Henry River Mill Village: A Ghost Town turned Hunger Games District 12

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The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & SightHenry River Mill Village

While browsing for interesting stops on a recent trip to North Carolina, I saw this Atlas Obscura article on the abandoned Henry River Mill Village, and I immediately made it a priority!

The company town was built around a mill in the early 1900s, and looks to have been abandoned not long after the mill closed in the 1960s. There are 20 remaining structures in various states of decay– a playground for connoisseurs of abandoned buildings. But the reason why so many people flock to the site probably has more to do with its more recent history as a filming location for District 12 in The Hunger Games.

Abandoned Filming Site of Hunger Games' District 12 | Thought & SightAbandoned Filming Site of Hunger Games' District 12 | Thought & SightRecognize this row of houses from the Hunger Games? It appears that repairs were made to some homes for the film, most noticeably to the back porches, some of which are far sturdier than they ought to be (or simply not collapsed like all the others).

The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village - Site of District 12 | Thought & Sight

Abandoned Filming Site of Hunger Games' District 12 | Thought & Sight

The old company store served as Peeta Mellark’s family bakery:

The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village - Site of the District 12| Thought & Sight

Even if you’re not into The Hunger Games, it’s a pretty cool place to visit!

The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & SightThe Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight

I loved this house, as it was so much more colorful inside than the others!

Many of the houses have rotting floorboards, and I’m certain that you’re not supposed to enter any of them. (seriously, please be careful if you visit!) I might have disregarded that rule to take more photos of this particular home. However, it’s not difficult to lean in and snap photos, as the glass is completely broken out of many of the windows.

The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & SightThe Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & SightThe Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight

Houses on the opposite side of the road. What’s not immediately obvious from the photos is just how close they are to the road. The village is only a couple minutes drive from the highway, and there’s no way you can miss it.

The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & SightAn old root cellar carved into the hill in front of one of the homes. I’m quick to note anytime I think something belongs in a horror movie, but this really does seem like a the perfect setup.

The Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & SightThe Abandoned Henry River Mill Village | Thought & Sight

Visiting:


 

If you prefer a guided tour, there’s a local company that works with the owner to offer Hunger Games themed tours that give you a little more access and let you dress up and act out some of your favorite scenes!

On their website and elsewhere I’ve seen statements that the village is closed to the public, which doesn’t seem to be true at this time. When we showed up on a Sunday afternoon, the sheriff was sitting in the parking lot near the company store. He was very nice, and said we were welcome to explore, just to stay away from the mill down by the river as it’s dangerous. We had the place to ourselves for about 15 minutes, when several other groups showed up to poke around and take photos.

There’s no street address for the village, but getting there is easy, as your Google Maps app won’t have any problem finding the location if you just put in “Henry River Mill Village.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. we are coming from Florida and I can’t seem to find any info regarding any tours other than they have been suspended due to the owner of the property having passed away. Says tours may resume late Summer 2016-we are visiting this next week and staying in Asheville. Hate to make the trip if we won’t see anything. May I ask-I know some of the houses are visible from Henry Rd, but are you able to see the bakery from the road as well? Would just driving down Henry Rd (if it, indeed, is accessible at this time) be worth the trip by being able to see much of the village-if even just by our car.

    • Hi Donna! The houses and the bakery building are literally right along the road, so you can’t miss them, and can easily visit without a tour. There’s a large parking area/pull-off by the bakery building, and you wouldn’t even need to get out of your car to see it.

      If the owner has passed away and the property has changed hands, I’d keep in mind that they might feel differently about people exploring the property, but at the time that we visited there were plenty of people roaming around without a guide.

      Enjoy your trip to Asheville!

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