Lagrange Mills

Built in 1888, and located on land lots 108 and 109 of the 6th district. The LaGrange Oil and Manufacturing Company was chartered on August 6, 1883, and its incorporators numbered most of the business and professional men of the little town of LaGrange: L. J. Render, A. N. Davenport, J. M. Barnard, J. G. Truitt, J. P. Thornton, H. C. Butler, W. O. Tuggle, S. P. Smith, F. M. Longley, M. L. Fleming, J. C. Forbes, T. J. Harwell, H. H. Cary, E. D. Williams, G. A. Speer, Henry Banks, W. V. Gray, A. R. Phillips, T. H. Whitaker, Louis Mayer, J. G. Whitfield, E. R. Bradfield, I. F. Cox, J. R. Broome, James Ellis, T. S. Bradfield, A. P. Jones, Enoch Callaway, J. T. Perry, J. W. Harrison, F. M. Ridley, W. C. Yancey, and T. C. Crenshaw. This plant was erected for the extraction of cotton seed oil, but also operated a large public ginnery. In 1888, the charter was amended so as to include the manufacture of cotton textiles in addition to the oil plant, and the name was changed to LaGrange Mills. The building of the cotton mill plant was a great event in Troup County; the first giant Corliss engine, the curious machines for cotton manipulation, the first electric dynamo for the lighting of the mill, the monumental smokestack, were a succession of marvels to the curious bystanders of that day. In March of 1890, the charter was again amended so as to permit the LaGrange Mills to construct electric pole lines in the city and to furnish current for the same. There immediately followed the construction of an arc circuit for lighting the city streets, to which was added an incandescent circuit of direct current for the benefit of mercantile establishments. These lines were extended to furnish lights for the Southern and the LaGrange Female colleges in the same year. The use of meters was unknown and the rate was a flat fifty cents per month for each sixteen candle power light. Lighting for residences was not yet accomplished. The prosperity of LaGrange Mills induced the Consolidated Cotton Duck Corporation to make the stockholders a very tempting offer, which was accepted on November 28, 1905. In 1913, this corporation in turn sold to Lockwood, Green and Company of Boston, who changed the name to International Cotton Mills, LaGrange Mills Division, the corporate name shared by Canadian, New England and the southern plants owned by them. In the regrouping of the above-named plants, the name was again changed to the New England Southern Mills, LaGrange Mills Division. The financial collapse of the owners and the pressure from the creditor banks of Boston and New York forced the sale of their southern properties, and again LaGrange Mills became the property of local stockholders, and was renamed LaGrange Calumet Mills, and in the year 1932 became a unit of the Callaway Mills in the consolidation of the various corporations under that name. But in the minds, thoughts and speech of the old employees, it is named “The Old Mill.” The names of John M. Barnard, manager; George W. Murphy, superintendent; George Mitchell, electrician, will always be associated with the success in the operation of this mill. Among the superintendents of this plant under the various owners are noted the following names: George W. Murphy, William Reid, John Turnipseed, Eugene Stevens, W. H. Dickinson, John A. Baugh, afterwards manager; Forest B. Gardner, and B. W. Robinson.

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