Chris Biddle, The Echo online writer
Did you know that, once, Swan- nanoa had its very own downtown complete with grocery stores, a barber shop and a movie theater all within an easy walk of where the residents lived and worked? Ever wondered where the Beacon Café, one of the few businesses left over in what used to be a thriving little commercial area, got its name and logo from?
The Beacon Blanket Company operated in Swannanoa from 1925 to 2002, when financial troubles forced the closure of the mill. A year later, the abandoned building burned down. Jerry Pope and Reb- becca Williams, co-founders of Serpent, a community arts organization based in Swannanoa, were struck by the amount of affection and care residents expressed for the Mill, the family that owned it and the com- munity that it had helped create.
“We were taken aback by the amount of affection and warmth that poured out of the community when that building burned down,” Williams said, “to the point at which we knew there was a story there.”
“Swannanoa is our home,” said Pope, who teaches at Warren Wil- son. “We wanted to examine what happens in our community when the economic stronghold of the town falls out the bottom.”
“It’s a case study for what’s hap- pening or already has happened in small industrial towns across the South and we think it’s a story that should be told,” Williams added.
The free showing at the Beacon Firehouse this Sunday will showcase scenes from the work in progress.