Valley Rewind: Beacon Manufacturing

Special to Black Mountain News
Employees enjoy a break at Beacon Manufacturing in Swannanoa during the late 20th century.

In celebration of Labor Day, this month the Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center is highlighting photos from its collections that feature historic working people of the Swannanoa Valley. In this late 20th century photograph from the museum’s extensive photograph collections, employees enjoy a break at Beacon Manufacturing in Swannanoa. Beacon moved its entire infrastructure to Swannanoa during the Great Depression and remained a prominent valley employer into the late 20th century. In later years, ownership of the plant changed hands several times, with employers including Cannon Mills, Pillowtex and finally a private group of investors under the name of the Beacon Manufacturing Company. In April 2002, the Beacon Manufacturing Company closed its Swannanoa Plant, leaving 300 employees jobless. Many residents of the Valley today have multiple generations of family members who were employed at Beacon.