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Behind the Lens: Remnants of a Once-Thriving Town

Photos and musings from our photographer.

white mill
(David Kidd)
For much of its past, the city of Danville, Va., depended on trains, tires, tobacco and textiles. They are still turning out tires at the Goodyear plant, but there is little left of the once-thriving railroad industry. The tobacco warehouses are now condos, and many of the textile mills have been razed.

What is left is an empty 650,000 square foot factory owned by Dan River Inc., a company that once employed more than a third of Danville residents. The building is known locally as the White Mill, but it may end up being a white elephant.

There was short-lived elation in 2009 when someone bought the factory and promised to invest $400 million and bring 400 high-paying tech jobs to the city -- neither of which came to pass.

So the city council voted last April to appropriate $3 million so the Danville Industrial Development Authority can purchase the building and surrounding properties. 

The search for a new tenant, however, is ongoing.




Natalie previously covered immigrant communities and environmental justice as a bilingual reporter at CityLab and CityLab Latino. She hails from the Los Angeles area and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English literature.
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