Georgia map showing TrailThe textile industry touches us all. Our region has been a powerhouse of textile production, from cotton and hosiery to apparel, chenille, and carpet. The mills transformed families, livelihoods, and communities. We invite locals and visitors alike to explore and share their connections to this story, as well as discover the landscapes and cultures along the Textile Trail.

Come explore the rich legacy of the textile industry through the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail, from Columbus to Dalton.  The Trail highlights historic communities that played a vital regional and sometimes national role in the cotton, hosiery, apparel, chenille, and carpet industries.  Follow along the U.S. Highway 27 corridor and adjacent counties to hear the stories, visit local exhibits and archives, and explore historic textile buildings while enjoying Georgia small-town life and local shops and restaurants.  Find your adventure on the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail!


Visit the “The Trail” tab to find Textile Heritage Trail sites and historic locations in your community.

Northern Region

This region includes the counties of Walker, Catoosa, Whitfield, Chattooga, Gordon, Floyd, Bartow, Cherokee, and Polk. Cotton, hosiery, tufting and chenille, carpet, and denim are the primary industries of this region.

Central Region

This region includes the counties of Paulding, Haralson, Douglas, Carroll, and Coweta. Cotton, hosiery,  apparel, cordage, and fabric are the primary industries of this region.

Southern Region

This region includes the counties of Heard, Troup, Meriwether, Spalding, Upson, Harris, Talbot, and Muscogee. Cotton is the primary industry of this region, but other industries include cordage and carpet.


Bowdon Spur Walking Trail

In March of 2018, the Textile Trail opened a new trail spur in Bowdon, Georgia. This new walking trail is clustered in the historic downtown corridor along City Hall Avenue and features three large wayside panels, ten wall-mounted plaques, and rack card.

Map of the Bowden Spur Trail. Photo courtesy of UWG Pub & Print.

This permanent outdoor exhibit shares Bowdon’s apparel industry history, from the 1930s to contemporary era, and is located in the heart of that industrial district that was once home to five apparel companies. The opening event included commemorative remarks and ribbon untying, as well as a guided walking tour of the panel exhibit. The event had around fifty people in attendance, among them: City officials Mayor Jim Chaffin and City Manager Gary Bullock; representatives from the Sewell family, including Robin Sewell Worley; members of the Bowdon Area Historical Society, including Tom Upchurch, Mignon Wessinger, and Judy Rowell; UWG History and Art faculty; and former apparel industry employees of Bowdon.

Bowden Spur Trail Marker. “Expanding the Sewell Family Legacy.” Photo courtesy of UWG Center for Public History.

Following the opening ceremony and remarks, UWG Department of History public history graduate student Chanell Lowery led a guided walking tour of the historic district. Chanell’s tour highlighted the lasting impact of the apparel industry in Bowdon, including the Sewell and Plunkett families and their influence on Bowdon. Contextualizing Bowdon’s Bremen-Bowdon Investment Company (BBI or BBIC) and LaMar Manufacturing Company into the larger narrative of the U.S. textile industry were points of emphasis during her tour. Additionally, Chanell’s tour, which serves as her Master’s thesis project, highlighted unionized and nonunionized plants and both women and African Americans in the textile industry workforce. 

Chanell Lowery, pausing for a picture during her docent tour of the Bowden Spur Trail. Photo courtesy of UWG Center for Public History.

The Bowdon Spur of the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail is free and open to the public during daylight hours. We encourage visitors to stop in the stores along City Hall Avenue that now occupy buildings that once housed LaMar Manufacturing’s shops and departments. Find out more about Bowdon’s textile past by visiting our community page: http://westgatextiletrail.com/bowdon/ Rack cards and brochures may be picked up at City Hall or the Bowdon Area Historical Society.

 

This project was generously funded by the Warren P. and Ava F. Sewell Foundation, Georgia Humanities, the UWG Center for Public History, the Carrollton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Bowdon Area Historical Society, and the City of Bowdon.