Roswell is full of history from our beginning as a mill town and the families that created the community around it. Learn about Roswell King, the namesake of the city, the mill workers who supported the factory, the houses that once housed prominent families and more at these locations.
*Please note that not every location is open to the public as mentioned below.
Roswell Mills and Old Mill Park
95 Mill View Ave.
One of the most beautiful areas in Roswell is the Old Mill Trail along Vickery Creek. Here, ruins of the Roswell Manufacturing Company mills are found. Constructed in the 1800s, these mills were among the most successful in Georgia and a leading provider of goods to the Confederacy during the Civil War. A 30-foot dam and millrace were constructed to supply power to run the mills.
1853 Machine Shop
85 Mill St.
The Machine Shop is a two-story, late Georgian style structure and is the only existing building of the 1839 Roswell Manufacturing Company. In 1840 Georgia ranked 3rd in the nation in cotton cloth production. One of the largest mills operating in the state at that time was the Roswell Manufacturing Company. Water would power the mills and empower the economy of Georgia. During the Civil War, the mills were burned by Union troops and 400 women and children were arrested, charged with treason, and sent north to uncertain fates. The interpretive trail to the left of the Machine Shop will allow you to view the old mill ruins and the waterfall created by the dam. (Today the Machine Shop is an events facility)
Covered Pedestrian Bridge
95 Mill View Ave.
To the right of the Old Machine Shop is the Vickery Creek Covered Pedestrian Bridge, located in Old Mill Park. It’s a foot bridge that crosses Vickery Creek and connects Roswell’s Historic District with the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Built in 2005, it is the newest covered bridge in Georgia, spanning 161 feet and built from Douglas Fir trees.
Lost Mill Workers of Roswell
Sloan Street Park
75 Sloan Street
Theophile Roche, a French citizen, had been employed by the cotton mills and later the woolen mill. In an attempt to save the mills, he flew a French flag in hopes of claiming neutrality. However, the letters CSA (Confederate States of America) were found on cloth being produced. For two days the mill was spared, but on July 7, after it was proven that the claim of being neutral was false, General Sherman ordered everyone connected with the mill to be charged with treason and the nearby cotton mill was also destroyed.
Mill workers, mostly women and children since the men were fighting the war, were arrested, charged with treason and sent north to uncertain fates. One of the women involved in this tragedy was pregnant and working as a seamstress at the mill. She was sent north to Chicago and left to fend for herself. It would take five years before she and her daughter would return, on foot, to Roswell, only to find that her husband had remarried because he thought she was dead. A monument, dedicated to the 400 women and children, is located in the park on Sloan Street.
The Bricks (1840)
Intersection of Sloan Street and Mill Street
Owned by the Roswell Manufacturing Company and among the first apartments built in the U.S. They consisted of 10 apartments which were rented to mill workers. Downstairs was a combined kitchen/living area then narrow, steep steps led to one upstairs bedroom. Basically two rooms for the family. (These are now private residences and businesses.)
Great Oaks (1842)
786 Mimosa Blvd.
Originally, the home of Reverend Pratt ( minister of the Presbyterian Church). The structure was to be of timber that had been brought from Augusta. However, the timber was destroyed by fire. Choosing not to wait for the length of time it would take for new timber to season, the decision was made to have bricks hand-molded from the clay soil that was abundant in the area and fired by a kiln built on site.
During the war the Pratts did not leave Roswell, even though the house was occupied as a Union officers’ headquarters. In the Reverend’s attempt to save his fine china and silver, and desiring not to lie about the whereabouts of them, the fine possessions were taken to the third floor where flooring near the eaves on each side of the house was removed and the objects safely hidden. The Reverend Pratt prayed over the ceremony and named one side Augusta and the other Macon. When troops demanded to know where the silver was, the Pratts and their servants could truthfully say it was in Augusta and Macon. Apparently, the eaves on the third floor were never searched and the possessions survived. (Today, Great Oaks is an events facility)
Roswell Presbyterian Church – Historic Sanctuary (1840)
755 Mimosa Blvd.
This church was built in 1840 and is the oldest public building in Roswell. The short, square bell tower holds an iron ship bell that was cast in Philadelphia in 1827. It was presented to the church by members of the Independent Church of Savannah. The bell rang to call parishioners to services, to let the servants know when to bring the carriages around after the service was over, and for funerals.
During the Civil War, the church was used as a hospital for convalescing Union soldiers. Fannie Whitmire (a mill worker and church member) hid the communion silver. Her mother decided the safest place in their house was in a basket of quilt scraps. It was safely returned to the church after the war.
Faces of War Memorial
38 Hill Street
The Roswell Vietnam War Monument is fourteen feet in height and twenty feet across, highlighted by Georgia marble cap stones and old colonial bricks. The plaza and walkways contain hundreds of memorial bricks purchased by supporters of the project. Fifty faces, cast in bronze, depict an array of emotions, including fear, grief, and courage. They represent American serviceman and women, medical personnel, and Vietnamese civilians. One figure in the sculpture is that of a soldier reaching out to clasp the hand of a little girl. A sheer waterfall cascades over the backdrop faces. Viewers will be able to see a reflection of their own faces and at that instant become a part of the memorial. As you visit the Memorial, remember those who served to protect the sovereignty of our country, not only in the Vietnam War but in all wars, and their families.