Columbus State University Archives


Timeline: Looking back 100 years, Life in a mill town

At the turn of the 20th Century, construction began on the Bibb dam and mill that would impact a community for an entire century.

1902 Bibb Mill was operational. Village contained 101 mill houses for workers.
Aerial photo of Bibb Mill and surrounding city
Aerial photograph of Bibb Mill and surrounding city, date unknown.
1907 Bibb City was incorporated and a town was born.
1910 Child labor in mills was exposed by a series of shocking photographs by Lewis W. Hine.
Children at work on mill equipment
This photograph was taken at a Bibb Mill in Macon, GA.
1915 Bibb Mill was expanded and began producing tire cord, the largest profit generator during upcoming World Wars.
1920 Bibb Mill was further expanded making it one of the largest in the South, producing more than all other Columbus mills combined.
The New Village section was built adding 160 new houses. The New Village section was designed by renowned landscape architect Earle Draper.
1934 As the depression wore on, one of the largest organized strikes of the textile industry raged throughout the South, but it was less severe at the Bibb.
1940s Mill expanded further during World War II and Comer Auditorium was constructed giving both adults and children recreational space.
1960s Mill became desegregated. Beginning in 1964, company began selling houses to residents. Bibb Mill ended their sports program and Comer Auditorium along with control of the school was turned over to Bibb City.
1980s Brought change when Thomas Foley purchased The Bibb Company.
1998 Bibb Manufacturing closed its doors. March 20, 1998 was the last day of operation.
2008 Over 100 years of history was lost when Bibb Manufacturing went up in flames and burned to the ground leaving only the front facade.
Photo of Bibb Mill engulfed in flames
Photograph courtesy of Robert Goolsby.