See District 12! Josh Hutcherson stars as 'Peeta Mellark' in THE HUNGER GAMES, filmed in the ghost town of Henry River. Photo credit: Murray Close
The same building along the Henry River Road, after the filming.
Asheville and the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina have been the setting for many movies. The blockbuster movie The Hunger Games was filmed in several locations during the spring and summer of 2011. Released in March 2012, the movie is based on the book trilogy of young-adult science fiction written by Suzanne Collins.
Filmed entirely in North Carolina, The Hunger Games film locations spanned from a dense forest in which the arena that hosts the games themselves was created to a town that stood in for Katniss' home, District 12, to a sound stage that was the platform for the fantastical sights and sounds of The Capitol, the futuristic capital city of the nation of Panem. Principal photography on the 84-day production began on May 23. Communities in which the feature shot included Asheville, Barnardsville, Black Mountain, Cedar Mountain, Charlotte, Concord, Hildebran and Shelby.
The Hunger Games takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of North America, in a nation known as Panem. Panem consists of a wealthy Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts. District 12, where the book begins, is located in the coal-rich region that was formerly Appalachia.
The film, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz and Woody Harrelson, filmed nine days in Henry River Mill Village, an abandoned ghost town in Burke County just outside of Hildebran (about one hour's drive east of Asheville on I-40, about 1/2 mile from exit 119). The ghost town used for District 12 scenes drew curious visitors long before it was featured in the movie, but now a steady stream of tourists are checking out the site that was turned into Mellark's Bakery, a well known location in the books. They also filmed in nearby Connelly Springs.
Entertainment Weekly interviewed Josh Hutcherson at the Early Girl Eatery in downtown Asheville during the filming. Other movie locations included DuPont State Forest, home to popular waterfalls and hiking. Filming took place around the Triple Falls Trail (lower end), Hooker Falls Road and Bridal Veil Falls Road. Other scenes were filmed in Pisgah National Forest. Other locations for filming include an old warehouse in Shelby, Charlotte's Knight Theatre, Raleigh and the former Phillip Morris Plant in Concord.
During filming, the stars stayed at the Hotel Indigo in downtown Asheville. Lexington Avenue Brewery, Wasabi, the Laughing Seed are just a few of the other hangouts that cast members enjoyed.
See other movies that have been filmed in the Asheville area. In 2014, the Loomis Fargo project filmed in the area.
Update: The owner has closed the property for touring due to vandalism and safety concerns. You can see several of the buildings from the main road. Take a guided tour of the village.
The Henry River Mill Village (or "District 12") is now a ghost town. It was built as a planned community with its own textile mill, dam, water and fire-protection systems, and company store. Today most of the village's original buildings remain sited along a small gorge of the Henry River, about 75 miles east of Asheville, near Hildebran, NC. The abandoned homes are dangerous inside due to collapsing floors - so definitely just look from the outside! See many of the buildings along the road. (Exit 119 off I-40 - then go south about 1/2 mile to Henry River.)
In 1904 Michael Erastus Rudisill laid out the mill and village on a 1500-acre tract, chosen for its hydropower potential. The mill was incorporated as the Henry River Manufacturing Company and manufactured fine cotton yarns. In 1905, a 30-foot reinforced concrete dam was constructed with a three-story brick mill building. The mill building burned in 1977. The residential area of the village consisted of approximately 35 small worker's cottages. Twenty-one are standing today. These 1-1/2 story duplex houses were laid out along the river's northern bank. The workers lived in boarding houses or workers' cottages built by the company, which were leased at nominal fees.
Since the loss of the main mill building, the centerpiece of the village today is the two-story brick company store building. This building served as a mill office with the upper floor used as a school room and for church services from 1907-1917. The Henry River Mill originally ran on waterpower. In 1914 a steam plant was installed then in 1926, the mill was converted to electric power. In its early years, the mill operated 4,000 yarn-making spindles. By the time it shut down in the late 1960s, the mill had 12,000 spindles and produced fine combed yarn for lace. The mill was closed for several years and was purchased in 1976. Equipment and materials were stored in the mill building when it burned in 1977.
District 12: The mill and village are designated to the North Carolina Study List of the National Register of Historic Places.