Opening   Railroad Line   Canton Cotton Mill   Busy Downtown   Growth and change


R.T. Jones, a man of mythical proportion to Canton, is credited with the town's emergence as one of the economic centers of North Georgia. In 1899 Jones opened the Canton Cotton Mill, producing finished cotton products for a range of clothing retailers. As the mill grew, drawing on it's location on a new rail line connecting Canton to Atlanta and all the major U.S. markets, the mill literally reshaped the town. Following the precedent of the mining industry, which had established itself in Cherokee County from its earliest days, Jones built neighborhoods of homes for his workers to rent. He had schools built for their children, and a church constructed for their religious needs. He even arranged a mass transit for their daily commutes. A second mill was built circa 1920 to meet increasing demand from the primary buyer of Canton cotton, the Levi-Strauss Company. In 1934 a major nation-wide textile workers strike occurred, but the Canton Cotton Mill was one of only a handful that was not forced to shut down its operations, owing a great deal to the way its workers had been treated by its owners.


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