Telling Stories, Connecting Communities

Tag: Cluett Peabody Co.

Buchanan

This community’s short-lived textile industry provided jobs for many of the county’s citizens.


Visit


Things to Do

  • Buchanan-Haralson Public Library, 145 Van Wert Street: This library hosts a local history room and images that include the region’s textile history.
  • Historic Haralson County Courthouse, 145 Van Wert Street: Located in downtown Buchanan and constructed in 1891, it is one of the oldest working courthouses in Georgia. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
  • Little Creek One Room Schoolhouse, 159 Van Wert Street: In existence since 1871, it is the last one-room schoolhouse left in Haralson County, and one of the few in the state. The building was operational until 1932.

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.

  • Cluett Building, 155 Van Wert Street: While this building houses a business that is not textile-related, the original textile building still stands.

History

Founded as the county seat of Haralson County in 1856 and named in honor of President James Buchanan, the city of Buchanan’s textile heritage began with Cluett, Peabody, and Company. In 1947, Cluett, Peabody and Company opened a shirt manufacturing facility in Buchanan, producing Arrow Shirts. As part of the Southern division of Cluett, Peabody & Co. Inc., the finished goods produced at the Buchanan facility were shipped to the Atlanta plant. The Arrow plant employed many of the citizens of Buchanan and Haralson County until it closed in the early 1990s due to increased foreign competition.

In 1948, Cluett, Peabody and Company produced a documentary titled Enterprise to explain their journey of moving into Buchanan. This documentary explores the town’s building of a textile mill and their experience getting the producer of Arrow shirts to move in.


Charter Trail Members

Resources to Explore

Click on the following links to learn more about this region.


Back to Community List

Email the Trail at wgtht@westga.edu or visit our Contact Us page for more information.

Cedartown

Cedartown, known best for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company that produced tire materials and rubber parade floats, was also home to several yarn and cotton mills.


Visit


Things To Do

  • Cedartown Depot, 609 South Main Street: The depot houses the town’s Welcome Center and also contains a railroad museum. Constructed in 2004, the Cedartown Depot is a replica of the original Seaboard Airline Railway depot that stood at the same location. The depot is also a Silver Comet trailhead. The Welcome Center is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm.
  • Polk County Historical Society Research Library, 205 South College Street: The Society is headquartered in a beautiful building on College Street designed by noted Georgia architect Neel Reid. A grant from the state provided extensive renovations and made the building an ideal site for a museum, and in 1980 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the first structure in Polk County to receive this honor. 
  • Polk County Historical Society Museum, 117 West Avenue: The museum, formerly headquartered in the original Hawkes Children’s Library, has now moved to the old Southcrest Bank building on West Avenue.
  • Silver Comet Trail, 609 South Main Street: The Silver Comet Trail is built on an abandoned rail line, once owned by Seaboard Airline Railroad. This historic rail line has been transformed into a walking/biking trail running through Cobb, Paulding, and Polk counties. Cedartown is right in the middle of of the trail making it a perfect location to see both sides of the trail
  • Cedartown Cotton and Export Co. Mill No. 3 and Mill Village, 591 West Avenue : Mill No. 3 is the last of Cedartown Cotton & Export Co.’s facilities that are still standing. It has since been converted into a flea market. The mill village, located next to the mill, was built during the 1920s. At this time, Charles Adamson began purchasing mail-order “kit homes” for his mill employees to live in. He continued to build homes in Cedartown’s West End.

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.

