In 1795, a grist mill, a mile from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, was established in the area around Moore’s Creek and the Rivanna River. In the early 1800s, locks and dams were built around the grist mill and the area became known as the “Athens of the South” and as the “Port of Piraeus”. After a textile mill was established by the Farish, Jones and Company, near the existing grist mill, the area later became known as the Charlottesville Woolen Mills. In 1852, John A. Marchant retained ownership of Farish, Jones and Company and renamed it to the Charlottesville Manufacturing Company.
During the course of the United States Civil War, the textiles produced uniforms for the Confederate military. In 1864, Henry Clay Marchant, the son of John A. Marchant, bought the Charlottesville Manufacturing Company. Towards the end of the war, during General Philip Henry Sheridan’s occupation of the city, the Union accidently burnt down the textile mill while attempting to burn down a railroad trestle, that had been built a few yards away from the mill for the Virginia Center Railroad in 1850. The same month that General Sheridan occupied Charlottesville, General George Armstrong Custer established a headquarters at a historic home known as, “The Farm”.
In 1867, a new brick textile mill was created, by the Charlottesville Manufacturing Company, and uniforms continued to be processed until the closure of the mill in 1964.