Churchill Weavers, Inc.
100 Churchill Drive, Berea, Kentucky
+37.57832, -84.2810537°34'42" N, 84°16'52" W
The Churchill Weavers building (MA-B-79) meets both National Register Criteria A and B. The Churchill Weavers building meets National Register Criterion A for its significant association with the arts and crafts industry of Berea, Kentucky. It was the first industrial plant not associated with the college, bringing much needed jobs to the mountain area. Churchill Weavers employed 50 to 150 people at a time . Churchill weavers was founded by David Carroll Churchill and his wife Eleanor in 1922 when they decided to develop the hand-weaving craft already active in the mountain region. The company started after the engineering of a new fly-shuttle loom by D.C. Churchill himself. The Churchill Weavers industry thrived and additional loom houses had to be added to keep up with the demand for its product line. Churchill Weavers was in business from 1922 until it closed its doors in 2007. The property meets Criterion B for Churchill's significance in the area of invention. He applied engineering skills to the mechanical process of weaving , a tradition-bound craft. Churchill constructed better and more efficient hand looms while working as a missionary in India, years before he founded Churchill Weavers (Chamberlain, pg. 80). He offered these skills to improve the lives of people in India, then found an area in the United States to do the same, again, innovating the production of traditional fabrics. While his engineering aptitude served the business, his inventions also had applications in the aeronautical field. He invented , among other things, the first retractable landing gear used by the army in World War I (Chamberlain, pg. 86), as well as wing covers to help keep planes from being grounded due to ice during Wo rld War II (The Churchill Chronicle, pg. 7 and Chamberlain pg. 90). His work even skirted the space age, with an invitation to develop anti-thermal coveralls to be worn under pressurized high altitude suits by the first astronauts (The Churchill Chronicle pg. 11 ). The fabric, made of glass and rayon, was made at Churchill Weavers and is currently archived at the Kentucky Historical Society with other Churchill Weavers items. From helping villagers weave fabric in British-colonial India, to his assistance of the US Government's nascent efforts to send men into space, few have had D.C. Churchill's remarkable range of experience.
Posted to the NRHP 1-8-2014
- August 12, 2014: Added by Dave King