  • Gildan Inc. Yarn-Spinning Facility, 270 North Park Boulevard: This manufacturing facility produces the yarns used by Gildan Inc. to make t-shirts.
  • Blue Springs Finishing and Dyeing Company, 701 Wissahickon Avenue: This location is private property and is not open to the public.
  • Cedartown Cotton and Export Company Warehouses, 5991 North 2nd Street: These warehouses were used by the Cedartown Cotton and Export company and stand directly next to where Mill No. 1 used to be.
  • Cedar Valley Golf Club, 1811 Buchanan Highway: Built by Charles Adamson, this facility was used to entertain northern textile investors. The Clubhouse is believed to be the original facility.
  • Goodyear Clearwater Mill/Paragon Mill and Mill Village, Goodyear Circle: These homes are private property and are not open to the public. Located at on West Avenue and Adamson St. near 2nd and 3rd Streets, the Goodyear mill village covered a radius of 25 city blocks and included a school that Goodyear maintained. Though the Goodyear mill is gone, the mill village, with homes built by both Charles Adamson and Goodyear, is still there.
  • Josephine Knitting Mills, 701 Wissahickon Avenue: The Josephine Mill is still standing and is now home to the GEO Chemical Corporation. The brick building with the blue doors, next door to GEO Chemical, is the old Noble Paper Mill and the Kuster Box Plant. Most of the housing constructed for workers at Josephine Mills was located along Cedar and Locust Streets to the west and Prior Street to the south.
  • Standard Cotton Mills and Mill Village, 4015 Cedar Hill Street: Although the mill no longer exists, its mill village still stands. These houses were constructed to house the mill workers of Standard Cotton Mills.
  • United States Finishing Company, 701 Wissahickon Avenue: : This location is private property and is not open to the public.
  • Wayside Inn, 500 West Avenue: The Wayside Inn was built by Charles Adamson in 1920 as a 32-room “mill hotel.” This inn offered rooms for travelers and a fine restaurant. Using a kit ordered from the Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan, each piece of the building was individually cut, numbered, and shipped by rail for on-site assembly. The building was demolished in 2021.

History


  • Photo of a woman in the snow in front of the Mill
    Women in the snow. Photo courtesy: Polk County Historical Society

Cedartown was established as part of Polk County in the late 1830s. By the late 1880s, the city saw massive land sales which attracted industrialists like Charles Adamson. Adamson, Cedartown’s first factory owner, purchased land in the city and established a textile mill called the Cedartown Cotton Manufacturing Company in 1894. In 1899, the company expanded by adding Paragon Mills to his company; two years later, he added the Southern Extension Cotton Mill. The Cedartown Cotton and Export Company ran for twenty years producing high-grade hosiery yard. The Cedartown Cotton and Export Company continued to operate its first and third mills into the 1930s.

To house mill employees, Adamson ordered 33 prefabricated mail-order “kit homes” from the Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan,
and had them assembled on site. The mill village included a playground, children’s nursery, and a mission school. Throughout the 1920s, Adamson continued to build new homes in Cedartown’s West End. Charles Adamson was instrumental in the early prosperity and development of Cedartown but unfortunately, due to the advent of rayon wiping out his fortune; Adamson died a pauper in 1931.

Cedartown was also home to several yarn mills including Standard Cotton Mills, Wahneta Knitting Mills, the Josephine Mills, and more recently Gildan Incorporated’s yarn-spinning facility, which is still in operation today. Standard Cotton Mills opened in 1900 and specialized in the manufacturing of high-grade hosiery, underwear, and yarns. Adding 6,000 more mule spindles to the original mill in 1901, the mill continued to slowly expand during the next few years. In 1902, the Standard Cotton Mill built a second mill to manufacture lower-grade cotton into coarser yarns. The addition of this second mill doubled the capacity of the Standard Cotton Mills.

Standard Cotton Mills ceased operation in 1931 and in 1935, it became the facility of the Uxbridge Worsted Company later known as the Bachman Uxbridge Company. In August 1960 Indian Head Mills Inc. purchased the mills, modernized, and expanded them. Unfortunately, profits slumped in 1963 due to increasingly cheaper foreign imports and the two Cedartown mills closed in 1964. Crown Textile Manufacturing then purchased the mills from Indian Head in May of that same year.

