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The northern section of the West Georgia Textile Trail covers the region from the foothills of Polk County to the mountains of north Georgia. Dalton serves as the northern hub of the Trail.
Local entrepreneurs established Trion Cotton Mill along the Chattooga River in October 1845. The textile boom at the turn of the twentieth century brought large brick mills to many of the railroad towns by 1910. Several major northern companies established some of the largest cotton mills here, including the Massachusetts Mill of Georgia in Lindale and Aragon Mills. Hosiery mills appeared by 1900, with several in this region by the time famed photojournalist Lewis Hine visited in 1913. The first knitting mills produced socks, but some of the 1920s companies had begun to produce underwear. Several cotton mills produced yarns for hosiery. Both cotton and hosiery mills in this region constructed mill villages.
In the 1920s, national companies began to invest in the northwest Georgia region. Goodyear purchased cotton mills in Cedartown and Cartersville and built a new plant in Rockmart to produce tire cord and fabric. American Chatillon Corporation, an Italian-American business, established a new operation in Rome to produce rayon, a popular synthetic fiber. These late 1920s companies continued to build mill villages and embraced the spirit of corporate paternalism. The Northwest Georgia Textile League supported baseball teams for many of these larger mills.
The commercial chenille industry started here as part of the Appalachian crafts revival when Catherine Evans Whitener sold her first tufted spread in 1900. Hand-tufted chenille quickly grew from a small handicraft business to a regional enterprise. By the 1930s, clothes lines filled with hand-tufted products lined “Bedspread Boulevard” along U.S. Highway 41. Tourists traveling to and from Florida along this stretch of the Dixie Highway stopped to purchase the popular chenille. By the 1930s, the process moved into factories and utilized machines, but chenille remained popular through the 1960s.
Carpet production evolved out of chenille technologies and grew dramatically in this region from the 1950s onward. By the 1970s, the majority of the carpet companies in the United States were located around Dalton. Now, three of the four leading carpet companies in the country are based in Dalton: Shaw, Mohawk, and Beaulieu.