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Trenton Cotton Mills, Gastonia’s oldest extant textile mill, is locally significant under Criterion A in the area of Industry for its role in the development of Gastonia and Gaston County’s textile industry. Following the establishment of the Gastonia Cotton Manufacturing Company by G. W. Ragan in 1887, Gastonia soon became a hub of textile manufacturing in North Carolina. Trenton Cotton Mills, established in 1893 as Gastonia’s second textile mill and also organized by Ragan, experienced immediate and continuing success that led to expansion with a second mill on the property in 1900 and later substantial additions in 1922 and 1954. Trenton Cotton Mills began contributing to Gaston County’s renown for production of combed yarns ca. In1910, the company added the machinery necessary to convert to production of this high-quality yarn. The mill retains a relatively high level of historic integrity that conveys all major period of the operation’s growth. Its period of significance begins in 1893 with the completion of Mill No. 1 and ends in 1972 when the mill ceased operations.

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Trenton Cotton Mills is located three blocks west of downtown Gastonia. The surrounding area is characterized by residential and industrial buildings. Located directly to the north of Trenton Cotton Mills is a small wooded parcel and beyond that a branch of the Norfolk Southern Railway line. North of the Norfolk Southern Railway line are one- and two-story residential units. Located one block to the south are a former Coca-Cola manufacturing plant and the Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce. Directly west of Trenton Cotton Mills are two vacant lots and located two blocks to the west is the Budget Inn, a two-story late-20thcentury motel. Located roughly three blocks to the east is the Gaston County Police Department, at the west edge of the city’s central business district. The intervening blocks to the east contain a mix of small office buildings, a service shop, a large distributing company plant, a vacant house, and vacant lots. Trenton Cotton Mills occupies a 2.73-acre site that fronts West Main Avenue to the south, North Trenton Street to the west, a small wooded area and the Norfolk Southern Railway line to the north, and an adjacent tax parcel to the east. The building is situated centrally on the site and is slightly set back from West Main Avenue by a concrete sidewalk and a small amount of green space.