Save District 12: How Henry River Mill Village Has Fallen Into Disrepair
Henry River Mill Village is a beautifully historic cotton mill company town built in the early 1900s, and designated a national historic site. However, the village is known less for its significance as a remnant of the change in American lifestyle from an agrarian to an industrial society, but more so for its pop culture interest.
The village was used as the setting for the District 12 home of Katniss Everdeen in the 2012 film “The Hunger Games.”Nowadays, tourists are flocking to see a piece of film history, but according to the owner and groundskeeper Wade Shepard, 85, the visitors are flocking in numbers that are difficult to control, and they’re damaging the property.
At one point, every door in the village was screwed shut, and all the windows were boarded. But visitors have forced open the doors, and completely smashed out the windows. The tiny town is made up of about 20 “picturesquely weathered” one-and-a-half story wooden shacks, with tin roofs and green vines poking around. But the property is growing more damaged by the day.
Shepard says it was fun to watch the filming, but unfortunately the tourists that have resulted are not always friendly. He uses one particular house as an example: “This house, all the windows were in, Shepard says, “Everything in good shape. About six weeks ago, on Friday night, they throw’d a beer party there. The cans was inside, outside. There were four posts that supported that porch there. They took the posts and took ’em with them.”
Shepard, who recently had heart surgery and has trouble walking, is not up to repairing the damage over-enthusiastic tourists have made to the historic village. Almost every day, he finds a new broken window, missing antique, or vandalized wall.
At his age, Shepard is starting to do estate planning, and is trying to get the property off his hands. For a cool $1.4 million, you can own your very own piece of film history! And while Shepard says there have been a few takers, they have all backed out at the last minute.
At this point, buyers would have the option of either watching the property get destroyed before their very eyes, or put in a decent chunk of money to see it returned to some sort of manageable state.
Henry River Mill Village is a valuable property, both as a historic landmark, and as a movie setting that is close to the hearts of many fans. Hopefully someone will be able to step in and save the property before its too late.