By: Kathleen Curtis Wilson
The story of the Clinch Valley Blanket Mills, located in southwest Virginia from 1890 to 1950, reveals an interesting aspect of the Arts and Crafts Revival in Southern Appalachia. The company, owned and operated by C. E. Goodwin and his four sons, served as model of clever marketing, crafts revival, and quality workmanship. Goodwin used local labor and materials to weave on looms powered by water, steam, and electricity. He avoided revealing his factory production capacity and focused on selling a concept of tradition. With innate merchandising skills, the Goodwin family capitalized on the demand for colonial style textiles to successfully sell products in distinctly different markets, influencing the public’s attitude toward Appalachian weaving for over sixty years.