Reynolds, Frank W. (1868-1951)
Frank W. Reynolds (1868-1951), a mill designer and engineer born and raised in Rhode Island, worked throughout his long life for the large engineering and architectural firm of Lockwood, Greene, and Company. The firm employed many men, and Reynolds was involved in many roles and in many projects. Most notable for North Carolina is that his initials “F.W.R” indicate his key role in planning the immense Loray Mills in Gastonia, one of the state’s and the nation’s largest textile mills.
When Lockwood, Greene, and Company undertook the massive Loray Mill project—the first major project in North Carolina by the nationally important company already active in South Carolina—various employees were involved in planning and management. One document—a mill village plan with the initials “J.E.S.” indicates that Joseph Emory Sirrine planned the Loray Mill Village. However, the drawings for the immense initial mill building have the initials, “F.W.R.”
According to the history of Lockwood, Greene, and Company, Frank W. Reynolds was born on April 17, 1868, in Providence, Rhode Island, in the center of the nation’s textile mill universe. He went to work for Lockwood and Greene in 1885 at age seventeen, perhaps as an office boy. He advanced rapidly and became “an exceptionally able draftsman with a strong bent toward architectural work: long before 1901 he was in charge of the drafting room, and was also taking full charge of a number of jobs in the office.” Reynolds worked directly with the company’s founder Stephen Greene and learned every aspect of the business.
Although the company history does not indicate which men designed which mills, the initials on the 1900-1901 Loray Mill drawings tie the design of that magnificent mill to Frank W. Reynolds. Additions to the mill were built later, and designed by other men. Reynolds doubtless designed other mills for Lockwood, Greene, and Company that remain to be identified. Nevertheless, Reynolds’s planning for the initial mill at Loray stands as a landmark in state and national industrial architecture.
- Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
- Samuel B. Lincoln, Lockwood Greene: The History of An Engineering Business, 1832-1958 (1960).
- Dates:1900-1902; 1920sLocation:Gastonia, Gaston CountyStreet Address:2nd Ave., Gastonia, NCStatus:StandingType:IndustrialImages Puslished In:Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).Note:Reynolds's role in planning the Loray Mill reflects information from David Rogers of Rogers and Associates, Inc. Huntersville, NC, as conveyed in an email to J. Myrick Howard, Raleigh, March 12, 2009. "All of the original plans dated between 1900 & 1901 have the initials F.W.R. on them. Some plans have no identification. On one sheet, #82, the initials J.E.S. dated 1901 (could be a 1906) show up; this drawing is the 'Map of Tenement Village'. Revised drawings in 1904 show initials G.E.B. ~ Tuttle ~ Westcott. The addition of 1922 drawings were by Robert and Company, Architects and Engineers, Atlanta. Linking of "F.W.R." to Reynolds was possible from Lincoln, Lockwood, Greene, and Company. J.E.S. is Joseph Emory Sirrine. Loray Mill was founded and owned briefly by local industrialists, but after financial problems the mill was taken over by creditors and new management. The Manville-Jenckes Company of Rhode Island acquired the mill in 1920 and added a huge wing. In 1929 Loray Mill became the scene of a bitter and violent strike nationally known in labor history.