Scenes from District 12 and Great Tourism Opportunities

This past week, I had the opportunity to visit the abandoned Henry River Mill Community where many of the District 12 scenes were filmed for the upcoming Hunger Games film. Here are a few of the photographs we snapped. I was prepared for surly security guards, police officers, even, but it was a lovely day, and the only person we encountered was a delightful gentleman who had been wanting to photograph the site and was aware of the film only as something that blocked up traffic back in the summer. I was hoping for dandelions, but had to settle for daffodils, which, as Katniss would tell us, are completely inedible, but I like them because they linger on long after people have left a house or town site, beautiful yellow reminders of a past that is long gone.

The site is easy to reach and is about an hour from Charlotte. The Mellark Bakery (that’s new paint on the front) was once the company store. The folks in Asheville are also sensitive to how the forthcoming film will improve their fortunes. I’ve been chatting with them about their plans to bring film fans to see some of the scenery from the film. They’ve even put together a super little video that showcases some of the lovelier spots used in the film. And they have vacation packages that, to my mind, are a little reminiscient of the Capitol citizens’ penchant for visiting the old Arenas where, as is Asheville, the food is great.

Considering the positive economic impact the whole of Western NC has seen so far, though, I will try to refrain from too many smart remarks. If people want to go whitewater rafting where the actors went, great. I just hope they don’t litter. I don’t see much chance of the darker side of District 12 getting the same treatment, though there are some coal mines in Eastern KY that offer tours.

I predict I’ll be touring plenty of visiting relatives over the next few years and that, when I see the film with my students in two weeks that we’ll be yelling “Hey, I know where that is!”
Thanks to my husband, historian, author, and photographer Michael C. Hardy, for snapping these images!


  1. Wow! I hope Prof. Baird-Hardy will consider leading a Hogwarts Professor Conference group to the film site so we can all visit The Meadow and sing the songs from our favorite books… Forgive me for thinking this looks a lot more accessible and meaningful than castles in central Florida in July.

    Thank you for the photo tour, Professor, and please do think about putting together a Hunger Games HogPro conference package with tour!

    Grateful John

    Here is the Asheville ‘Come to District 12!’ Hunger Games video —

  2. Elizabeth says

    Thanks, Headmaster! I would love to do just such a tour if I have some help with logistics ( I should not be trusted with planning a slumber party). I am also hoping, once the movie emerges, to discover other spots to visit!
    And thanks for linking to the video, which really is charming.

  3. Oooh, the video is delightful! One of our Bucket List checkoffs is to visit the Asheville area and sample the atmosphere of Blue Ridge hospitality. Thanks for sharing.

    A question for Elizabeth: Your photographs evidence a reclamation of sorts. Has the area been left enhanced (painted storefront notwithstanding) or returned to its pre-movie-set condition?

  4. Elizabeth says

    The site has always been cleaned up a bit, PJ, mowed and so forth, but the movie people made no truly drastic changes. A student of mine, who used to hang around here when he was a teenager, has really enjoyed seeing all the hoopla, though I never did see the sign he saw saying the site was under camera survelliance. I would have liked to see that, but then, I don’t think the fence was electrified either! Let me know if you come my way, and I’ll point you in the right direction!

  5. Thank you! Too bad your former student did not take a photo of the sign!

    I hope you take John’s suggestion to heart and find a way to organize an HPConference in the Asheville area. I wonder if one of the local college students might be searching for a project or two?


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