As part of our “Block by Block,” series, this report takes you to Gastonia. In the early 20th century, Gastonia was home to one of the largest textile mills in the South: The Loray Mill. It grew to employ 3,500 workers, and most lived in the surrounding mill village. The neighborhood’s ties to the mill stayed strong well after the company stopped providing housing. In fact, it’s still strong 22 years after the mill closed and accelerated the community’s decline.