Martha Mill Coming to an End
The iconic landmark in Thomaston is currently being torn. It will take 6-8 months to take down the buildings. The site was also used in the filming of the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. The site is heavily guarded due to safety concerns. It's being described as the "best free show in town" right now. Visitors can watch as the old mill is torn down, but are being asked to not come inside the gates due to safety concerns. Roughly 1 million square feet of building space is being torn down.
By Matt Sharpe
Almost 90 years since it was built, a Thomaston landmark and a building that is a major component of making what Thomaston is today, is coming down.
Demolition of the Martha Mill is underway in Silvertown, and in roughly six to eight months, the area will be almost unrecognizable as one of Thomaston’s oldest mills will be no more.
Demo of the mill began just over two weeks ago and since then several portions of the mill have already been torn down.
The mill sits on 30 acres in Thomaston. Nearly one million square feet of space will be demoed by the Blakeney Company located out of Tuskaloosa, Ala.
When it was built, it became the fourth plant for Thomaston Cotton Mills. At that time, it had 700 employees operating 30,240 spindles which consumed 20,000 bales of cotton annually.
According to information from “A Worthwhile Dream” by Heidi H. Hightower, in 1926 B.F. Goodrich and Fisk Rubber Companies were looking for a connection with one textile mill to be their supplier of tire cord. Company officials traveled through seven different counties in Georgia and decided on Thomaston. The rubber companies agreed to a contract with Thomaston Cotton Mill. The tire companies credited their decision on the reputation and successful history of the Georgia mill. Thomaston Cotton Mills was contracted to produce an amount of tire cord valued at $100 million.
At that time the contract was considered the “greatest textile deal in world’s history” and made Georgia the producer of 60 percent of the country’s tire fabric and 50 percent of all used”.
A charter was granted on Oct. 2, 1926 with a venture capital of $2,105,000. The mill began production of high quality tire cord began in January of 1927. It officially closed its doors roughy 80 years later.
When the mill was built it was considered “the most modern and economical in the world”.
The building was built for $3 million and the contract contained an option which would allow B.F. Goodrich to buy out the Hightower interests at any time.
The mill was so prosperous in its first two years of operation that B.F. Goodrich exercised their purchase option. On Dec. 28, 1929 Martha Mills was purchased by B.F. Goodrich and immediately tripled the size of the plant and increased the capital to $7 million and increased the number of spindles to roughly 80,6000 spindles.
The building was named Martha Mills after Mattie Lou Hightower, wife of Robert E. Hightower. When B.F. Goodrich bought out the Hightower interest it was agreed the mills would carry the same name. Martha Mills would become a division of B.F. Goodrich and the tire company’s largest cord mill.
Tire cord was not the only product shipped out of Martha Mills. Seeing how it was located in the center of a 750 acre peach orchard that contained over 10,000 peach trees, between 35 and 40 freight car loads of “Goodrich Peaches” were shipped annually, to the northern market before the orchard was used to build company housing.
The company has obtained demolition permits from the City of Thomaston. The area is being broken up into 10-11 different sections for the demolition. Each section has its own demolition permit. Once it’s all said and done, nothing will remain, except the office building at the corner of Goodrich Avenue and 6th Avenue.
The mill has also been used as several small independent movies in recent years. It hit a high note in the film industry two years ago when it was used as a set for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1”.
This is not the first time that a company has been contracted to demo the building. And unfortunately, for the company tearing the building now, they made it a tougher job. When previous companies were brought in to tear down the building, they came in and stripped the building of whatever materials they wanted. In doing so, pipes were cut by those companies and asbestos was spread all throughout the mill. Because of that reason, an environmental specialist, Tommy Read, and full crew to handle the asbestos, has been brought in to assist with the demo.
While the building was stripped of certain material in previous demos, there is still a lot of metal, aluminum, and steel that will be recycled. There amounts of wood, include wood beams, heart pine, and Canadian maple wood are being sold. Bricks from the building are also being sold. Roughly 10,000 bricks are being looked at by the City of Thomaston, to use with its ongoing sidewalk project in the downtown area.
Because of the falling brick, safety is the number one in the area. Project Manager Lynn Lawley welcomes anyone who would like to watch the mill being torn down to come out and watch. It’s being described as “the best free show in town”. But those who come to watch are being asked to not enter the gate. The property is being guarded around the clock and security cameras are stationed around the area to help prevent anyone from stealing anything from the site.
Lawley said that items from the mill are being sold and anyone wanting to purchase anything from the mill can do so by calling him at 205-826-5010. Serious inquires only.
Facts about Silvertown from “Upson County: A Pictorial History”:
The community of Silvertown was incorporated in 1931 by B.F. Goodrich. The name is derived from English S.W. Silver Company, which in 1904 developed a new tire, the Silvertown Cord, made with rubber impregnated cotton cords. By 1937 Thomaston’s Silvertown Village house 850 families. Two churches were built, a 1,500 seat athletic field, water filtration plant, shopping center, and three schools.
By the late 1950’s, seeing how vehicles were becoming more common, people started moving out from Silvertown, so B.F. Goodrich dissolved the Silvertown charter in 1957. They sold the housed to the employees for $1,000 per room and donated the streets, sidewalks and utilities to the City of Thomaston. The churches were given to the congregations and the schools were given to the Thomaston Board of Education.
Junior Deputy Program Sends
2014 Top Ten Corporate Taxpayers For City Property Taxes
2014 Top Ten Corporate Taxpayers for Upson County Property Taxes
The City of Thomaston has several businesses and industries that contribute heavily to the tax levy. Here is a look at the top 10 corporate taxpayers for City of Thomaston taxes. According to Upson County Tax Commissioner Berry Cook, the figures listed have been calculated using a total levy of $1,871,903 for Thomaston and Thomaston Joint Projects.
The following figures are just what Thomaston collects. It does not include what is paid in school taxes or state taxes.
Name City Bill Amount % City Levy
West Ga. Generating Co. $287,607 15.37%
Wal-Mart $61,598 3.30%
Home Depot $33,846 1.81%
Standard Textiles $31,571 1.69%
North Creek Shopping Center $28,232 1.51%
SouthCrest Bank $22,776 1.22%
Ingles Market $17,456 0.93%
1888 Mills $16,172 0.87%
Georgia Windstream $13,465 0.72%
Charter Communication $11,548 0.62%
Upson County has several businesses and industries that contribute heavily to the tax levy. Here is a look at the top 10 corporate taxpayers for Upson County Property taxes. According to Upson County Tax Commissioner Berry Cook, the figures listed have been calculated using a total levy of $9,578,791 for unincorporated and incorporated county taxes, unincorporated county services and county joint projects.
The following figures are just what Upson County Collects. It does not include what is paid in school taxes or state taxes.
Name County Bill Amount %County Levy
Quad Graphics, Inc. $495,546 5.17%
West Ga. Generating Plant $365,835 3.82%
Georgia Power Co. $187,042 1.95%
Southern Natural Gas $178,090 1.86%
Solo - Innoware (Dart) $114,930 1.20%
Southern Mills $105,653 1.11%
Wal-Mart $78,352 0.82%
Interfor US Inc. $61,909 0.65%
Upson County EMC $58,765 0.62%
Georgia Windstream $51,466 0.54%
On Monday Feb. 2 a search warrant was executed by the narcotics task force which includes Thomaston Police Department, Upson County Sheriff's office, Taylor County Sheriff’s office and Meriwether county sheriff’s office, for the property of 109 Herbert Street. During the search Agent recovered Marijuana while on the property and Justin Moss, of Thomaston was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.