A New Beginning

John and Cyndi Dellinger, being inspired by the wedding of a friend from Texas, were looking for property for a venue in North Carolina when one day, as they went for a walk on the Carolina Thread Trail, they happened up on the abandoned hulk of the dilapidated Laboratory Mill. It was boarded up and all the grounds were overtaken by grapevines, trees, poison oak, Virginia creeper and English Ivy. It was hard to see anything to love except its location beside the river, and even the river was hard to see because of all the overgrowth. But it had a For Sale sign out front and even though John accused her of losing her mind, Cyndi called Preservation North Carolina and set up an appointment to see the property. John is a sucker for history so it didn't take much to convince him and they purchased the mill on the very last day of 2007.

Pretty soon, all their friends thought they were both crazy. Frequent questions were: "You're going to do WHAT?" "You're going to tear down what??" "How do you know what to do?" "You must have so much VISION!", by which they meant, "I don't see it at all." But in a mere 5 1/2 years, the upper floors were ready for the first official wedding in August of 2013.

Wings and loading docks and rooms that had been added onto the structure as an afterthought, rather than part of the original 1887 construction, were removed. Trees were cleared. Vines, vines, and more vines were removed. Windows were unbricked. House movers were brought in to level the mill and raise the beams that had been damaged by water so that new support pillars could be built underneath. A unique septic system was installed. Floors were repaired, sanded, and refinished. Some floors were concrete and had to be re-poured. Walls were scraped, lightly sandblasted, repaired and painted. Tons (literally) of roofing was discarded and a new standing-edge metal roof installed. Doors and windows were installed. New walls were built. The entire mill was red-washed (this required investigation into exactly what constitutes red-wash since most people white-wash - it's a smelly concoction of iron oxide, alum, and really stinky hide glue.)

Since opening in 2013, The Laboratory Mill has been privileged to host hundreds of weddings, business events and charitable functions. We are proud to be a continuing part of such a long and storied history.