With the coming of the railroad in 1888, the area’s booming lumber and woodworking industry evolved into a number of large furniture factories. These early plants are the Mount Airy Furniture Company, the National Furniture Company and the Mount Airy Mantel and Table Company. Founded in 1895 by J. A. Yokley, J.C. Hollingsworth, C. R. Merritt, A. G. Trotter and E.H. Kochtitzky, Mount Airy Furniture, formerly on Factory Street, manufactured medium grade oak chamber suites, bedsteads, bureaus, dressers, tables, pie safes and desks. Through the years, they expanded to include dining room and occasional chairs and in 1966, it merged with the Mount Airy Chair Company which was formed in 1921 by Bruce and James Yokley. Mount Airy Chair manufactured drawing room and dining room chairs, dining room furniture and bedroom chairs. On June 9, 1997, the Mount Airy Furniture was completely destroyed by a fire.
National Furniture Company formerly located on the west side of South Street between Granite Street and Roberts Road, formed in 1901 by J.H. Prather, Charles J. Whitlack, T.B. McCargo, Sr., E.C. Foy and R. L. Haymore. Alfred E. Smith and John Sobotta purchased controlling interests in National Furniture and continued to operate it until Smith’s death in 1929. National Furniture merged with Mt. Airy Mantel and Table Company around 1974 to become National Mount airy Furniture Company and they moved from this location out to Sheep Farm Road where eventually it was bought by Bassett Furniture. Around 1997, the National name was eliminated and the company just went by Bassett Furniture.
The Mount Airy Mantel and Table Company, located between South Street and the railroad, was formed in 1902 by stockholders George O. Graves, G.H. Williamson and Calvin Graves, Sr. Sometime after the 1940s, the company was absorbed by the Virginia based Bassett Furniture.
This site, a part of the “Geocaching for History” program, was researched and placed on the Emily B. Taylor Greenway by the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History in partnership with Kids in Parks-Track Trails System – Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina Foundation and the North Carolina Humanities Council. The goal of this program is to encourage physical activity and exploration of the history of our community.
web link to the HAER Report on Mount Airy Furniture Company http://cdn.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/nc/nc0000/nc0084/data/nc0084data.pdf
Aerial view of Mt. Airy Furniture Factories
National Furniture Company
National Furniture Company circa 1941
Mt. Airy Chair Company circa 1941
Mt. Airy Furniture Factory
1897 Sales Cards for Mount Airy Furniture
Sideboard style #115 $4.00
1897 Sales Card for Mt. Airy Furniture: Bed, Washstand and Dresser Suite Style #84 $7.75
June 9, 1997 Fire at Mt. Airy Furniture Company Photo by Peter Williams, Mt. Airy News