HCC to present free program on Eufaula’s Textile Mill Heritage

EUFAULA, AL (WTVM) - Through the assistance of the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the HCC will present "Life on the Southside," a free lecture and historic site tour on Friday, May 2 at 3 p.m. CT at the Eufaula-Barbour County Chamber of Commerce.

This program will investigate the role of Cowikee Mill and mill village in the early twentieth century cultural life of the city. The mill, which operated in Eufaula for over 100 years, was for decades the city's largest employer. Many of the mill workers lived in the close-knit mill village and took part in mill-sponsored bands, athletics, and social clubs.

The mill and the hundreds of families it supported came to be a vital, if somewhat segregated, part of the Eufaula community. The self-contained mill village, locally known as "Southside," contained noteworthy closely-connected business and civic enclaves that operated largely independently of the rest of the city and gave it a unique sense of place.

The story of how these two "Eufaulas" interacted will be addressed by Dr. David Alsobrook in his presentation. A native of Eufaula with a deep personal connection to the mill village, Alsobrook has spent a great deal of time researching the mill village and its people. He will explore how mill operatives lived and died, dreamed and grieved, and influenced the process of the merging of the two Eufaulas into the community we know today.

Dr. Alsobrook will guide our walking tour of historic sites and structures associated with the mill and the village after the lecture. Dr. Mike Breedlove of the Alabama Department of Archives and History will provide a presentation on the Comer family who owned the mill and its important role in the Cowikee Mills story and the broader development of the mill industry in Alabama.

A guided tour of historic sites associated with the mill, made available by the City of Eufaula, will follow. As seating on the tour vans provided by the city is limited, reservations are required by calling the HCC office or emailing deborah.shaw@chattahoocheetrace.com.

The HCC is a state agency of both Alabama and Georgia charged with promoting heritage tourism, history education, and historic preservation. For further information, contact HCC at 334-687-9755. Inquiries are welcomed by email at mike.bunn@chattahoocheetrace.com

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.