For many southerners, the history of the region’s textile past is a very personal and familial story. During the late-1800s to mid-1900s, Carrollton experienced the ebb and flow of the industrializing South from several vantage points. Carroll County’s farmers grew cotton as a cash crop then carted their harvests into town for market. Cotton and hosiery mills processed the cotton into textile products while creating new domestic and labor settings for many rural folk. The rail lines connected Carrollton to a larger southern network and transported the city’s textile goods. This industry powered economic development in Carrollton, producing immense change and growth during the twentieth century. We invite you to discover this history through the Carrollton Spur of the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail. The brochure includes a trail map with signage locations and additional sites to see along the way.
Introductory and Cotton Sign:
In the early 1900s, cotton was king in Carrollton. Even during industrialization, the city maintained much of its farming tradition. Historic Adamson Square was the site of busy cotton markets where farmers would sell their crops to textile factories and merchants. The introductory sign of the Carrollton trail is located in the southeast quadrant of Adamson Square.
The Knitted Road:
Carrollton’s textile industry diversified during the 1920s and 30s as new hosiery mills began sharing Bradley Street with the older warehouses vital to the local cotton market. Located between Adamson Square and the Train Depot, Bradley Street became an important industrial sector, adding finished goods to the textile products made in the city. The Bradley Street sign is located in the parking lot of the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum.
The Bustling Depot:
The train depot proved instrumental in the growth of the local industry by connecting Carrollton to a larger network of southern cities and towns. From the mid-1870s through the early-1900s, this depot served as both a transportation hub and a cotton goods warehouse. Today, the Norfolk Southern Corporation’s freight lines continue to pass by the depot. The trail sign is located at the train depot, on the southern end of Bradley Street.
The Textile Industry Comes to Carrollton:
Cotton mills built the New South. Large cotton mills and mill villages, like the ones here, were sites in which many farm families adapted to new industrial settings and denser living conditions. The Mandeville Mills Historic District contains the surviving mill no.1 factory and mill village, with historic mill homes and street layouts that have changed little over the past century. The trail sign is located on Lovvorn Road, in front of the factory’s old smoke stack.
The Road to Industrialism:
Three of the Mandeville Mills’ founders, and early catalysts of change in Carrollton, called this portion of Maple Street home. Textile mill owners played a complex role in the industrializing South. Today, little is known of how the Mandeville Mills’ owners exactly used their positions and resources, and visitors are encouraged to draw their own conclusions. The trail sign at the Maple Street railroad crossing tells this story.
1. The Cotton Farmer: Newnan Street
Carrollton’s late “sculptor-in-residence,” Henry Setter, completed The Cotton Farmer in 1997 with the hope of educating citizens about the region’s agricultural past. In his mid-sixties, Setter carved the cotton bale out of a 3,000-pound block of granite which had to be craned into City Hall Park.
2. Southeastern Quilt & Textile Museum: 306 Bradley Street
Located in the old Carroll Mills warehouse, the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum promotes the preservation of quilting and local textile heritage. Along with rotating exhibits and displays of prizewinning quilts, the museum provides additional quilting programs and classes taught by instructors in their areas of expertise. Visit southeasternquiltmuseum.com for more information.
3. Lawler Hosiery Mill: Bradley Street
The Lawler Hosiery Mill opened on the ground floor of Carroll Mills in 1927. In 1934, operations moved to the historic building you see today. Like other mills on Bradley Street, Lawler made finished products, primarily socks. The passing of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ended Lawler’s operations a year later, but, the historic building continues to serve Carrollton as loft apartments.
4. Carroll Mills: 202 Bradley Street
In 1924, Carroll Mills became the first of many Bradley Street textile operations. Unlike the Mandeville Mills, Carrollton’s first textile factory, Carroll Mills produced finished products such as shoe strings and cotton meat packaging. As diversification of the textile industry grew on Bradley Street, Carroll Mills housed newer operations, like Lawler Hosiery Mill and Caroline Mills, until these enterprises could construct their own buildings
5. Railroad Spur Lines: 455 Bradley Street
You may have noticed short rail lines branching from the main line here at the depot. These shorter rails, called spur lines, were important for textile businesses like the Mandeville Mills. By connecting textile operations to main routes, spur lines allowed mills to receive cotton and ship their products.
6. H.O. Lovvorn Home: 113 East College Street, Bowdon, Ga
Reared in nearby Bowdon, Georgia, Henry Lovvorn served as the Mandeville Mills’ first secretary and treasurer. A successful business man, Lovvorn was also a local civic, political, and industrial leader. He built this elaborate Greek Revival-style home right outside the mill village in 1907.
7. Maple Street School:
The first Maple Street School was constructed on this site in 1917, but was destroyed by fire in 1947. Mill children could not enroll here without paying tuition because the village rested just outside city limits. This fee would have been difficult for mill families to afford. The tuition problem was a reason the mill owners constructed the Westview Grammar School in the mill village around the same time. In 1922, the school board voted to allow mill children into the Maple Street School.
8. BlueWater Ropes: 209 Lovvorn Rd
BlueWater Ropes began as a hobby to supplement the founder’s caving activities. Now an international company, it is one of two operational textile-related mills in Carrollton. The company represents several generations of textile production, reaching back to one of the Mandeville Mill’s founders, Leroy Mandeville.
9. First Home Constructed in Mill Village:
Built in 1900, the home on the corner of Lovvorn Road and Burson Avenue was the site of Carrollton’s first mill house. The house-type is called a “saltbox house” because the pitch of the roof resembles a New England saltbox house when viewed from its side. This particular mill house is common in northern states, and is found in other southern textile towns. Salt-box mill houses migrated to the region with the New England textile industry.
10. Former Mill Church:
Constructed for mill workers around 1900, this building was once called Westview Church. In the early 1900s, the building housed a union church where different denominations would rotate services weekly.
11. Mandeville Mill no. 2 (Water Tower):
In 2006, a fire destroyed the original site of Mandeville Mill no. 2, leaving the old water tower as one of the sole standing structures. Carrollton is still rich with textile related sites, but, this surviving tower continues to remind us of the importance of historic preservation and the memory which may be lost when cultural resources are not managed and protected.
12. 506 Maple Street:
This odd-shaped building tells us about Carrollton’s economy over the past century. Constructed around 1911, the building served as a cotton and guano warehouse, replacing older warehouses at this point along the rail line. In the 1950s, Maryon Hosiery Mill moved here. Now, local businesses occupy it, one of which still deals in textiles.
13. Joseph Aycock House: 408 Maple Street
Joseph Aycock, the first manager of the Mandeville Mills, is a significant figure in the industrialization of Carrollton. Considered by contemporaries as a man of many talents, he is the architect, designer, and engineer of most buildings within the Mandeville Mills Historic District. He also designed many of Carrollton’s other notable buildings and the city’s first modern cotton ginnery. His pyramidal house may not look as impressive as Mandeville’s or Lovvorn’s homes, but it was built roughly 40 years earlier around 1862 and is much larger and ornate than similar pyramidal homes in the mill village.
14. Leroy Mandeville Mansion: 401 Maple Street
Born in Carrollton to New England parents, Leroy Mandeville was very active in several areas of the city’s development around the turn-of-the-twentieth-century. He was a merchant, banker, and served as the Mandeville Mill’s first president. Mandeville was also active in local government and helped bring the 4th District A&M School, now the site of the University of West Georgia, to the city. Around 1900, he built this ornate Queen Anne home, a very popular house-style during the period. It is said to have been the first house in the city to carry running water, electricity, and a telephone line.
Email the Trail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call UWG Center for Public History at 678-839-6141 for more information.