Whitfield House in Chicopee Village
Personal Photograph: Photographer Eddie Whitfield
This is a picture of my grandparents house in Chicopee village, located in Gainesville, Georgia. As the textile industry grew, so did the small town of Gainesville, Georgia. Chicopee Mills, also known as the Johnson and Johnson Inc. building, was opened in June 1927 and became known as the “world’s largest one story building dedicated to manufacturing purposes.” For employees working in the mill it was a drastic change, considering that most people were used to working on farms. The village consisted of 250 brick homes of 31 different designs that could accommodate 1500 people in the families of 500 workers. It became its own little community with two churches, shops, a school, underground utilities, indoor plumbing, street lights, connecting lawns and grass, paved sidewalks, a community house, and a swimming pool. This place became know as the most beautiful “model mill village.” Chicopee Mills is also the place of the first local labor strike, it occurred in 1935 and 750 workers walked out after the company fired 11 men following their attack on the “clock man.” The strike only lasted about a month. This place is very special to me because this is where my grandparents live. My grandfather worked in the mill from the day it opened until he retired in the 1960’s. My grandparents have lived here since 1927 after they moved from their farms in Banks County and were married 63 years until my grandfather passed away in 2003. I am proud to say that they are a part of Georgia history.
Norton Jr., William L. 2001. Historic Gainesville and Hall County. San Antonio:Lammert Publications Inc..
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