The textile industry powered the economic development of west and northwest Georgia in the 19th and 20th centuries. Several water-powered mills emerged in the antebellum period, but the late 19th century brought more growth as new technology allowed entrepreneurs to build cotton mills in towns and cities. The industry diversified in the 1920s, when hosiery mills moved to the region, and local businessmen established the apparel industry around Bremen. At the same time, a handicraft chenille business evolved in northwest Georgia, leading to the thriving carpet industry still centered in Dalton. Although many of the mills and plants have closed, the landscape of this region displays the strong presence of the textile industry. The West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail, a heritage tourism initiative extending from Columbus to Dalton, explores the rich history of these communities and the people who lived and worked in them.
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