Crown did not put the mills into production and sold them to Hale Manufacturing Company, who purchased the mills to manufacture yarn for the carpet industry in Dalton, Georgia. Hale Manufacturing sold the plant to Polymer Corporation, one of its biggest customers, in 1988. Standard Cotton Mills is no longer standing but the smokestack remains as a reminder of the once-thriving cotton textile industry.

The Josephine Mills went into operation making cotton underwear in 1901 and also built homes for its employees. Cedartown Knitting Company consolidated both Wahneta Knitting Mills and Josephine Mills in 1907, in an attempt to bring back Wahneta Knitting Mills from its closure in 1905. The purchase of the Kuster Box Factory by the owners of Cedartown Knitting added to the mill complex. The Kuster Factory made paper boxes used to package the underwear made at the mills. With 126 of the most modern knitting machines, the capacity and output of the mills were about 500 dozen per day of knit underwear for women and children.

Updates to equipment at both mills in 1903 increased the output of the Wahneta Mill to 200 dozen children’s union suits per day. The Josephine Mills output was increased to 750 dozen women’s underwear. A consolidation of the parent company led to the closing of the Cedartown Knitting Company. Used as a Sunday school, day and night school, and a mission home, the Wahneta Mill building continued the benefit the community into 1907.  

In 1916, F. D. Noble, the new owner of the Kuster Box Factory, also purchased the Josephine and Wahneta mills. In the early 1920s, Noble moved his manufacturing operations to Rome, Georgia. In 1923, the United States Dyeing and Finishing Company acquired the Josephine and Wahneta mills and the Blue Spring mill village. The Josephine mill building received an addition while demolition began on the Wahneta mill building. The former Kuster Manufacturing Company paper mill served as the cotton warehouse.

In 1902, the Cherokee Mills opened in Cedartown. Equipped with the best machinery, Cherokee Mills manufactured fine-grade men’s heavy knit underwear. The mill’s president was William Parker who was also general manager of Standard Cotton Mills. Heated by steam and lit by electricity Cherokee Mills was a modern mill for its time.  Sold to Standard Mills in 1922, Cook Duck Mill became the new name of the Cherokee Mills. Utilizing twelve acres of land, the Standard Mills complex was an important industrial enterprise in northern Georgia.

In 1964, Arrow Company, a division of Cluett, Peabody & Co. Inc., opened a mill in Cedartown to make men’s and boy’s shirts. The Cedartown plant was originally designed to produce 4,000-4,200 dozen 100% cotton shirts per week but eventually produced 5,500 dozen shirts per week. The plant was in operation until it closed in 1995 due to slow sales with the rise of the casual dress in the workplace and increased competition from lower-cost overseas textile imports.

By the early twentieth century, cotton mills began manufacturing tire cord and other textile products for the new automobile industry. These operations proved costly, leading owners to sell the mills to national companies. In 1925, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company purchased the former the Paragon mills, its first mill in Georgia, to produce cotton cord and cloth for tires.

The Goodyear Clearwater Mill #1 added two additional buildings to the original mill building and 100 additional homes to the mill village. 288 homes were located in the mill village, providing housing for more than fifty percent of the plant employees.

Production at Goodyear Clearwater Mill #1 continued during World War II and African Americans in particular benefited briefly from wartime labor shortages. Working longer hours and sometimes receiving pay increases, some companies hired African American workers to fill production lines, positions not previously available to them. These jobs disappeared after the war and did not return until after Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Goodyear mill closed in 1983, due to several causes including a decline in demand for tire fabric, increased production of smaller tires, and increased use of steel-belted radial tires. Destroyed by fire three years after closing, the mill complex is no longer standing. The mill village remains with both the original mill homes built by Adamson as well as those built later by Goodyear.

