Reclaiming the past to build communities for the future

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Lenoir Cotton Mill Warehouse

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Completed 2004


This stout timber frame building located on the banks of the Tennessee River once served as the storage facility for the Lenoir Cotton Mill.

The brick mill itself, one of the earliest industrial buildings in Tennessee, was at different times a cotton mill, a hosiery mill, and a flour mill from 1830 to the 1950s. It was once on the National Register of Historic Places and underwent restoration in the 1980s, but it was damaged heavily by arson in 1991 before it could be finished. (The ruins are now part of a city park.)

When Dover Signature Properties acquired the nearby warehouse in 2004, that structure had nearly collapsed as well. But a quick intervention saved the day, and general manager Rick Dover worked closely with local, state, and national historic groups to preserve and restore the warehouse, remaining faithful to as many original details as possible.

For example, the interior framing was interspersed with what’s known as brick “nogging,” an old building practice where voids between beams were filled with solid handmade bricks. “Nobody builds like that anymore,” Dover says. “We painstakingly removed all the nogging—which was 30,000 bricks—and elevated the building on jacks so that we could level it and make it sound. Then we brought all those bricks one by one back inside and re-laid them.” The building, which was later added to the National Register of Historic Places and won a number of restoration awards, is now a private residence.