“Life with the Mills: The Canton Cotton Mills” is the latest temporary exhibit launched by the Cherokee County Historical Society at the museum in the Historic White Marble Courthouse in downtown Canton.
The Canton Cotton Mills were started in 1900 and operated until 1981, serving as a main industry and employer in Canton for several generations.
The exhibit is open and will run through Sept. 14. It features photographs, documents and artifacts from the Society’s collection, including the original steam-powered mill whistle and gauge.
After the arrival of the railroad in 1879, Canton grew by leaps and bounds with new industries and citizens. Canton took advantage of this growth and a subscription was started by several citizens to raise $100,000 to build a cotton mill, according to information provided by the Historical Society.
R.T. Jones, founder of the Jones Mercantile, put up the first $25,000 and other citizens including William Galt, George and W.A. Teasley, Benjamin F. Perry and Thomas Hutcherson put up at least $1,000 each. By January 1900, construction had begun on the building located on the Etowah River on Railroad Street. The new cotton mill began to make denim cloth, using more than 40 bales of cotton per day.
In 1923, the Canton Cotton Mill expanded to two mills, with the second mill being built on Highway 5. This new mill was larger at almost 600 feet long and three stories tall.
In August of that same year, the Cherokee Advance newspaper, forerunner of the Cherokee Tribune, advertised the need for more than 600 new employees for the new mill. The second mill became operational in June 1924.
The exhibit is on display in Suite 140, 100 North St., in Canton, and is free and open to the public.
The operating hours are Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, contact Stefanie Joyner at (770) 345-3288 or visit www.rockbarn.org.