Johnston Manufacturing Co.

The seat of an empire

Johnston Manufacturing Co. was built in 1916 to respond to heavy wartime demands. It was one of the last in Mecklenburg County to be built, and when it closed in 1975, it was one of the last, marking the end of Charlotte’s textile era.

  • Past Use

    Cotton textiles mill;
    Warehouse

    1916 – 1975;
    1976 – 1980
  • Present Use

    Vacant

    1980 – Present

Textile giant C.W. Johnston built the mill while running Highland Park Manufacturing Co. Since the surrounding North Charlotte area had already been built up with mill houses, stores and other amenities associated with Highland Park Mill No. 3 and the Mecklenburg Mill, no mill houses were built.

Johnston had come to Charlotte from Cornelius to become secretary of the Highland Park and took over as president of the firm in 1906. Once he had established himself in Charlotte and with Highland Park, Johnston began building his own textile empire. At the time of his death in 1941, he ran 13 mills throughout the Carolinas. Seventeen years prior, he had erected the Johnston Building on Tryon Street in Uptown. A relatively short building in today’s terms, the 17-story skyscraper is still a conspicuous testament of the textile industry’s mark on Charlotte.

While the mill currently lies vacant, the same developer responsible for the redevelopment of Mecklenburg Mill has plans to convert the mill into a multifamily apartment community.