Alpha Cotton Mill

Guardian of the Mill District

In what was a busy year for Charlotte’s young textile industry, the Alpha Mill went up along with the Ada and Victor Mills in 1888.

  • Past Use

    Yarn and fine cloth mill;
    Textile engraving

    1889 – 1955;
    1955 – 2001
  • Present Use

    Alpha Mill apartments

    2007 – beyond

D.A. Tompkins, built the mill, one of over a hundred designed by his firm. Tompkins was a constant innovator and is often credited with being the architect of Charlotte’s textile boom.

In 1901, the plant was sold and renamed to Orient Manufacturing Co. The new ownership transformed it from a mill that twisted yarns to one that also wove fine cloths, such as madras and sateen. Textile production continued until 1955, when a textile pattern engraving company purchased the property and operated there until 2001.

All that remains today is the smokestack and boiler room of the original building and a later (and larger) addition. The addition’s showy, castle-like tower—an unusual feature borrowed from New England plants—is a sure sign that one has entered Charlotte’s Optimist Park neighborhood.