With a history steeped in cotton textile manufacturing, Cedartown still boasts a modern manifestation of the industry. In July 1998, Harriet & Henderson Yarns Inc. broke ground on a new yarn spinning facility in Cedartown. In 24-hour operations by October of 1998, the plant supplied the yarn to sock knitters in the Ft. Payne, Alabama area. In 2003, Frontier Spinning Mills and Gildan Inc., in a joint venture, purchased the two yarn-spinning facilities in Cedartown from Harriet & Henderson Yarns Inc., after the company declared bankruptcy. The facilities began operations as Cedartown Manufacturing LLC., spinning cotton yarn for t-Shirts and tank tops. Modernized and refurbished in October of 2012, when Gildan Inc. purchased 100% of the plant, the plant is still in operation in Cedartown.


Charter Trail Members 

Resources to Explore

Click on the following links to learn more about this region.


Back to Community List

Email the Trail at wgtht@westga.edu or visit our Contact Us page for more information.

Bremen

Several textile companies called this community home, giving it the nickname “Clothing Capital of the South”. 

Known as the “Clothing Center of the South”, the Sewell Company moved operations to Bremen from Atlanta in 1928. Their success encouraged several other textile companies to emerge in this town. While production has since moved to Alabama, the Sewell Company is still very much active within the town of Bremen.


Visit


Things to Do

  • “Stitching the Fabric of Community in the West Georgia Region” Exhibit, 126 Hamilton Avenue: This indoor exhibit shares the textile story of the Sewell Family in the central west Georgia region. This space is located in Sewell Mill Events Facility & Community Center, which is open to the public by appointment only. Please contact Sewell Mill at (404) 492-4336 or sewellmillbremen@gmail.com.
  • Sewell Factory Store, 115 Atlantic Avenue: Buy a suit or check out the apparel produced by The Sewell Companies in the ground level of the Sewell Companies Building, which is home to their clothing store. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday 9:00 am – 4:30 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.

  • Cluett, Peabody & Co. Building, 203 South Buchanan Street: This location is privately owned and is not open to the public. Drive by the “Arrow Plant” on South Buchanan Street. This building was the location of the Cluett, Peabody & Co. building between the late 1920s and 1991. Before Cluett came along this site was home to the first textiles in Bremen as Bremen Looms and later on as Bremen Mills.
  • Hubbard Pants Company and Georgia Converters Inc. Buildings, 119 Hamilton Avenue: This building complex served as home for the Hubbard Pants Company and its manufacturing arm, Georgia Converters Inc. from 1935-2009. In 2017, the City of Bremen purchased this location. Look for the Trail signs across the street at Sewell Mill!
  • The Ray Sewell Company Building, 300 Alabama Avenue: This multi-story brick building on Alabama Avenue served as the headquarters for The Ray Sewell Company from the 1960s through the 1980s. Currently, this location houses the Bremen office of the Georgia Vision Institute.
  • The Sewell Companies Building, 115 Atlantic Avenue: This two-story building was the headquarters and Plant No.1 for Sewell Manufacturing from 1928-2008 and is now the headquarters for The Sewell Companies. Be sure to check out the historic Art Deco sign and clock and look nearby for our interpretive signs nearby!

History


  • Aerial view of Bremen.
    Aerial view of Bremen. Photo courtesy: City of Bremen

In 1928, brothers Robert, Roy, and Warren Sewell moved their growing apparel company from Atlanta to Bremen drawn to the community by to the crossing of two railroads, the intersection of two U.S. highways, and a good supply of labor. Other clothing producers, such as New York-based Cluett, Peabody & Co., Inc., also built apparel plants in Bremen during the late 1920s. Both companies expanded operations several times in the coming decades, building plants in nearby Buchanan, Bowdon, Temple, Douglasville, and Rome, Georgia as well as Heflin, Alabama.

The success of the Sewells spawned numerous other clothing manufacturers in Bremen, including the Hubbard Pants Company (1935), Warren Sewell Clothing Company (1945), The Ray Sewell Company (1955), and the Worley-Sewell Company (1963), among others. During the industry’s peak in the 1970s, some 2,500 Bremen area residents, most of whom were women, worked in the city’s apparel plants.

