing from Si Kahn.  

All Carolina textile towns share the same common problem. When the jobs disappear, what happens next? But every town has a different answer. Every town spins its own next chapter. PBS Charlotte is proud to share those stories in Textile Towns: (Re)Made in the Carolinas.

Also airing Saturday, March 17 at 4 p.m.