Atlanta History: Jacob Elsas shaped the labor movement in the New South

May 8, 2023
1 min read

The Gist: A new historical marker in Atlanta commemorates the life of entrepreneur Jacob Elsas and his influential company, Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills, which significantly shaped the textile industry and labor movement in the New South Era.

The History:

  • Jacob Elsas, born in 1842, moved to Georgia in 1865 and established Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills in Atlanta.
  • The company played a crucial role in the growth of the southern textile industry during the 1880s.
  • Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills provided housing and welfare services to millworkers, creating the Cabbagetown neighborhood.
  • The 1914-1915 strike at the mill was one of the longest in US history, drawing national attention to southern labor practices.
  • Elsas’s philanthropy helped establish the Georgia Institute of Technology and Grady Hospital.

Why It Matters: The historical marker not only preserves the story of an immigrant entrepreneur who made a substantial impact on the textile industry and labor movement in Georgia during America’s Industrial Revolution, but it also highlights the company’s role in the growth of the southern textile industry, the labor movement, and the development of corporate welfare services and housing for millworkers.

Where To Find It: Visitors to the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts and the surrounding Cabbagetown neighborhood can learn about the region’s rich history and the individuals who contributed to its development through the historical marker.

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