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Mill Houses

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1903, W. G. B. Fitzgerald. Park Ave.

The first housing contract was awarded in 1903 to W. G. B. Fitzgerald (cousin of Thomas B. Fitzgerald, the first president of Riverside Cotton Mills and the company's supervising architect), who built ten four-room houses on Park Avenue. Soon houses of three, four, five, six, and eight rooms were going up on Wood, Baltimore, Dallas, and other streets around the mills. All of these mill houses were frame with small front yards and rear garden plots with standard outhouses fifty paces from the back door. By 1945 most of the larger houses had bathrooms but most of the smaller ones did not. The workers' residences were whitewashed or painted white and few have many stylistic variations. Most of the smaller houses have side gables with one-bay front porches. Some have gable-end hipped roofs with the roof projecting forward to shelter a front porch. In mill towns, the less elaborate and smaller houses, usually those farthest from the mills, go to less skilled workers. Other mill housing includes a few duplexes on the west side of Schoolfield Drive as well as more spacious cottages, probably for skilled workers. These have two dormers and two central chimneys and are nearer the mills on the portions of Augusta Avenue, Stokesland Avenue, and Glen Oak Drive that abut Lanier Avenue.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Mill Houses", [Danville, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 378-379.

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