Adaptive Use on the Beltline through these three sites explores the growth and decline of Atlanta’s industry and commerce during the 19th and 20th centuries. It also explores, how in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, there was a movement within Atlanta to start preserving some of its industrial and commercial patrimony. Each site reveals a different story of the relationships between labor and owners, industry and its surrounding community, and ideas of how to adapt industrial sites for post-industrial uses.
The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills gives us an excellent opportunity to examine relationships between labor and owners, as well as how these industrial plants were interwoven into their communities. The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill was opened in 1881 on what was then the outskirts of the city of Atlanta. Easy access to rail lines and water were an ideal location for this site. In addition, the land nearby was available to be developed into a mill village. The connection between Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill and the community of Cabbagetown is vital to understanding the impact of this industrial plant. The development of the Cotton Mill and the relationship between labor and owners is especially important in understanding this site. Throughout the early 20th century workers struck multiple times with a yearlong strike from May 1914 to May 1915, as well as participation in a national strike in 1934. While the labor unrest quieted down later in the 20th century the Cotton Mill had to deal with changes in the textile industry, with a migration of textile plants from the Southern United States to various overseas locations. The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill ceased operations in 1981 and by the mid-1980s the buildings were derelict shells. Various ideas of what the complex could become were floated in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Finally in 1997, Aderhold Properties began to redevelop the mill into loft style apartments. In exploring this site we can see how industry can shape a community and help to create identity within it. We can also explore what happens to a community when the plant shuts down, as well as look at how historical revitalization can shape and change communities.
Ponce City Market, or as it was initially known, the Sears and Roebuck Distribution Center, is not a site of industrial production, but a site that was used for the distribution of manufactured goods. This site's initial purpose allows us to explore the importance of ancillary industrial sites to manufacturing economy. The reason for the location of this building is its proximity to the railroad, its location right on the Beltline allowed easy transportation of goods to and from the Sears and Roebuck Distribution Center. The Sears Company utilized the site until 1987 when it finally shuttered. Increasing suburbanization, and white flight from the city led to a massive downturn in the profitability of the site. In 1990 the city purchased the site with the intent to turn the massive building into office space. The building proved too large, and the refurbishment too costly. In 2010 Jamestown property acquired the building and began a multi-year redevelopment of the Sears Building, into a mixed use space, Ponce City Market. This site reflects the shift where Americans chose to live in the 20th century and how it affected the businesses located in the inner city, as well as a trend towards urban living that has shifted how industrial spaces within cities are perceived.
The Goat Farm demonstrates the processes of deindustrialization and artist led regeneration. This property on the west side of Atlanta, off of Huff Road, had its origin as industrial plant built on the economic dreams of the New South. The E. Van Winkle Gin and Machine Works, began its life producing cotton gins and equipment related to the extraction of oil from cotton seeds. The plant was acquired by the Murray Company of Texas, in 1912, and continued to grow until the 1930s. After a short period as a munitions factory in World War II, the plant began to become less desirable as an industrial property. This was in part due to the age of the buildings and the changing nature of the transport infrastructure. The property changed hands several times until it was purchased by Richard Haywood in 1972. Initially, the property was used to support several small industrial businesses such as Haywood's sheet metal company. Over the 1970s and 1980s more of Haywood’s tenants became artists and the site transitioned into an artist colony. In 2010 the property was sold to developers, who chose to continue to develop the property as an arts community. This site's shift from New South industrial plant, to a derelict industrial site and lastly to an arts community illustrates the reasons why industrial sites become less desirable for industry, and the ways in which artists often lead adaptive use projects, as post-industrial spaces often are large and affordable studio areas. What is unique about the Goat Farm’s journey through redevelopment is that the artist community has become just as key to the property’s cachet as it turn of the century industrial bulidings