Wednesday, March 05, 2008

goodbye local flour

unfortunately, knoxville's own white lily will be closing down this coming spring. though owned by the larger smucker brand since '06, the mill has continued to produce white lily flour and the three rivers cornmeal.

though i typically show no preference in decisions of flour, it was nice to have a local option in the store (thanks to ck for always reminding me). it is sad to see that option disappear.

by the time the plant finally closes down this june, 72 people will have lost their jobs. the above report mentioned that some will simply retire. but that leaves the rest with the undesireable task of seeking new work. or maybe it's not so undesirable. i never worked at white lily.
the mill was the last of the now depleted industry that formerly occupied the old city, or jackson avenue warehouse district (on the national register). and though of is sad to see the warehouse go, the trend is nothing new. it's our "urban" (if you can truly call anything in knoxville urban) paradox. we could not have trendy lofts, bars, and boutiques in the old city if the industry had not disappeared. i think that is what is so appealing to many people about development in formerly industrial, urban areas. though throwing together cheap, prefab structures is fun, it is also nice to renovate (if also more expensive) and know that in doing so you are transforming and creating structures and communities in what might otherwise have become a wasteland.
of course, some people just like to be able to pay a lot of money for something different. luckily, occupying vacant storage rooms can hardly be called gentrification. undoubtedly, living in old, expensive warehouses is not for everyone. but as we think about one age in knoxville passing, we can see how a new community develops in its place (and has been for a while). that encourages me.


ck said...

i think there's a big difference between rehabbing industrial buildings that have been long abandoned and driving out working industry. some proponents of urban living want downtown to be a residential and retail mecca. but then all you've made is a denser version of suburbia. the mix of industry, commercial, and residential is part of what makes urban areas so compelling. i miss the smell of coffee roasting in the morning in downtown. oh well, our nitty gritty city is a little less gritty. hopefully the suit factory on jackson stays.

stan said...

yeah, i hope it does too. and that's a good counter point or addendum to the post. it may not be cause direct harm if upper-middle classers are the only ones moving into former sectors of industry, but it certainly means those areas have only become another community seperated along economic lines.