This community’s textile industry started later than most, but it grew rapidly and eventually created suits for President Carter!
This small town served a big name within the United States in that President Carter’s suits were crafted here. While it’s textile industry began a bit later than in other communities, it is currently still dominant within the town of Bowdon.
Things to Do
- Bowdon Area Historical Society, 105 Collegeview Street: Located behind Bowdon High School, the Bowdon Area Historical Society is home to the Heritage Walk, Whatley Memorial Park, and Shelnutt House Museum. Their mission statement is “to preserve the heritage of the Bowdon area and instill an appreciation of the past in both present and future generations.” While you’re here, you are able to view clothing worn by President Carter. The Shelnutt House Museum, where the Bowdown Area Historical Society has its headquarters, is open to the public by appointment only.
- Copeland Hall, 103 Barr Avenue: This location is Bowdon’s Cultural Arts Center, where concerts, plays, educational shows, and more are offered.
- Warren Sewell Memorial Library, 450 West Avenue: This library is named after the founder of the Warren Sewell Clothing Company, Warren P. Sewell.
- Bowdon Station, 140 City Hall Avenue: These original LaMar Manufacturing Company buildings are now used as stores along Commerce St. and City Hall Ave. in downtown Bowdon. As these businesses are owned independently, their hours of operation may vary.
- Sewell Bowdon Location, 152 City Hall Avenue: This men’s clothing store can be contacted at (770)258-5567 for hours of operation and pricing.
Places to 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.
- Bremen-Bowdon Investment Co., 141 Commerce Street: This business is privately owned and is not open to the public. The historic Bremen-Bowdon Investment Company is still in operation producing garments for the United States military. Originally, this company was opened by Warren Sewell as the manufacturing arm of his company; however, these two companies split in 2008.
- Ava Sewell Hall, 504 West College Street: The old Bowdon High School gym was built entirely with local donations and labor in 1955 and dedicated to Ava Sewell. It can be seen on the left off College View and is still used for community events.
Bowdon’s apparel industry began during the Depression years, after brothers Robert, Roy, and Warren Sewell moved their small clothing business from Atlanta to Bremen in 1928. In 1934, the Sewell Manufacturing Company built the first apparel plant in Bowdon.
After World War II, when Warren Sewell split from Sewell Manufacturing to establish the Warren Sewell Clothing Company, he acquired the Bowdon plant and opened the manufacturing arm of his company, the Bremen-Bowdon Investment Company (BBIC). Warren Sewell’s success greatly expanded apparel manufacturing in Bowdon. While not a traditional “company town,” the apparel industry dominated the community through the second half of the twentieth century until its peak in the 1980s.
The Sewell family controlled the west Georgia region’s apparel industry through the 1990s with their many business expansions, partnerships, and new companies. Warren Sewell’s son-in-law and daughter, Lamar and Frances Sewell Plunkett, founded LaMar Manufacturing Company in Bowdon around 1955. This company made suits for President Jimmy Carter for twenty years, from his time on the Georgia senate through his presidency in the 1970s. Each of the president’s suits were made with care and lined with fabric embellished with Carter’s initials.
The apparel industry is still active in Bowdon. In 2008, BBIC and the Warren Sewell Clothing Company split. Although many of BBIC’s original buildings are now gone, the company maintains manufacturing operations on the original site, producing garments for the U.S. military. Today, you can visit the Bowdon Area Historical Society to view a blazer worn by Carter and original apparel company photographs and documents, as well as visit many of LaMar Manufacturing’s original buildings that are now home to locally owned businesses in Bowdon Station.
Charter Trail Members:
- Bowdon Area Historical Society
- Warren P. Sewell Memorial Library
- Carroll County Chamber of Commerce
- Carroll County Historical Society
Resources to Explore
Click on the following links to learn more about this region.
- Bowdon Walking Tour
- Carroll County Driving Tour
- Facts for Kids
- Digital Library of Georgia
- Georgia Archives Virtual Vault
- Georgia Historical Society
- Carroll County, New Georgia Encyclopedia
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