The Cone Mills’ White Oak Plant in Greensboro ran now only by a skeleton crew, but once it was one of the busiest and biggest textile plants in North Carolina.
I came to work at this plant after I moved to North Carolina, and worked here for 8 years. The people employed there were hard working and many were second or third generation Cone Mills employees. They used to tell me stories of growing up in the cone mills homes that used to surround the plant. The rent and living expenses would come out of their or their parents checks. One former employee told me when he had gotten hired, how one only had to tell them they needed a job, no application or background checks. Many were close to retirement age and had never worked anywhere else or even knew how to read or write very well. Yet, many found themselves without a job or did not have any other skills to find another job at their age.
It was sad to drive by this once busy and lively mill. Only a few cars sit in one parking lot, while the other two parking lots lie desolate and overgrown. A few Cone Mills truck sit fenced in one of the parking lots, no longer needed to make their daily deliveries of denim across the state.