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Young girls passing boys near fence. Photo courtesy: Library of Congress

In 1896, Massachusetts Cotton Mills, of Lowell, Mass., established a textile mill in Lindale. Equipped with 42,000 spindles and 1,400 looms the Massachusetts Mill quickly became one of the largest mills in Georgia. To house employees, mill owners constructed 75 new four, six, eight, and ten room dwellings. The mill also supplied a primary school with paid teachers free of charge to mill employees.

Purchasing additional land for a mill expansion in 1901, by 1903 the mill doubled its capacity.  In 1905, the mill hired an additional 300 workers. The mill owners built several recreational facilities for the mill employees including an auditorium, a library, a swimming pool and billiards room in 1921. In 1926, Pepperell Manufacturing Company purchased the Massachusetts Cotton Mills and the Lindale plant. The Pepperell Mill baseball team joined the baseball teams of six other mills, forming the Northwest Georgia Textile League.

During World War II, Lindale Mills manufactured fatigue uniforms, ammunition bags, camouflage, gloves, bandages, women’s uniforms in aviation and power plants and other materials for the United States Military. In July 1943, the Lindale division of Pepperell Manufacturing Company received the Army-Navy “E” award for excellence for it contribution to the war effort. The mill raised a flag signifying the award and employees sported lapel pins demonstrating their contribution to the war effort.

For inspiration during hard times, employees of Pepperell Manufacturing Company built a wooden star lined with lights to hang between the mill’s smoke stacks at Christmas time during the Great Depression. This tradition remains incorporated into the community’s Christmas celebration today, despite the mill closing in 2001.

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