During the 1980s and 1990s, most of the city’s clothing manufacturers closed due to falling profits caused by foreign competition and the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 (NAFTA). Two of the Sewell family businesses remained — Sewell Manufacturing and the Warren Sewell Clothing Company. In 2008, these companies merged as The Sewell Companies and shifted their headquarters to the “Plant Number One” building, which is part of Sewell Manufacturing Company on Pacific Avenue. Today, The Sewell Clothing Companies produces suits and military uniforms in Heflin, Alabama. These men’s suits, slacks, and sport coats can be purchased at the factory store in Bremen.


Charter Trail Members:

Resources to Explore

Click on the following links to learn more about this region.


Back to Community List

Email the Trail at wgtht@westga.edu or visit our Contact Us page for more information.

Cartersville

This community hosted two textile mills alongside the hand-tufted bedspread industry lining U.S. Highway 41.

The first textile mill in Cartersville, the American Textile Company, was established in 1904, just 54 years after Cartersville became an established community. American Textile Company operated as the only textile mill in Cartersville until the foundation of Pyramid Mills Incorporated in 1920. Along with these two mills, Highway 41, also known as “Bedspread Boulevard”, was lined with women selling hand-tufted goods to tourists traveling through the area.


Visit


Things to Do

  • Bartow History Museum, 4 East Church Street: The Bartow History Museum’s signature exhibit highlights the impact of Goodyear and other textile industries in Cartersville and Bartow County. The museum has an extensive collection of documents and photographs relating to textile industry history. Their hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 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.

  • Shaw Industries Group Incorporated: This location is currently a private business and is not open to the public. Shaw Industries Group Incorporated purchased this tufting mill in 1971. This plant, along with the company’s headquarters in Dalton, became two of the major centers of carpet production in Georgia.
  • ATCO & Goodyear Mill and Mill Village, Clearwater Street: Portions of the old mill can still be seen from the street. The old American Thread Company mill building purchased by Goodyear is now mostly gone. This mill village, located near Mayflower Street at Ohio Street, tells the story of those who worked at the mill and lived here. The mill grounds were meticulously maintained and parks were created for family gatherings. In the 1930s, Goodyear expanded the ATCO mill village and continued to support a community for its employees with scout troops, gardening space, a baseball with grandstands, a tennis court, a swimming pool, and more. The Goodyear baseball field is located across from the Goodyear plant where Hometown hero and professional baseball player Rudy York played when he worked at the mill and played for the Goodyear Mill team.
  • Bedspread Boulevard: Also known as U.S. Highway 41 and Dixie Highway, running through Cartersville and heading up to Dalton was once a place where women sold their chenille in roadside stands. Travel along this highway to look for remnants of that industry from Cartersville north through Dalton.
  • Bartow Textiles, 326 South Erwin Street: Bartow Textiles was built by tufting pioneer B. J. Bandy in 1940. This brick building illustrates the type of factory buildings constructed around the mid-twentieth century to house a growing number of chenille production operations.  
  • EZ Mills, 1 Johnson Street: This brick hosiery mill was constructed in 1921 and originally featured an expansion interior filled with hosiery machines. Eventually acquired by the Sara Lee Corporation in 1991 the mill closed in 1995. This location is now known as Spring City Technology Park.

History


  • Aerial view of Goodyear and Mill Village
    Goodyear and mill village aerial view. Photo courtesy: Bartow History Museum

Established in 1850, in an agricultural region, Cartersville became the seat of Bartow County in 1872. Beginning in the early twentieth century, cotton manufacturing developed in the city and gave way to a thriving carpet manufacturing industry by the mid-twentieth century.

