Roane County Hosiery Mills

{Robert Bailey, Roane County Historian}

The hosiery mills in Roane County provided many jobs for women and men and was one of Roane County’s most important industries throughout the years. James F. Tarwater was a major creator of hosiery mills in Roane County. In 1905, Captain James F. Tarwater and his associates established the Rockwood Hosiery Mill, which is still in existence as Alba Health. The building sits on its original location on Gateway Avenue. Rockwood was created as a Company Town and as such, it controlled everything, including the Company Store, where the employees could only use the script that they were paid. The hosiery mill was one of the first competitors to the Roane Iron Company. In 1912, James F. Tarwater decided to open up another hosiery mill in Harriman, called the Harriman Hosiery Mill. There was another mill in Harriman at that time called the Harriman Knitting Mill which started about 1903. At one time, the Harriman Knitting Mill employed several children about the age of 11 or 12 years. Other factories did also. In 1916, James A. Huff, who was the manager of the Rockwood Hosiery Mill, came to Kingston to locate a branch site for a mill. In 1919, it moved into permanent quarters. J.C. Stinnett, was the supervisor of the plant from its beginning until it closed in 1951. After it closed the building was used as a bowling alley and skating rink. It was located behind what is now Kinser Drug Store. It employed about 200 people over the years.

Harriman Hosiery Mill

Rockwood Hosiery Mill

Rockwood Hosiery Mill – Inside

Kingston Hosiery Mill