This week’s #MarkerMonday highlights the Silvertown Historic Mill Village in Upson County, the newest Georgia Historical Marker. In 1926, the B.F. Goodrich Rubber Company made a deal with Thomaston Cotton Mills to fund a new mill, Martha’s Mill, to produce tire fabric. Martha’s Mill was equipped with 35,000 spindles and would make Georgia the producer of 50 percent of the tire fabric used around the world. The new mill would also bring 2,000 new jobs to Thomaston, but the people needed to fill these positions would require a place to live.
Prior to the establishment of Silvertown in Upson County, the B.F. Goodrich Rubber Company advertised Silvertown tires as a “name that instantly conveys the thought of the highest known quality.” In 1929, the company began construction of a “world model” of textile villages and named it after the popular Silvertown tire. Mill villages were needed to incentivize farmers to leave their homes and move into industrial jobs in larger towns. Mill villages became popular in the South in the early 20th century as workers transitioned to industrialized employment. Unlike other, cookie-cutter style mill villages, Silvertown was designed to feel like an upscale suburban development. Over seven hundred cottages, schools, churches, store buildings, a theater, new roads, and green spaces, were built for the new residents and factory workers.
Martha’s Mill in Silvertown was instrumental in the war effort during World War II. The mill’s cotton and rayon cords were used for tires—including tank tires, life rafts, fire hoses, conveyer belts, and barrage balloons. After the war, the B.F. Goodrich company began transferring ownership of the buildings and infrastructure to the residents and City of Silvertown by sale or deed transfer. In 1958, the citizens of Silvertown voted to repeal their city’s charter and become part of the City of Thomaston.
Explore the links below to learn more:
Thomaston, Georgia – History
West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail – Thomaston
Teaching American History in South Carolina – Memories of a Mill Town