Eagle & Phenix remembered as industry power player

The historic Eagle & Phenix Mill's story began over 100 years ago, when William H. Young, a New York Businessman set his sights on the Chattahoochee Valley

"He saw Columbus. He saw the river. Columbus is a fall-line city meaning that the river ends once it hits here," Columbus Museum curator Rebecca Bush said.

What better place to build a textile mill than on a river. In an exhibit at the Columbus Museum, we learned that in 1850, Young opened the Eagle Mill in downtown Columbus. The mill quickly became a gold mine and provided hundreds of jobs to people in the community.

"It was actually used by the Confederate Army as one of the primary suppliers of military uniforms churning out 2,000 yards of wool a month," Bush said

With the Iron Works and other Textile mills throughout the city, Columbus would grow over the years to become a major power-house in producing wool, yarn, and denim.

"All of this made Columbus the second largest Confederate industrial center second only to Richmond, Virginia," Bush said.

But this soon all came to a screeching halt. In April of 1965 during the battle of Columbus, the Union Army burned a number of important structures and mills. The Eagle was one of them. The mill was destroyed and the textile industry tanked.

But it wouldn't be for long, just two years later organizers worked to rebuild the mill making it more vibrant and viable than ever before only this time they added a new name.

"It was named the Eagle & Phenix Mill, the Phoenix in this case symbolizes the mythical bird that rises from the ashes to be reborn," Bush said.

In 1885 the Dam was built adding electricity to the building and increasing production speed.

For years the mill would provide jobs for 75% of the city's labor force. With the advent of new faster technologies the outdated mill closed its doors in 2002 and still stands as apartment loft homes for people in the area.

You can see the Historic Eagle & Phenix Mill Exhibit at the Columbus Museum:

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10am - 5pm.
Wednesday: 10am - 5pm
Thursday: 10am. - 8pm
Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 1pm - 5pm

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