The Atlanta Rolling Mill

Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
7,064
Location
Buford, Georgia
#1
The Atlanta Rolling Mill (later the Confederate Rolling Mill) was constructed in 1858 by Lewis Schofield and James Blake and soon after, Schofield and William Markham took it over and transformed it into the South's second most productive rolling mill, after the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia.

At first glance you might guess a rolling mill has something to do with baking or grain processing, but you would be wrong. Rolling mills refurbished railroad tracks and prepared armored plating. It's easy to see why the Atlanta Rolling Mill would be very important to the Confederacy.

In fact, the mill was one of only two such factories in the South, and once William Markham joined the company the business reached its zenith in production and reputation helping Atlanta's population to soar to 22,000 as workers poured into the city.

Their specialty was re-rolling worn out railroad rails but during the American Civil War it also rolled out cannon, iron rail, and 2-inch-thick (51 mm) sheets of iron to clad the CSS Virginia for the Confederate navy.

It was bought out by Charleston, SC interests in 1863 and became known as the Confederate Rolling Mill when it produced the former products as well as cannon.

On the night of September 1st, 1864, the mill was destroyed in a series of explosions of ammunition trains parked nearby, set off by cavalry under Confederate General J.B. Hood in a successful effort to deny the war materials' capture by the advancing Union Army under General Sherman.

Part what is now Boulevard was named Rolling Mill Street, when the street was extended north of the railroad in the late 1860s, thus commemorating the already destroyed mill. The name was changed to Boulevard around 1880.

It was located on the current site of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill (now residential lofts) in Cabbagetown on the south side of the Georgia Railroad just east of Oakland Cemetery.
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Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
7,064
Location
Buford, Georgia
#2
Built by William Markham and opened 15 November 1875 with 107 rooms and central heat it was a center of Atlanta's civic life, with the balcony serving as a platform for famous speaking guests recently arriving at the adjacent Union Station.

It burned in 1896 after Markham's death. Fire chief W.R. Joyner did his best to save the structure, but it was destroyed.
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Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Messages
9,976
#3
Nice photos and nice engraving, too. Most of all, thanks for the nice, brief essay about the events at this rolling mill. War was visited upon my neighborhood in a more personal way. I am thankful I didn't grow up in a place that was utterly destroyed by the Civil War.
 

DaveBrt

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Messages
2,265
Location
Charlotte, NC
#4
I've been unable to find any of this mill's records -- production, shipping, personnel, letters, etc. If anyone knows of a cache of them, I'd like to know where they are. The surviving Tredegar records are really useful for my research.
 



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