American Textile Company (ATCO) opened the first cotton mill just outside Cartersville in 1904. The company constructed a substantial brick mill building to produce cloth for horse collar pads and an adjacent mill village. After 1917, the Cartersville mill began to manufacture other types of cotton textile products including Duck sheeting, drills, and Osnaburg. Over the next twenty-five years, the horse collar pad business declined as the automobile industry grew and new markets for cloth were found.

In 1929, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company purchased ATCO, expanding the mill and the mill village to include almost 300 new houses. The company thrived, producing tire cord for the booming automobile industry. With company-sponsored baseball teams, a scout troop, a recreational park, garden space, and a mill band, the mill village was an enjoyable community for Goodyear mill employees. During World War II, the Goodyear mill and other southern mills focused on cotton and rayon production for tires and produced special fabrics for duffel bags, cartridge belts, tents, and field packs for the U.S. Armed Forces. In the 1950s, the mill expanded to include two new facilities, a rayon mill and a pre-dip unit where fabrics were pretreated for final finishing. With this expansion, the mill was converted to synthetic textile production, which replaced its cotton production. Goodyear closed the Cartersville plant in 2003. The American Thread Company and Goodyear mill buildings were torn down, and the mill homes are now privately owned.

In 1920, a hosiery mill opened in Cartersville to manufacture knit underwear. Known first as Pyramid Mills Incorporated, then as Cartersville Mills, the mill was purchased by the Haight Brothers in 1940 and renamed E-Z Mills. Manufacturing underwear for children and infants, the mills primarily female workforce operated the knitting machines, which made the popular “union suit,” as well as other types of undergarments. In 1969, E-Z Mills converted to manufacturing men’s and boy’s tee shirts and briefs to fulfill a contract with New York-based Cluett, Peabody & Co. In 1976, Cluett, Peabody & Co., Inc. purchased and expanded the mill and increased employment from 618 to 810 employees and changed the mill’s name to Spring City Knitting in 1988. The Sara Lee Corporation acquired the Spring City Knitting Company in 1991. This mill closed in 1992 due to increased international competition following the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 (NAFTA).

In the early twentieth century, many women in Cartersville and Bartow County were participating in the growing hand-tufted bedspread cottage industry, begun by Catherine Evans Whitener near Dalton around 1900. Women sold their hand-tufted goods along U.S. Highway 41, also known as Old Dixie Highway, Bedspread Boulevard, and later as Peacock Alley, which runs through Cartersville. In the early 1940s, as hand-tufted bedspread production moved from the roadside stands along the Dixie Highway and into factories that produced machine-tufted chenille products, chenille entrepreneurs B.J. Bandy and Dicksie Bradley Bandy opened Bartow Textiles in Cartersville. Bartow Textiles manufactured tufted chenille products such as robes, small rugs, spreads, and draperies.

In 1949, after the death of her father B.J. Bandy, Dicksie Bandy Tillman, and her husband, David Tillman, took over Bartow Textiles. As the chenille business died down in the late 1940s, the company transitioned from yardage machines that were used to produce large swaths of chenille to the broadloom for the production of wall-to-wall carpet. David Tillman at Bartow Textiles was one of the first to experiment with broadloom carpet production. The Tillman’s made the decision to leave the textile business in 1954 because entering into full-scale carpet production would have required heavy investment into refitting old machines and buying new equipment.

Inspired by experimentation with the idea of making broadloom-produced floor carpets, Jack Bandy, B.J. and Dicksie’s youngest son, became an industry leader in carpet production as one of the founding partners of Coronet Carpets. In 1970, Shaw Industries, a company based in Dalton, Georgia, began manufacturing carpet in Cartersville with the acquisition of the Philadelphia Carpet Company. Shaw Industries went on to become one of the world’s largest carpet manufacturers and is still operating in Cartersville today.


Charter Trail Members:

Resources to Explore

Click on the following links to learn more about this region.


Back to Community List

Email the Trail at wgtht@westga.edu or visit our Contact Us page for more information.

css.php