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Descriptive summary

Repository: Special Collections and Archives, Gainesville campus, University of North Georgia

Creator: Gainesville State College, 1964-2013

Title: Chicopee Oral History Project records

Date(s): 1952, 1989, 2001-2006

Quantity: 2 linear feet linear feet

Language(s): English

Historical note

Built in 1927 by the Chicopee Manufacturing Company, the Chicopee Mill and Village were on the cutting edge of technology and a leader in health and safety. The mill, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, produced gauze, cheese cloth and other medical products. The mill itself was designed by J.E. Sirrine and Company and was built by Fiske-Carter Construction Company both from Greenville, South Carolina. Fiske-Carter also built over 200 homes for the mill employees. There were 31 layouts the employees could choose from and the neighborhood was landscaped and planned by E.S. Draper of Charlotte, North Carolina.

The mill complex consisted of a manufacturing building, an oil-burning heating plant and a two story cotton warehouse. The mill was a 954 feet long and 236 feet wide two-story building that contained 40,000 spindles and 1000 looms. After the completion of the mill, the Chicopee Manufacturing Company began to work with local farmers to experiment with cotton crops. Chicopee furnished tools and Acala long staple cotton for the farmers of Hall, Jackson, Barrow and Gwinnett counties to grow. Another of their projects after the mill was open was to being reforesting the woodlands surrounding the mill after using some of the trees to build the mill and village. After World War II, the mill began expanding and modernizing. By 1953, the original mill had grown over 700,000 square feet and a finishing plant was added to the complex. A baby products plant opened in 1966 and in 1967 a second mill for yarn and weaving was finished.

The Chicopee Mill Village featured paved streets with concrete curbing and sidewalks. There was a store building which housed a general store, barber shop, market and drug store. A post office, school, filling station, community center and churches were built to round out the community. The houses all had electricity with the wiring buried underground and indoor plumbing. For the water, a reservoir and filtration plant was built. The community also had its own clinic which was upgraded in 1975. In 1955-1956, the company sold the houses to the employees. The school and gym were donated to Hall County School System in 1956.

During the 1980's Chicopee began donating portions of its land to Hall County to expand the airport, schools, and for the Hall County Training Center for Developmental Disabled Citizens. They also donated 2,700 acres to the Hall County Park Commission. A golf course and a recreational park were added in the mid-1980's.

In 1994 the plant was sold to S.I. Corp., a Tennessee based company which produces fabrics for trampolines and swimming pool coverings.

Scope and contents

The bulk of this collection spans the years 2001-2006. These materials relate to a grant from the Georgia Humanities Council that was used to do oral histories of members of the Chicopee Community. Of note are the cassettes of the interviews and their corresponding transcripts. There are also interviews completed by Gainesville State College students and a tape of the Chicopee forum held September 9, 2003.


The collection is arranged alphabetically by topic or format. The one exception is the cassette tapes of the oral histories. Those are separate from the paper files and have been arranged alphabetically by type of interview/event and then organized by last name of the interviewee.

Administrative information

Cite as: Chicopee Oral History Project records, Special Collections and Archives, Gainesville Campus, University of North Georgia.

