Preservationists often encounter abandoned historic mills these days. The withering of the textile industry in the United States left hundreds of them sitting empty and vulnerable around the country - but especially in the South where the industry was the backbone of many local economies. Some people see them as massive white elephants only valuable for the bricks that form them and the land under them. Others see them as opportunities for mixed-use development that can preserve their often stark, industrial beauty while revitalizing the communities around them.
In Knoxville today we have one example of how to turn around these industrial assets, but we have another mill that is languishing in limbo and imperiled by neglect. One was rescued by a local development firm and the other is in the hands of out of state interests.