Thanks to New York Press we have an amazing interview with Nicole Callihan, author of Images of America: Henry River Mill Village, whose grandmother lived in the on-screen District 12 whose location is better known to locals as Henry River Mill Village. Callihan talks to NYPress about what got her interested in the village, the research it took, and seeing the abandoned village for the first time. Check out an excerpt from the interview below.
New York Press: What got you interested in writing this book about Henry River Mill Village?
Nicole Callihan: My grandmother was raised in the village, and she died when she was a very young woman. She died when she was 30 in an automobile train collision, and I was always interested in the way she lived and died.
NYP: What was the experience like for you to research for this book?
NC: I traveled down to North Carolina several times. It was unearthing. I had started a related project about seven years ago – more of a creative project with poems and pictures – and I started doing interviews back then, and then this particular book, we started working on it in the past year. There was a lot of renewed interest in the village because of The Hunger Games. We just ate pie and sat around and talked about way things used to be.
NYP: When you first visited the abandoned village, did you at all imagine people there, living and working at the mill years ago?
NC: I really do – it’s the kind of place that’s so quiet that you can sense the many voices that have populated it at other times. The air feels very rich even among all the abandonment.
NYP: What did you think when you heard that Henry River Mill Village would be the set for District 12 in The Hunger Games? Do you find that the book has attracted more people to visit the village?
NC: When I first saw the village, it looked like no one had touched it in a century – it was so abandoned, and there was little life there. No one had lived in the village in 20 years. On Saturday, we had our big book launch and there were 1,000 people there, and there were people on porches playing music and there were families and face painting and ice cream trucks and hot dog stands. This place that had been completely neglected is now getting a lot of attention. The Sci-Fi channel is auctioning it off on the show Hollywood Treasure – they are looking to auction the town off for someone who wanted to preserve it.
We really hope that [The Hunger Games] will draw attention to Henry River to help with preservation, and the North Carolina textile industry. It’s just a thing to see. It looks exactly like District 12 – they used it exactly as it is.
To read the rest of the artcile click HERE!