“What makes this exciting is that at its heart it’s about history,” Hodge said. “From the Native Americans who had their homes along this river, to the days of the denim mill, we want to share the story of what went on before us in this historic community.”
Canton City Councilor Brooke Schmidt says she is glad to see what the project is accomplishing in the city.
“The Mill on Etowah project is such an incredible example of place-based economic development through a historic preservation project. Creating this sought-after destination in downtown Canton has strengthened the community, attracting visitors and small businesses. And it isn’t only the downtown area that benefits; these types of projects have a positive impact on home values around the city,” Schmidt pointed out.
Hodge purchased the property from the Jones family, which founded the denim-producing mill in 1899 by Robert Tyre Jones, along with a group of local investors. Jones was a leader in banking and commerce in Canton at the time and the plant was the first of two cotton mills built by the owners along the river.
Canton was incorporated in 1834, on land that at the time was still part of the Cherokee Nation. Early investors in the cotton mill were from families who helped settle the area.
“Our two themes include bringing the community and people together, and honoring history through place-making, story-telling, art, and photos from the past,” Hodge points out.