Reporter: James Gherardi l Videographer: R.J. Burnette
Danville, VA - The Schoolfield Division of Dan River Mills is for sale. Over the past six years, much of the historic property along the Dan River has been torn down. But what remains is important, and the hope is that the property's future will be as bright as its storied past.
"Driving through the Schoolfield plant area now is like driving through a war zone, it is heartbreaking," said Carol Handey.
Handey remembers when Schoolfield was synonymous with this city.
"You have to see people coming through this museum and get to certain pictures, and standing there crying, to know that it is in the hearts and minds of a lot of people," she said.
Her mother and father both worked here. As did 16,000 other people, in every aspect of the multi-million square foot facility; from the factory floor, to the hospital, high school, and even grocery store that were all at one time on-site.
Since the early 1900s at Schoolfield, textiles was the name of the game.
"The quality of the fabric made at Dan River could not be beaten, but the prices could be," said Handey. And so, in 2006 they closed their doors for good. The final 1,000 workers were laid off forever.
"To the left of us, the building that we're actually demoing right now, that is number three mill," said Charles Pierce, a former Dan River Mill employee.
Today, Pierce works for the company that bought Schoolfield, sold half of the material on the site, and is now reselling the property for $6.5 million.
"I'm just glad to be a part of something now that somebody can look at. We can all look at 10, 15 years down the road and remember that Dan River Mills was still here, but to actually see what's come of this site," said Pierce.