Burton Cotton Gin

The Textile Ranger is one of my favorite bloggers — she loves textile history and knows WAY more than I do. Check out this fun post showing a cotton gin tour she took. The gin has been closed for 40+ years and now is run as a museum. If you like what you see, follow her for more.

Deep in the Heart of Textiles

In a stroke of genius, my husband came up with a Valentine’s Day trip that combined two of my favorite things, nature and textiles.   First we went hiking at Lake Somerville State Park, and then we took a tour of the Burton Cotton Gin.

Burton Cotton Gin. Burton Cotton Gin.

The gin was owned by the farmers’ cooperative in Burton, where most of the farmers were of German heritage, and owned farms of about 50 acres.  The gin opened in 1914, and it ginned its last bales in 1974. Only 12 years later, a passing tourist took an interest in the place and alerted the Smithsonian Institution, and the process of turning it into a museum began.

My favorite thing about the museum is that they haven’t prettied up the gin.  Everything is right where the workers left it at the end of the 1974 season.  You walk up stairs that were…

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7 thoughts on “Burton Cotton Gin

  1. allisonreidnem

    Thanks for sharing this interesting post. There is a mill near us that has been using raw cotton to make bank note paper for over 200 years. No pictures available (security is pretty tight!).

  2. jimfetig

    I love stuff like this for the same nostalgic reasons I listen to vintage radio. I’d really hate to lose our history. Moreover, this is the kind of premassified economy that defines our politics to this day. Best to understand our nation’s small towns as the were built, evolved and then set adrift to appreciate and anticipate what may come next.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      One of my favorite outings in the last couple years was to a state park. Besides hiking, we got to watch volunteers start up the steam engine/mill, which had been flooded the prior week. This little tour reminded me of it, though the mill I saw was a grist mill.


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