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Danville city officials joined other area leaders and citizens Friday afternoon in celebrating the restoration of the word “Home” from the “Home of Dan River Fabrics” sign that topped the White Mill for decades.
The sign has been installed at the corner of Main and Union streets, where it will stay for at least six months.
“As a resident of this community, I have many memories of driving along Riverside Drive and seeing the “Home of Dan River Fabrics” sign located on top of the White Mill,” Mayor Sherman Saunders said at the ceremony. “I know many of you have and share that same memory. Like many of you, I would feel a level of comfort, a sense of being home when I saw the sign.
“Now, years after it was taken down, many groups have come together to bring back a piece of this historic sign to life. What better place than right here in our River district – a district that is being reimagined and brought back to life. The refurbishment of this sign serves as a tribute to our proud history, and it is now a symbol of our reimagination at work.”
The sign has a history that dates back to 1947, according to a story published in the Danville Register & Bee. Built of steel and completely custom-made, the letters and its frame sat on 10 columns atop the White Mill.
A tornado damaged three letters of the sign on Aug. 12, 2004. Rather than restore the sign, the company had it removed in 2007.
The Danville Historical Society later purchased and stored the letters.
Friday’s celebration culminated a year-long effort to restore the “Home” portion of the sign. The Danville Regional Foundation provided a Make It Happen grant to transport, refurbish, light and mount the sign, which went through a complete overall. Powers Signs did the electrical work.
Speaking at the ceremony, Tom Powers Sr. said, “These are modern electronics pulling only a fifth of the amperage originally required.”
Ina Dixon, director of the community organization History United, said the restoration of the sign is important to Danville.
Speaking at the ceremony, she said, “As you can see this evening, the past is not something dusty, gone or dead. The past is alive in us. It lights our rich and varied experiences of Danville and the region. …. Over the next few months, may this lighted symbol of where we come from show us where we are heading. May this sign inspire in all of us a welcoming gratitude. May its light reveal to us our generous sense of community and our happiness in calling Danville home.”