Experience a northwest Georgia town that once had one of the largest textile manufactures in the region.
Rossville’s textile history began in the late 1800s. Richmond Hosiery Mill, established here in 1898, was one of the largest and oldest textile mills in Northwest Georgia. The mill produced socks for men, women, and a unique section of the mill was dedicated to making hosiery for “misses”. The mill employed 400 men, women, and children in 1910 and 700 by 1922. Richmond Hosiery Mill and the many young children whom the company employed were the subject of Lewis Wick Hines historic pictorial survey of child labor in American industry.
In 1905, the same year that the city of Rossville was incorporated, John L. Hutcherson Sr. established Peerless Woolen Mills. Peerless Woolen Mills was the primary manufacturer for blankets for the armed forces during World War II. Peerless claimed to be the largest single-unit mill in the world by the 1950s, leading the textile industry in woolen products.
In 1952, the Hutcherson family sold Peerless Woolen Mills to Burlington Industries. Textile workers in Rossville began to feel the strain from competition in overseas markets and voted to unionize in August of 1961. Strongly against organized labor, Burlington Industries made plans to close the plant by the end of 1961.
In an attempt to save one of Rossville largest employers, local businessmen tried to identify one large company to buy the plant but their efforts proved unsuccessful. Instead, dozens of smaller textile-related companies purchased the plant and leased out the space. A large part of the plant burned in 1967 after a fire broke out from a short circuiting piece of equipment.
What can you see?
The following properties are not open to the public, but you can view them from the exterior to learn more about the buildings that supported the textile industry here.
- Peerless Woolen Mills 555 McFarland Avenue, Rossville, GA- Peerless Mills, can still be seen today. Visitors should not enter the mill property but can view the mill safely from the street. The mill was purchased by the Hutcherson family in 2012.
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