Celebrating Preservation in Mount Pleasant
by Ashley Sedlak-Propst
Tuesdays are not typically considered eventful nights. Most people are ready to get off work and spend a relaxing evening at home. On Tuesday, May 8th, Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc. celebrated our 2018 Annual Meeting at 73 and Main Restaurant in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. Over 100 guests came and enjoyed a delicious meal and heard about HCA’s past year and our plans for the future, spending an eventful Tuesday evening investing in their community and celebrating history and preservation.
The Keynote speaker, Dr. L. Allen Dobson, is the property manager and the major investor for 73 and Main and part-owner of Mount Pleasant Properties, LLC. He, along with his partners, Dr. Charles Rhodes and Mr. Tom Earnhardt, are responsible for multiple projects in the Mount Pleasant area, including the old Cabarrus County Correctional Center which is now Southern Grace Distilleries, Inc. the only distillery located in a prison in the United States.
Dobson, Rhodes, and Earnhardt wanted to invest in the growth of their community. Dr. Dobson envisioned a gathering place that would bring in locals and visitors alike. With his partners, they focused their attention on the historic Mount Pleasant Hosiery Mill, located in the center of downtown. The mill building is steeped in the history and culture of Mount Pleasant.
The mill’s story reflects the story of Mount Pleasant. The site began its story as a Mercantile, later becoming a dentist’s office, a Post Office, a furniture store, and in 1932, a hosiery mill. Lee and Paul Foil began the Hosiery Mill which operated in Mount Pleasant under many owners and names and provided jobs for local men and women up until 2008. Dr. Dobson and his partners saw the abandoned mill building as an opportunity for downtown Mount Pleasant to grow.
At the Annual Meeting, Historic Cabarrus Association presented the first Annual Historic Preservation Award to Dr. Dobson for his work on the Mount Pleasant Hosiery Mill building. The award honors recipients for their dedication to historic preservation within Cabarrus County.
Dr. Dobson is known for far more than his work with historic buildings and sites. He is a well-known and well-loved family physician in Cabarrus County. He founded Cabarrus Family Medicine in Mount Pleasant in the late 1980s and went on to help establish the Cabarrus Family Medicine residency program, which has trained family doctors to serve in their communities for 22 years. Dr. Dobson is committed to his patients just as he is to his community. He has served as a champion for Mount Pleasant and the surrounding area through his work as a physician and beyond. The first annual Preservation Award is just a small token of appreciation for all that Dr. Dobson has done for his community through his preservation of the historic Mount Pleasant Hosiery Mill.
The evening concluded with tours of the mill building. Guests were able to see the beautiful work done to save original pieces of the mill and other businesses that had been housed inside the building. Shelves from the Mercantile have been repurposed as shelving for the rare bourbon bar, the original hardwood on the ground floor has been meticulously cleaned and preserved, and an original well discovered during renovations has been fully restored and is on display on the open patio. Upstairs, where massive hosiery machines used to rumble, there is now an elegant reception hall where the original, tall windows overlook beautiful downtown Mount Pleasant. No detail has been overlooked and diners can feel and touch the history surrounding them during their visit.
A guest at the meeting shared his own memories of the mill building. “My mother sat at a machine right at the window you’re standing in front of”, he said, pointing to where Dr. Dobson stood. “I used to sit in the window after school and talk to her as she worked.” He commented that it was nice to see the building that his mother had worked in being restored. “ “Mount Pleasant is growing in a good way,” another guest said. “It’s nice to see so many people visiting our town.”