History of The Town of Cramerton
Beautiful mountains highlight the topography of this small community. A turn of the century “model mill village” built by Stuart Cramer has become one of the premiere residential communities in the Charlotte-Metro area.
Stuart Warren Cramer 1868-1940, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, married Bertha Hobart Berry Cramer. Stuart and Bertha had one son Stuart Jr. and one daughter Katherine. After Bertha’s death, Stuart married Rebecca Warren and had another son, George Bennett Cramer.
Stuart, a legend in the textile world in the late 19th and early 20th century, was responsible for the design of 150 mills – nearly one third of the mills in the South during this period. He founded eleven mills, and was the inventor and patent holder for the Cramer System of Air Conditioning for mills.
Having earned a great deal of money, he bought a large interest in several local mills and soon became the most powerful textile leader in the area. In 1906, he was one of the original incorporators; stockholders and directors of Mays Mfg. Co. and in 1910 became owner and president. The Mays Mfg. Co. was changed to Mays Mills, Inc. in 1915.
It was Cramer’s intent to build a model mill village. It followed naturally, the village would be known as Mayworth, reminders of which are still visible today, on the front of the Town Hall and Mayworth School, which was converted for reuse in 2006 to senior apartments.
At the persuasion of friends, the Town’s name was changed to Cramerton. The company name was changed to Cramerton Mills, Inc. Textile World magazine exclaimed, “the business of town building is the accomplishment of this corporation”. The next phase was to build a weave mill and finishing plant achieving a complete package from bale opening to finished fabric all in one location.
The model village was one of the finest of its kind and set the standard for the rest of the South with paved streets, concrete sidewalks, and homes with all the modern conveniences such as electricity and indoor plumbing. The village was built around the Mays and Mayflower Plants along the south fork of the Catawba River.
The Southern Railroad ran directly through the property and connected Charlotte with Atlanta.
Cramer built a modern dairy and chicken farm on the mountain as well as numerous orchards to provide fresh eggs, pure milk and fresh fruits for the health and happiness of the Town’s people.
On a European trip, Cramer saw a classic English manor house and decided he wanted one like it for his summer home. In 1917, it was built atop the mountain using the mountain’s native materials in the construction. It was perched 1400 feet above sea level, and one could look out over the expanse of the Town below.
The mountain soon became known as Cramer Mountain, and the manor as Maymont. During the prime years of Maymont, Presidents Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower attended parties on the mountain.
Mr. Cramer had a 60-foot yacht brought into the South Fork River. Although the sailing area was limited it was a beautiful spot for boating. The boat slip remains today in the sharp curve traveling Cramer Mountain Road into downtown.
Cramer built Cramerton’s first golf course on Goat Island, which is behind the Cramerton Drug Store. Later, he built Cramerton Golf Club, which opened in 1927, along the shores of the South Fork River and what was known at that time as Cramerton Lake, a body of water created by the Southern Power Company known now as Duke Energy.
The company first manufactured Cramerton’s famous 8.2-ounce “Army khaki” in 1929. There is no doubt that his son; Major Stuart W. Cramer, Jr. an officer in the US Army strongly influenced the decision to develop an improved fabric for military uniforms. Developed out of necessity after the failure of the “doughboy” uniforms used by the military in World War I, Cramerton Army Cloth became the standard basic uniform cloth throughout the armed forces. This fabric saw service through World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
At the beginning of World War II, Cramer voluntarily released the technical know-how to allow other producers to duplicate his fabric as “Cramerton Army Cloth”. Today the famous name has been registered and reintroduced by Dockers as “Cramerton Khaki”.
In 1946, all Cramer family properties in the Town of Cramerton were sold to Burlington Industries. In 1984, the mountain and surrounding properties were sold and development soon began on a championship golf course and country club surrounded by mountainside homes.
Cramerton has transitioned from mill village to residential community over the years since Cramer’s vision of a “model mill village” and has become a “place to call home” for many Charlotte-Metro area commuters.