Trail Marker #12
Elkin Shoe Company - West Creek Bank
The Elkin Shoe Company was established by Alexander M. Smith and began manufacturing in 1892. Also serving as a tannery, Mr. Smith began his venture with $600 worth of second-hand machinery, six vats in the tan yard, and eight employees. Its original production rate was 12 pairs of shoes a day.
The picture shown here is the second location of the plant after it had moved from its original location on the east side of the creek in 1896. The Elkin Shoe became a household name thanks to its guarantee of being a better wearing and lasting shoe than any other. Mr. Smith’s motto was simple, “It’s not how much money I can make out of a pair of shoes but much real service and durability I can put into a pair.”
At its height of production, the shoe factory employed more than 225 employees and produced 1,500 pairs of shoes a day. It ceased its operations in 1927. It is for this reason that today we refer to the dam just ahead as the “shoe factory dam.”