Chuck's History Lesson: Manchester, GA

By Chuck Leonard  - bio | email | Twitter

MANCHESTER, GA (WTVM) - Just about everywhere you look in Manchester, you see images of trains. The reason for that goes back to the city's creation.

"It got started with the railroad, the AB&A Railroad", says M.B. Guy,  a lifelong resident of Manchester and the city's biggest cheerleader. "The railroad and Callaway Cotton Mill from LaGrange, Georgia. Unfortunately, both of them are gone now. They were in the beginning of Manchester, but not going to be the end of it."

Born in 1920, Guy is only eleven years younger than Manchester itself.  When he mentions the AB&A, he's talking about the Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic Railway, which chose Manchester for its strategic location.

Tracks from Birmingham merged with tracks from Atlanta, and together went south to the Atlantic Ocean.  The line is now operated by CSX.

When it comes to age, Manchester is one of the younger communities in this area. Meriwether County was established in 1827.

Eighty-two years later in 1909, Manchester came along. Getting the railroad was a move encouraged by LaGrange industrialist Fuller Callaway. He built a cotton plant in Manchester, that for more than 50 years was the city's main employer.

It's been gone for decades, but Guy says the Callaway family is still actively involved in helping out. "They're not here in person, operating a business or company or anything, they still have Manchester at heart, and they still contribute to it."

©2010 WTVM. All rights reserved.