Founded during the Civil War as a terminus for the Western and Atlantic Railroad, Adairsville, during Reconstruction, the city depended on the railroad, agriculture, and local manufacturing for its prosperity. Born with the advent of the railroad, Adairsville became a thriving textile community along U.S. Highway 41.
The developed of the textile industry in the region began with the establishment of the Oothcalooga Cotton Mill, in 1872. Operating for twelve years and employing 70 people, the mill housed 2,000 spindles, consumed about 20 bales of cotton weekly, and produced nearly 4,000 yards of blue denim daily.
After World War II, the boll weevil epidemic began to destroy Adairsville’s cotton-based economy. The devastation of the epidemic encouraged many citizen to start making hand-tufted bedspreads. Purchasing unbleached sheeting and tufting from a downtown merchant, H.C. McCutchen, haulers, local people with cars, took stamped-patterned sheeting and thread out to the rural areas to be tufted by hand.
Tufters living along U.S. Highway 41 worked out of their homes and hung wire lines to spread out their peacock design bedspreads and bathrobes to sell. Northern and Midwestern tourists traveling through the area to Florida left orders to pick-up on their way back. Soon nicknamed Peacock Alley, U.S. 41 through Adairsville soon became widely known for its “spread lines.” One of the earliest paved through highways in the state of Georgia, U.S. 41 also known as the Dixie Highway, brought economic prosperity to this otherwise depressed region.
Positioned halfway between Atlanta and Chattanooga on Interstate 75, Adairsville continues to thrive and prosper, encouraging economic development while preserving its unique historical legacy. Keeping the hand-tufted tradition alive, Adairsville continues to host an annual three-day 90-mile Dixie Highway Yard Sale, the first weekend of June each year.