Charlottesville Woolen Mills
Original Author: J. P. Bell Company, Inc.
Created: Early twentieth century
Medium: Postcard
Publisher: Virginia Historical Society

Charlottesville Woolen Mills

The Charlottesville Woolen Mills, advantageously located next to the railroad and the Rivanna River, can be seen in this color postcard published early in the twentieth century by J. P. Bell Company. In 1852 John A. Marchant bought the thirteen-acre site that included a cotton and wool factory among other buildings. Reorganized as the Charlottesville Manufacturing Company in 1860, the entity became a major producer of textiles in Albemarle County. During the Civil War, its looms produced Confederate uniforms, including ones designed specifically for the Albemarle Light Horse Cavalry, with jackets costing $2.75 and pants $1.50. The factory was burned by Union forces in 1865. Sarah A. G. Strickler, a nineteen-year-old student at the Albemarle Female Institute in Charlottesville, wrote in her diary of the Union troops who "have burned part of the iron bridge, & the cotton factory." Rebuilt and reopened several years later as the Charlottesville Woolen Mills, the factory became Albemarle County's largest industry and continued operating until the 1960s.