District 12

The General Store

The General Store

Henry River is a small abandoned town very close to mine, and because I hadn’t seen the movie Hunger Games, and there’s a reason for that, I paid no attention to what has clearly diminished in hype about this film location.  I pass it every day on my errands into Hickory, so I decided to check it out, then watch the movie to see if I might recognize anything.  And recognize things I did.

Prominent in the opening scene and then in several flashbacks, this is District 12, the home of Katness Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. Surprisingly, everything is still exactly as it was depicted in the film.

Looking out from the village.

Looking out from the village.

The ride to the village is a long curvy, two-lane, azalea-lined drive, and missing the place is not an option because you must turn off toward the river to avoid it. Like many other mill towns, there is a general store, a reservoir, and a building that may or may not have been a school. The river is at one end with the mill, which now appears to be a storage facility for something else.  This part of town is closed with dozens of “Keep Out” signs, presumably for safety as the dam is quite high and the river is very low.

A view from the bridge.

A view from the bridge.

You can see the river better from the bridge which, even after all the rain we’ve had, runs at a trickle. Perhaps some of the river has been siphoned off for farming.  Anyhow, it was all spooky and had a ghostly feel to it.  The store was in the best shape, but most of the houses, though standing, were near collapse. Chimneys had caved in on themselves.  There were holes in the wood floors, and nearly all the porches were rotted and tenuous.  Windows were smashed; though odd pieces of furniture remained in some homes.  The craziest thing of all was a pile of hundreds and hundreds of those stretchy cotton bands that you would put on a child’s potholder weaving frame lay deeply imbedded into the dirt in front of one of the houses.  At first I thought they were worms, and then I think I saw some socks that might have been cut to make those bands.  The sheer amount of them made it all the more strange, and I left trying to imagine who on earth dropped all those bands.

A prominent scene in the movie.

A prominent scene in the movie.

Supposedly the area is closed.  It is not. And some will tell you it is off limits, but there are no “No Trespassing” signs other than the ones near the dam.   I did see another car come and go, and watched as they took some brick souvenirs that had been laying about. The store is locked tight but the houses are accessible though that’s not where I would want to be in the next chimney collapse.  I wondered if the wood on these structures was cedar or cyprus, as the houses themselves were outliving the bricks.

One of the mill houses.

One of the mill houses.

As of May 1st, this town was accessible and a true ghost town.  You can buy tickets at $50 a pop from a company that gives tours, replete with costumes and re-enactments.  But it’s the haunting nature of the place when you are there alone that makes the trip worthwhile.

Henry River is Exit 119 off I40 about 4 miles west of Hickory, NC.  For more information link HERE.

About Patsye

I am an older woman and artist. I love to craft. I love to sew and knit and crochet and needlepoint. I love to paint and draw and make art with my hands. Being creative is what gets me up in the morning. Art is my tea, my fresh air, my good book, and my cats all rolled into one. I have much to share and hope you'll visit often.
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7 Responses to District 12

  1. averyclaire says:

    You write about the most interesting things! Thanks for this informative post. The photos are lovely. Read the books, but haven’t seen the movie. But now I have seen scenes from it! Thanks! Hope all is well is NC.

  2. Hi, I re-blogged your post to our page “Cabin Court Chronicles” because I thought it might be a fun outing for our guests and followed your Blog. Then I looked more closely and realized you are another fellow artist.I am going to have fun looking at your past posts. Thanks. Tara

  3. Reblogged this on The Pines Cottages and commented:
    I hadn’t even thought of going to visit this little ghost town – what fun – I can’t wait to take the kids. Living in Asheville there is so much focus on the Pisgah Forest where much of the movie was filmed.

  4. How cool! I haven’t seen the movies or anything, but this still sounds awesome to see in real life 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    I. Think Dad grew up in this town.I did not realist the movie was made in the area.

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