Detailed description of the collection

"The Chicopee Community: an Oral History Account," undated

Box 1/Folder 1


Chicopee forum, 2003 September 9

Box 1/Folder 2

Reception, 2003 June 23

Box 1/Folder 3

Workshop, 202 September 13-14

Box 1/Folder 4

Georgia Humanities Council grant

Application, 2002

Box 1/Folder 5

Budgets, 2002

Box 1/Folder 6

Correspondence, 2002

Box 1/Folder 7

Final report, 2003, 2005

Box 1/Folder 8

General information, 2001

Box 1/Folder 9

"Work file," 2002, 2005

Box 1/Folder 10

History of Chicopee Mill, 1989

Box 1/Folder 11

Institutional Review Board proposal, undated

Box 1/Folder 12

Johnson & Johnson, 2001, undated

Box 1/Folder 13

Lorence, James J. files, 2003-2005

Box 1/Folder 14

Name plates, 2003

Box 1/Folder 15

News clippings, 1952, 2002-2006

Box 1/Folder 16

Personal memoirs, 2003

Box 1/Folder 17

Photographs, 1946, undated

Box 1/Folder 18

Student assignments, undated

Box 1/Folder 19


Adams, Maurice, interviewed by Dean Holcomb, 2003 January 30

Box 1/Folder 20

Brown, Raymond, interviewed by Charles Karcher, 2003 February 11

Box 1/Folder 21

Cagle, Clara Mae, interviewed by Jim Lorence, 2003 February 24

Box 1/Folder 22

Clark, Rex, interviewed by Joe Holcomb, 2003 February 24

Box 1/Folder 23

Cromartie, Roy, interviewed by Jim Lorence, 2003 June 18

Box 1/Folder 24

Dunlap, James "Bubba," interviewed by James Lorence, 2003 April 24

Box 1/Folder 25

Holcomb, Joe, interviewed by Jim Lorence, 2003 January 24

Box 1/Folder 26

Ivey, Edgar, interviewed by Jim Lorence, 2003 January 30

Box 1/Folder 27

James, Elizabeth, interviewed by Joe Holcomb, 2004 May 27

Box 1/Folder 28

Jones, Inez, interviewed by Dean Holcomb, 2003 March 7

Box 1/Folder 29

Nix, Ruth, interviewed by Clayton Teem, 2003 March 28

Box 1/Folder 30

Painter, Bobby, interviewed by Charles Karcher, 2003 February 25

Box 1/Folder 31

Propes, Lucille Wilson, interviewed by Joe Holcomb, 2004 May 29

Box 1/Folder 32

Turner, Myrtie, interviewed by unknown, 2003 November 14

Box 1/Folder 33

Weaver, Fleming, interviewed by Jim Lorence, 2003 June 24

Box 1/Folder 34

Wood, Joe T., interviewed by Jim Lorence, 2003 August 19

Box 1/Folder 35

"The Workers of Chicopee: Progressive Paternalism and the Culture of Accommodation in a Modern Mill Village," by Jim Lorence, undated

Box 1/Folder 36

Cassette tapes

Oral histories

Adams, Maurice, 2003 January 30

Box 2/Items 1-2

Brown, Raymond, 2003 September 16

Box 2/Items 3-6

Cagle, Clara Mae, 2003 September 16

Box 2/Items 7-10

Clark, Rex, 2003 February 24

Box 2/Items 11-12

Cromartie, Roy, 2003 June 18

Box 2/Items 13-14

Dunlap, James "Bubba," 2003 April 24

Box 2/Items 15-17

Holcomb, Joe, 2003 January 24

Box 2/Items 18-22

Ivey, Edgar G., 2003 January 30

Box 2/Items 23-27

James, Elizabeth, 2004 May 27

Box 2/Item 28

Jones, Inez, 2003 March 7

Box 2/Items 29-30

Nix, Ruth, 2003 March 28

Box 2/Items 31-32

Painter, Bobby, 2003 February 25

Box 2/Items 33-36

Propes, Lucille Wilson, 2004 May 29

Box 2/Item 37

Weaver, Fleming, 2003 June 24

Box 2/Items 38-39

Wood, Joe T., 2003 August 19

Box 2/Items 40-41

Chicopee Oral History Project reception, 2003 June 23

Box 2/Item 42

Student interviews

Adams, Bob, undated

Box 3/Item 1

Bennett, Ed, 2003 November 13

Box 3/Item 2

Carter, November 24

Box 3/Item 3

Dyer, Rosetta, undated

Box 3/Item 4

Jordan, Rick, undated

Box 3/Item 5

Kennedy, Pat, undated

Box 3/Item 6

Mundy, Ben, 2003 November 11

Box 3/Item 7

Turner, Myrtie, 2003 November 14

Box 3/Item 7

Twedell, Paul, undated

Box 3/Item 9

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