Building History

The Silk Mills Building has a history that is as unique and diverse as its current tenants. The Silk Mills Building is classified under the National Register of Historic Places Collection through the National Park Service for its history as the oldest surviving factory building in the City and for its architecture. Built in 1895, this two-story brick, light and airy building* served as a silk mill owned by D. G. Dery, Inc., a company which owned and operated more than thirty factories throughout the east coast**. This particular factory closed in 1922.

The Silk Mills Building then served as a pencil factory, which opened in 1938.  Our owners were lucky enough to meet a woman who worked in the pencil factory in 1940 when she was only 16 years old (pictured above). The building was expanded in 1942 to provide more room in which to produce parts for defense during World War II. The building was given new life in 1988 when Blake Hurt's Republic Capital Corp. restored the building to a similar state of what it looked like in 1902.

GE later purchased the building and produced microchips in the building. The building was renovated into an office building in 2008 and has served as a multi-use office building since.

Buildings winning qualities

In addition to the storied past of the building, much of the history can be seen in the beauty of the Mill itself. Such qualities set this building apart from the rest of Charlottesville, such as the prominent tower that peers over the ever-changing and growing City. Other internal qualities that can be seen is the exposed brick that reminds each visitor of the rich and historic nature of the Silk Mills Building. 


    Testimonial - Louise Wood

    "D.C Dery Inc. Silk Mill was here first. My aunt Nellie, mama's sister, is standing beneath the I under Inc. This was 1922. The plant closed and the pencil factory opened in 1938. I went to work there July 2, 1940. Big doorway was the small office. New building was added on in 1942 to make parts for Defense in World War II. I was 16 years old."  -Louise Wood ______ now 91 years old

    "D.C Dery Inc. Silk Mill was here first. My aunt Nellie, mama's sister, is standing beneath the I under Inc. This was 1922. The plant closed and the pencil factory opened in 1938. I went to work there July 2, 1940. Big doorway was the small office. New building was added on in 1942 to make parts for Defense in World War II. I was 16 years old."

    -Louise Wood ______ now 91 years old

    This testimonial was taken in 2016 when Ms. Wood returned to visit the building. 


    References