Explore the many mills and historic resources remaining in this Southern hub of the cotton textile industry!
LaGrange and Troup County have been hubs of textile manufacturing for nearly 180 years. Businessmen from neighboring Meriwether County opened Troup Factory in 1847. It survived the Civil War and operated on Flat Shoals Creek before LaGrange businessman L.M. Park relocated it to LaGrange in 1902. Park’s mill joined three existing cotton mills: Dixie Cotton Mills, Unity Cotton Mills, and LaGrange Mills. These mills were led by an active and progressive group of businessmen. The Callaway, Truitt, and Dunson families in particular had lasting impacts on LaGrange’s textile scene. Fuller Callaway’s sons, in partnership with the Truitt family, founded Callaway Mills in 1932. Callaway Mills provided jobs for thousands of LaGrange’s citizens through the Great Depression and World War II before Fuller Callaway Jr. sold to Deering-Milliken Co. in 1968. Today, Milliken & Co. and a handful of smaller operations carry on the legacy of a slightly diminished yet still strong textile industry in LaGrange.
Things to Do
- Callaway Monument, Cypress Street: This clock tower was erected in 1929, after Fuller E. Callaway Sr.’s death the year before, and is the highest point in southwest LaGrange. The monument, fashioned after the Campanile (bell tower) of San Marco Basilica in Venice, Italy, was designed by Ivy and Crook. The surrounding grounds were designed by Earle Sumner Draper.
- Hills & Dales Estate, 1916 Hills and Dales Drive: Visit this significant historical home of the Callaway family, see the exhibits, and visit the ornamental gardens the family developed. From March to June, the estate is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm. From July to February, the estate is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
- Legacy Museum on Main, 136 Main Street: This museum focuses on the history of LaGrange and Troup County and includes the region’s textile story in its permanent exhibit. The museum’s permanent collection also includes the original 1929 Seth Thomas Clockworks from Callaway Monument, one of the red light beacons from atop the monument, and a reproduction of Fuller Callaway’s office including original furnishings, photographs of Troup Factory, a panel about Sarah Mabry, a display of local textile heritage including maps to locate all LaGrange’s associated factories in the region. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and the first and third Saturday of each month 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
- Troup County Archives, 136 Main Street: Located above the Legacy Museum on Main, the Troup County Archives boasts a wide array of archival material related to the textile industry in the region. These archives are open to the public Monday through Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and the first and third Saturday of each month 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
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.
- Callaway Auditorium, 405 Forrest Place: This auditorium is home to the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, a non-profit organization.
- Dixie Cotton Mills/West Point-Pepperell Dixie Division, 701 Greenville Street: Founded in 1895, this mill eventually found its way into the hands of the Dunson family. Due to economic troubles, this mill ceased operations in 2004. As of 2020, it is being renovated.
- Dunson Mills/West Point-Pepperell Dunson Division and Mill Village, Fulton Street: Dunson Mills is no longer in operation after the collapse of West Point-Stevens. However, the historic plant still stands, it is currently being used as a warehouse. The mill can be most easily found by going to 1 Thornton Street, which takes the visitor to the backside of the mill. This provides a good view of cotton warehouses and the rear of the mill. The front of the mill can be viewed from Fulton Street. Many of the homes to the north, west, and south are part of Dunson Mills’ mill village.
- Elm City Cotton Mills/ Milliken & Co. Elm City Plant, 1005 Elm Street: This historic mill is no longer active, but is still standing and can be viewed from the street. The neighborhood between the mill and Callaway Memorial Tower forms the Elm City Cotton Mills mill village.
- Hillside Cotton Mills/Hillside Plant and Mill Village, 1300 Brownwood Avenue: Hillside served as the parent plant to the Valway, Rockweave, and Valley Waste plants. A portion of this mill, the Valway Plant, is still active. The structure as a whole can be viewed from various points on Brownwood Avenue, Lincoln Street, and 4th Avenue. Many restored craftsman-style Hillside Mill Village homes can be seen along Lincoln Street; many of the homes in the Hillside community were originally built to house mill workers.
- LaGrange Mills/LaGrange Calumet Mill and Mill Village, 200 LaFayette Parkway: While the mill has been demolished, the mill village still stands. The village is centered on Calumet Park and can be viewed at McGee, Addie, Baugh, Ware, Vine, and Gardner streets.
- The Dunson School, 11 Barnard Avenue: This school was established by Dunson Mills, but has since been converted into senior apartments.
- Truitt-Mansour Home and Sunny Gables: Architect P. Thornton Marye designed two homes, both of which can be viewed from Broad Street. The first, the Truitt-Mansour Home at 304 Broad Street, was built by textile magnate Cornelius V. Truitt in 1914. The second, “Sunny Gables” at 910 Broad Street, was built in 1926 by Mary B. Nix with inherited textile money from her uncle John M. Barnard, another textile magnate in LaGrange.
- Unity Cotton Mills No. 1/Kex Plant, 815 Leeman Street: The site is no longer active but still stands.
- Unity Cotton Mills No. 2/ Oakleaf Plant, 1402 Austin Street: The plant is no longer active but can be viewed from the street. As of 2020, demolition has begun on the historic cotton warehouses on the southern end of the mill.
- Valley Waste Mills and Mill Village: The neighborhood centered between Ellis and Boatwright Streets housed the African American employees of Valley Waste Mills, a part of the Hillside Mill complex, during the segregation period. These employees were kept on retainer as construction crews for various projects around the mill or given menial tasks. They were not allowed to work the higher-paying jobs that their white counterparts enjoyed. Visitors should notice how much further away the African American employees’ homes were from the mills than those of their white counterparts.
Explore this community’s history via the drop-down sections below!
Charter Trail Members
Resources to Explore
Click on the following links to learn more about this region.
- Facts for Kids
- Digital Library of Georgia
- Georgia Archives Virtual Vault
- Georgia Historical Society
- New Georgia Encyclopedia
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