A Historic Undertaking: Canton Mill Lofts

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If you take a look around, Georgia is filled with historic sites in and through out the state preserving pieces of our past. Canton Mill Lofts is no different.

In 1899, the charter for Canton Cotton Mill was granted. The primary investor in the company was Robert Tyre Jones (1849-1937), who contributed $25,000 of the $75,000 needed to start construction. Robert Jones was the owner of the Jones Mercantile Company, one of the largest mercantile companies in the area during the late 19th century. Canton Cotton Mill #1 was constructed in 1900 along the railroad near the Etowah River on the southwest side of Canton. Robert Jones oversaw the mill operations and led the initiative to switch production from cotton sheeting to the more-profitable denim material. The mill became well known in the industry, and with government contracts during World War I and increased efficiency, the company decided to build a second plant. Mill #2 was located northeast of Canton, outside the city limits, along Georgia Highway 5.

Construction for mill #2 began in late 1923 and finished in the summer of 1924. Operations at mill #2 began shortly thereafter with 750 looms and 23,000 spindles. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the mill produced fine denim cloth known for its quality and durability. During the 1940s, the mill projected low-grade cotton tent twill for the government. In 1950, an addition to mill #2 allowed the company to double its manufacturing capacity.

In 1963, the company implemented a massive reorganization and modernization effort which included new automated equipment, the projection of blended synthetic fibers, and the name changing to Canton Textile Mills. During the late 1960s and 1970s production at the mill declined with the demand for cotton fabrics at a low, due to the growing dominance of polyester fabric.

In 1981, the mill closed. Canton Cotton Mill #2 is a significant in the area of architecture as a good example of an early 20th-century textile mill. The main mill building and dye house retain their brick and heavy-timber construction, fenestration, and industrial features. The warehouses retain their brick-an-wood construction and concrete floors. The mill is significant in the area of industry for its role in the development of Canton and the importance of the textile mill in the city’s economy. The mill provided employment for one-third of the population in the area. The mill remained an important manufacturer of cotton fabrics until its closing in 1981.

Today, the Canton Mills have been converted into beautiful marriage of modern and history for many residents in canton. The property management company, Venterra, has continued to preserve as many original elements as possible of this gorgeous building. Our scope for this was much smaller than usual, being that we were only painting the windows. We feel so honored to be apart of preserving something that has been around for almost 100 years.

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