GT Mag spotlight: Cramerton, NC
Geography: Located in the southwestern part of town are Berry Mountain (922 ft.) and Cramer Mountain (850 ft.). The South Fork Catawba River crosses through the center of own.
History: Cramerton was founded in 1906 when J.H. Mays built a spinning mill along the banks of the South Fork of the Catawba River, just east of Gastonia, NC. In 1910, textile engineer and Thomasville, North Carolina native, Stuart Warren Cramer became owner and president of the mill and property. He turned the mill and the surrounding community into a model mill village. In 1922 Mr. Cramer changed the name of the mill to Cramerton Mills, and the name of the town to Cramerton. In 1923, Cramer built the Mayflower Weave Mill.
Business/Industry: Cramer is credited with designing and equipping “about one-third of the new cotton mills in the South” between 1895 and 1915, and simultaneously acquiring extensive holdings in textile mills. Among Cramer’s numerous industrial engineering patents was one for the “Cramer System of Air Conditioning,” which included the automatic regulation of temperature and humidity. These early innovations in air conditioningresulted more from the need to remove lint from the air (a persistent problem in the textile mills) than to cool the factory atmosphere. The term “air conditioning” is attributed to Cramer. In 1946 the mills and homes were sold to Burlington Industries who in turn sold the homes to residents. The Town of Cramerton incorporated in 1967 and began providing municipal services.
The textile industry has long been central to Cramerton’s economy, but globalization has caused many of the local plants to close. Burlington Industries, which had operated the former Cramerton Mills, went bankrupt in 2001. Employers like Eagle Mountain Finishers and Lakewood Dyed Yarns (both subsidiaries of Joan Fabrics Corp.) were closed in 2006 and 2007. Textile companies Brookline Inc. and Wagner Knitting, Inc. have also been affected by the economic downturn. Syncot Fibers and Plastics, Inc. operates a facility in Cramerton specializing in the recycling of nylon.
Point Of Interest: A well-known feature is the Cramer Mountain gated development featuring luxurious homes and an 18-hole golf course at Cramer Mountain Country Club.