Discover the “Clothing Center of the South”! Bremen became a leading producer of men’s apparel in the mid-twentieth century.
In 1928, brothers Robert, Roy, and Warren Sewell moved their growing apparel company from Atlanta to Bremen drawn to the community by to the crossing of two railroads, the intersection of two U.S. highways, and a good supply of labor. Other clothing producers, such as New York based Cluett, Peabody & Co., Inc., also built apparel plants in Bremen during the late 1920s. Both companies expanded operations several times in the coming decades, building plants in nearby Buchanan, Bowdon, Temple, Douglasville, and Rome, Georgia as well as Heflin, Alabama.
The success of the Sewells spawned numerous other clothing manufacturers in Bremen, including the Hubbard Pants Company (1935), Warren Sewell Clothing Company (1945), The Ray Sewell Company (1955), and the Worley-Sewell Company (1963), among others. During the industry’s peak in the 1970s, some 2,500 Bremen area residents, most of whom were women, worked in the city’s apparel plants.
During the 1980s and 1990s, most of the city’s clothing manufacturers closed due to falling profits caused by foreign competition and the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 (NAFTA).Two of the Sewell family businesses remained — Sewell Manufacturing and the Warren Sewell Clothing Company. In 2008, these companies merged as The Sewell Companies, and shifted their headquarters to the “Plant Number One” building, which is part of Sewell Manufacturing Company on Pacific Avenue. Today, The Sewell Clothing Companies produces suits and military uniforms in Heflin, Alabama. These men’s suits, slacks, and sport coats can be purchased at the factory store in Bremen.
Member Organizations on the Trail:
- Sewell Mill Events Facility & Community Center — Features historic photographs throughout and the “Stitching the Fabric of Community in the West Georgia Region” exhibit with interactive station of the Bremen Spur wayside exhibit. Visit at 126 Hamilton Ave, Bremen, GA 30110. For information on events, contact Hannah Porter at (678) 492-4336 or Kelli Weaver at (404) 376-6055.
What can you do?
- Bremen Spur Walking and Driving Tour — Explore Bremen’s historic downtown and textile past through the walking trail and wayside exhibit. Start with the three-sided kiosk across the street from City Hall on Tallapoosa Street; then, make your way over to Sewell Mill on Hamilton Avenue to see and learn about the Warren Sewell Clothing Company and Hubbard Pants Company; and, finally, end up next to The Sewell Companies on Pacific Avenue to learn about The Ray Sewell Company, the “Arrow Plant,” and Sewell Manufacturing Company. Each location has wayside interpretive panels with historic images. Learn more about this exhibit here, including clips from the music exhibit!
- “Stitching the Fabric of Community in the West Georgia Region” Exhibit — This indoor exhibit shares the textile story of the Sewell Family in the central west Georgia region. This space is located in Sewell Mill Events Facility & Community Center, which is open to the public by appointment only. Please contact Sewell Mill at (404) 492-4336 or email@example.com. More information.
- Sewell Factory Store — Buy a suit or check out the apparel produced by The Sewell Companies in the ground level store of the plant on Pacific Avenue.
What can you see?
- The Sewell Companies Building — This two-story building on Pacific Avenue was the headquarters and plant no.1 for Sewell Manufacturing from 1928-2008 and is now the headquarters for The Sewell Companies. Be sure to check out the historic Art Deco sign and clock and look for our interpretive signs nearby!
- The Ray Sewell Company building — This multi-story brick building on Alabama Avenue served as the headquarters for The Ray Sewell Company from the 1960s through the 1980s.
- Hubbard Pants Company and Georgia Converters Inc. Buildings — This building complex on Hamilton Avenue served as home for the Hubbard Pants Company and its manufacturing arm, Georgia Converters Inc. from 1935-2009. Look for the Trail signs across the street at Sewell Mill!
- Cluett, Peabody & Co. Building — Drive by the “Arrow Plant” on South Buchanan Street. This, now, privately-owned building was the location of the Cluett, Peabody & Co. building between the late 1920s and 1991. Before Cluett came along this site was home to the first textiles in Bremen as Bremen Looms and soon after Bremen Mills.
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