Lowe Mill and Mill Village Historic District

Triana Blvd. SW., 10th Ave. SW., Summer St. & Governor's Dr., Huntsville, Alabama

One of the state's outstanding intact examples of an early 20th Century mill village.


Overview Looking Southeast

The following photos are of the old mill, now a home for artists of many kinds.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning May 2017



The Lowe Mill Village is one of the state’s outstanding intact examples of an early 20th Century mill village. Lowe Mill started as a cotton textile mill in 1900, and is one of two historic textile mill buildings still standing in Huntsville. In the 1940s it was converted to General Shoe/Genesco, and in the 1960s produced most-- if not all-- combat boots used in the Vietnam War. Within the boundaries of the village, there are approximately 400 residential structures and sites demonstrative of the development of the area-- from classic shotgun houses to bungalows to pyramidal hipped-roof dwellings.

In one of the less publicized dividends of World War II, resourceful north Alabama residents spotted opportunity when thousands of unused bombs were returned after the war to the Army’s arsenal in Huntsville to be dismantled. It wasn’t the bombs that people wanted, of course, but the boxes they were shipped in.

Because of a lumber shortage, residents were eager to buy the pine boxes as the 100,000 M54 cluster bombs were unpacked. Like many other cities after the war, Huntsville was on the cusp of a population boom and a housing shortage. Selling the boxes for 25 cents each turned out to be good business on both sides; the profits helped pay to dismantle the bombs.

The tin-lined boxes became building materials for houses in the Lowe Mill area of the city, with the wooden panels used for floors and roofing. The panels, still bearing army markings, were used for floors, walls, and roofing.

Located about a mile from the center of Huntsville, Lowe Mill was the city's first suburb, having sprung up around the textile mill from which it got its name at the end of the 19th century. About a third of the houses date from that time and would have accommodated mill workers, but most were built from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Lowe Mill and Mill Village Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 24, 2011.

Update Log 

  • June 3, 2017: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • June 30, 2011: Added by WillyT