A Small Neighborhood with a Big History
Cabbagetown is a neighborhood on the east side of downtown, abutting historic Oakland Cemetery. Built in 1881 it includes the Cabbagetown District, a historic district listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is home to the Fulton Bag Mill, the Mill's factory housing and even to some direct descendants of the factory workers.
The Atlanta Rolling Mill was destroyed after the Battle of Atlanta and on its site the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill began operations in 1881. Cabbagetown was built as the surrounding mill town and one of the first textile processing mills built in the south. Its primary product was cotton bags for packaging agricultural products. The mill was owned and operated by German Jewish immigrant Jacob Elsas.
Elsas built a small community of one and two-story shotgun houses and cottage-style houses surrounding the mill, originally known as Factory Town' or Fulton Mill Village. Like most mill towns, the streets are extremely narrow with short blocks and lots of intersections. At its height, the mill employed 2,600 people.
There are a few explanations as to how the neighborhood received its name.
Local historians trace the name to the early 1900s when poor Scottish and Irish mill workers would grow cabbage in their yards. According to writings of the day, the whole area smelled like cooked cabbage. Yet another story involves a neighborhood baseball team, while Atlanta History Center documents show references to the name Pearl Park, after the daughter of a developer who built houses directly to the east of the mill houses near modern-day Pearl Street. But no one really knows why Cabbagetown is called Cabbagetown.
In 1977 The Fulton Bag Mill closed and, with that, the neighborhood slid into a period of decline. Accompanying the initialization of Atlanta's in-town renaissance in the early 1990s, Cabbagetown underwent tremendous growth. As with many other east side neighborhoods, revitalization was sparked by an influx of artists beginning in the 1980s. Local artists loved the location and unconventional vibe the neighborhood offered.
As Atlanta prepared for the 1996 Olympics, the Fulton Bag Mill was converted into loft-style housing. The mill itself has been renovated into the nation’s largest residential loft community — the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts — which houses everyone from artists and musicians to business professionals. Cabbagetown got a new central park, new shopping opportunities, and a lot of new residents. Today's Cabbagetown is a funky mix of shops, restaurants, housing, and residents. From the large lofts to large farm homes, to its narrow streets and unique mill town shot-gun styled homes, you'll find a little bit of everything here.
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