“Cedartown was a small country village on a railroad running from no place to no where when I first came here. It is now a thriving town of about 8,000 population with paved streets and sidewalks, a magnificent school system, and every comfort of a large city.” So concludes Charles Adamson in his 1926 Cedartown article looking back on 39 years of his accomplishments.
The successful Philadelphia businessman left a comfortable life and friend for a fling at land speculation and ended by staying to build industries and town. Adamson upon arrival purchased six lots and in less than three weeks, sold his lots, realizing a profit of $3,125. Feeling, no doubt, that he was in the right price at the right time, he moved his base of operations from Piedmont, Alabama, to nearby Cedartown, Georgia, accepting an invitation to build the town. From that point on, he apparently was hooked on Cedartown.
When the thirty-year old Charles Adamson arrived in 1889, his first move was to organize the Cedartown Land Improvement Company with headquarters in Philadelphia, and establish himself as manager and vice president. His older brother, Joseph Wright Adamson. Arrived a year later to serve in the company as secretary and treasurer. Their father, Thomas Adamson, retired from the United States Consular Service in 1893 and shortly thereafter arrived in Cedartown to become treasurer.
Adamson and his Cedartown Land Improvement Company acquired 1,200 acres of land in Cedartown. In 1896 he organized the Cedartown Cotton Manufacturing Co. to make high grade hosiery yarn. An adjacent mill, the Paragon Mills, was built by others and sold to Adamson before it started operations. The consolidated mills operated under one company, the Cedartown Cotton Company, and ran for twenty years producing high grade hosiery yard.
In 1925 the mill of which Adamson was so proud was purchased by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. For years the mill was the largest employer in Polk County, but it closed in 1983. Three years later it was destroyed by fire. Adamson's prediction of earlier years, that the Cedartown plant and many other local enterprises “will stand as a monuments to his memory,” did not last over 100 years after all.
One accomplishment which still stands is the Wayside Inn which he built in 1920. Apparently he gave the land and helped establish a $30,000 library which was started by a bequest of $7,000 by Mr. Hawkes of Atlanta. The Hawkes Childrens' Library was replaced in 1976 when the Civic Complex was built, and now serves the Polk County Historical Society as a museum.
Charles Adamson died in 1931 after being wiped out by the Great Depression and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in his beloved Cedartown.
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