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.
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 Roswell, GA
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.
Roswell Town Square
I repeat my orders that you arrest all people, male and female, connected with those factories, no matter what the clamor, and let them foot it, under guard, to Marietta, whence I will send them by cars to the North … The poor women will make a howl.
The 400 Roswell mill workers (mostly women and children) who were charged with treason were held overnight, under guard, in the Town Square until they could be sent by wagons to Marietta and transported by train to the north. The Town Square is also the setting for President Theodore Roosevelt’s visit to Roswell. The crowds gathered here and he also visited his mother’s childhood home, Bulloch Hall, where he was reminiscent of the stories she had told him as a child.
Heritage Center at Roswell Visitors Bureau
617 Atlanta Street Roswell, GA
The Heritage Center at Roswell Visitors Bureau houses exhibits showcasing the history of the Roswell Mills and Mill Life. Part of the Roswell Visitors Center, the exhibits are open to the public; free of charge.
793 Mimosa Blvd. Roswell, GA 30075 770-552-6339 Website
Operated by the Fulton County School System, the Teaching Museum provides hands-on educational exhibits and arts-based programming that engage students in Humanities, Language Arts, Mathematics, Sciences, and Fine Arts with the goal of improving student achievement. It is located on the grounds of the original Academy for the village of Roswell. (The Teaching Museum is not open to the public for tours.)
Kimball Hall (1896)
881 Mimosa Blvd.
This house was the residence of Sallie Kimball and Mrs. V.L. Williams. Containing six bedrooms, each with a fireplace, the sisters ran it as a boarding house for many years. Visiting ministers were allowed to stay free of charge and in 1919 they donated land for expansion of Roswell United Methodist Church. The house was restored in 1979 and used as a private residence until 1994. (Today, Kimball Hall is an events facility.)
Primrose Cottage (1839)
674 Mimosa Blvd. Roswell, GA
Primrose Cottage was the first permanent home in the Roswell colony, built for the widowed daughter of Roswell King. Mr. King also lived here with his daughter and her children. Each baluster of the beautiful heart-pine fence was hand-turned. In later years, Nap Rucker lived in this home. Known for his knuckle-ball pitch, Nap “Napoleon” Rucker played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and won 135 games in a ten year career. He also served as Mayor of Roswell 1935- 1936. (Today, Primrose Cottage is an events facility.)
1121 Canton Street Roswell, GA
The original part of this home was built as a 4-room clapboard cottage with central fireplace. was built as a home featuring a four room clapboard cottage with a central fireplace. It served as the home of H.W. Proudfootand his family. The home was heavily damaged by Federal troops in the summer of 1864. Mr. Proudfood rebuilt and remained with Roswell Mills, and in this home, until his death in 1871. In the 1930s the property was purchased by Colonel Harrison Broadwell who made many improvements and renamed it Naylor Hall for his wife’s family. (Today, Naylor Hall is an events facility.)
Historic Canton Street
Located at the intersection of Canton Street and Magnolia Street running north to Canton Street and Woodstock Road. This historic uptown area is designated as a Georgia “Great Street” and features a vibrant culinary scene, art galleries and unique shops. Alive in Roswell, the best street party in Metro Atlanta, is held the third Thursday of the month, April – October. (Additional parking is a Roswell City Hall and a Free trolley runs Friday and Saturday evenings.
Roswell Historical Society/ City of Roswell Research Library and Archives
950 Forest Street Roswell, GA
Second floor of the Roswell Cultural Arts Center.
Open Monday & Thursday, 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Roswell Fire Museum
1002 Alpharetta St.
Monday – Sunday
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
The museum closes when station personnel leave to respond to fire or EMS incidents. The museum contains numerous fire-related pictures and historical information that pertain to the Roswell area. There are also artifacts concerning fire history in Atlanta as well as information and static displays illustrating the fire service in general. The main piece of history that occupies the museum is a 1947 Ford American LaFrance Pumper. This is an original piece of firefighting equipment that was used by the City of Roswell.