We started our next North Carolina adventure with a slight detour to Cooleemee, and its Textile Heritage Center. This consisted of a home once occupied by the Cooleemee cotton mill manager and a sample mill worker’s home from 1934, once electricity and plumbing had been installed.
We got very lucky to have a personal tour from Jim Rumley, a somewhat toothless but fascinating former union organizer and all-around leftie who moved to Cooleemee twenty-six years ago to study the cotton mill town culture. He is a man of great refinement and self-education, who wrote a book about the town, and the “cotton mill folks'” strength and dignity. His own dignity and insights were fascinating and we had a wonderful morning with him.
Then we went on to Hickory, which has another one of those terrific small museums we have found on our travels. The Hickory Museum of Art was in a 1920’s-era high school, and they made great use of the space. Lots of fun folk art, contemporary art, and art glass. Just the right amount of uplifting creativity for one afternoon.
It is wonderful travelling when everyone else in the world isn’t headed for the same place at the same time. And for those who wonder about such things, we didn’t get up till 8:30 this morning. This indolence will have to end!