Smith River Small Towns

Small Towns

We are Bassett, Fieldale, Stanleytown and Kohler, and we have deep roots in textile and furniture manufacturing, and our factories once made products sold all over the world.

Our skilled craftsman built furniture at the Bassett mill and spinners made towels at Fieldcrest. We are tremendously proud of this heritage and know that we are at our best when we are making things.

The Dan River Basin Association is proud to be a part of the effort in these small towns by creating the Small Towns Collaborative a Master Plan for Rivers and Trails and project ideas for outdoor recreational use to connect and promote the 15 magical miles. See the plan here.

Smith River TrailsWhile the mills have all closed, you can still experience that traditional mill village life today. Many of us still have ties to the factories, which instilled in us the traditional values we hold today. We are a tight-knit, hard working, friendly community where our neighbors and friends strive to take care of each other.

We are communities where you can still go to the old filling station to talk about the day, play basketball with your friends at the Community Center, or meet with neighbors at the JD Bassett High School for fellowship and fun. That nostalgic quality of life that other community strive for is still alive and well in our Small Towns today.

Our communities were founded by industries using the Smith River waters to power their bustling factories. While the Smith is ingrained in our communities’  past, it also represents a bright economic future. The new economy that is emerging is one that looks to tap into the active use of our natural resources.

Beginning at the dam on Lake Phillpot, the 15 Magical Miles of the Smith weave through our Small Towns offering hiking, fishing, boating and biking experiences, among others. Each community is, in a sense, a trail head for the river, and we look to capitalize on an active economy.

Even with these new opportunities, our heritage is what makes us unique and special. From the smokestack that proudly says Fieldcrest, to Bassett Furniture’s headquarters that remain here today, we are a snapshot in time of the working mill towns of the past.

Our story is one of Sawdust and Lint — the Tale of American Makers. Read more at

DRBA's work in the communities along the Smith River spans 10 years and includes river access, trails, Smith River Fest, River Clean-ups, Riparian Buffer enhancements, Trout in the Classroom and preservation and promotion of the region.