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In 1898 Tom Lloyd built Alberta, the cotton mill that was his pride and joy, in a small town originally known as West End, as in west end of Chapel Hill. Alberta nudged forward a period of growth for Venable, the community’s second name, in honor of the UNC President, turning it into a real town.
The town’s name was changed to Carrboro in 1914, after the Julian Carr family bought the cotton mill from Lloyd in 1909 and donated electricity and streets to the community. The mill became part of the Blanche Hosiery Corporation, and then the Durham Hosiery Mills. It became known as #4, and closed in 1930.
The Carrboro Woolen Mills began operation in a modernized #4 in 1945. This company was the main employer in Carrboro during those years. The mill remained operational until the early 1960’s.
In 1975, after the mill had been empty for more than five years, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen decided to have Tom Lloyd’s beloved Alberta, demolished. Their plans included building a new shopping mall. Community sentiment appealed for the restoration of the mill. After a petition, two years of work, and $8.5 million, the mill re-opened it’s doors in 1977, as Carr Mill Mall.
Over the years, Carr Mill Mall expanded to include Weaver Street Market, a community owned and operated natural foods store and cafe, with two floors of office space above it. The lawn in front has become known as Carrboro’s front yard, and a courtyard has been added on the Greensboro Street side. The Mall continues to thrive, and houses many unique businesses for the discerning shopper.