There is no detailed record available, but there undoubtedly were people who came together to see George W. Anthony, Sr., place the foundation stone for what would be the new home for today’s Daisy Hosiery Mill at today’s South Church Street and West Fifth. The date was 1896 by most records, though there are some variations in dates as recorded in clippings and publications, as well as historical reviews.”
The foundation stone, which Mr. Anthony placed in the ground was significant at the time, and it later was to be recognized as the real beginning of a strong Burlington industry. Hosiery started being manufactured in the mill, and hosiery has been manufactured in Burlington regularly in the passing years, building to a point that the area is viewed today as one of the outstanding hosiery centers of the nation. The foundation stone of 1896 will be pushed aside, as will the building itself to make room for something else yet to be decided. The removal takes away still another landmark of this general area. Various historical documents are not in agreement on details, but from what can be learned, Daisy Hosiery Mill was the second hosiery manufacturing operation for the city and surrounding area. It also holds the distinction of being the first to be successful and to continue through the years.”
The first operation was started in 1892 when Lafayette Holt, associated with Lafayette Mills, was in Philadelphia and saw some machines that manufactured men’s hosiery. He brought word back to his associates, and it was decided that this would become an extension of the textile operation. Hosiery manufacturing was started within a short time, but lasted for only a year and yielded to the financial panic of 1893. The hosiery mill never reopened.”
It was in the late 1890s that Mr. Anthony and Mr. Curtis, owners of Rock Creek Manufacturing Co., near Bellemont, decided that they would start a hosiery plant in Burlington. They located it in the uptown area before it was moved to the new plant on South Church. The new mill was named for the wife of W.C. Curtis. The operation continued and in 1906 drew the interest of W.H. May and Ben V. May, brothers who left the family farm near Alamance Battleground in 1901 and sold fruit trees in Mississippi and other states. They took their profits and bought a small part of the mill. Mr. Anthony remained with Daisy Hosiery as he also served other business interests. This led to 1911 when the May brothers became owners of the mill.”
The remainder is a part of better-known history.”
The Burlington City Directory for 1909 lists the officers of the Daisy Hosiery Mill Courtesy of Peter Metzke
Daisy Hosiery became a foundation for May Hosiery Mills, Inc., which purchased a building on South Main Street in downtown Burlington in 1917 and started a finishing plant as an extension of its facilities.” 1
May Hosiery, in turn, was merged with McEwen Hosiery, becoming May, McEwen and Kaiser, and then, in 1948, this operation was merged into Burlington Mills to become today’s Burlington Hosiery. The Burlington Hosiery Division later moved to new quarters on I40 at Tucker Street. 2
This building was last used by US Rubber Company before being torn down. 2
- “Building Started Here in 1896: Early Hosiery Operations Cited,” Burlington TimesNews, March 15, 1973.
- Don Bolden, Personal communication, October 2008.
Daisy Hosiery Plant - undated NC Archives
Daisy Plant - demolition 1973 Times-News