Once Down--But Certainly Not Out
Originally a classic mill community, Cabbagetown developed during the late 1800s when the local textile factory recruited workers from the North Georgia mountains. Generations who were subsequently employed by the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill lived in tightly spaced company houses that rested within the shadows of the factory’s giant smokestacks. Once its gates closed three decades ago, many of the townsfolk reluctantly moved elsewhere to make a living. A few stoic members hung on in hopes of seeing better days. Now with things on the upswing, they’re witnessing an influx of young families, artists, business owners, and others seeking the camaraderie of a well-established neighborhood. “The closeness of our homes plays a role in keeping Cabbagetown neighbors closely knit,” says Jason Snyder, homeowner and vice president of the Cabbagetown Neighborhood Improvement Association (CNIA).
The Real Deal
Apart from its close proximity to all that Atlanta has to offer, the community’s tree-shaded streets and relatively relaxed pace only add to its growing appeal. Plus, while newer developments well outside of the city limits strive to establish pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and a sense of identity, they’re often modeled after places such as Cabbagetown. “Every home has a front porch here, and everyone uses them,” explains Nathan Bolster. He, along with wife Amanda and preschool daughter Livia, live in one of the original cottages (now fully renovated), facing Cabbagetown Park. Even the Fulton Mill has seen a complete reversal of fortune. Built in 1881, the Neo-Romanesque complex survived years of wear and tear, a fire in 1999, and most recently, a tornado that threatened its very existence. Touted upon its opening in 2000 as the largest loft conversion project in the country, The Stacks at Fulton Cotton Mill is home for young and old residents alike. “We looked for eight years after downsizing from a house in nearby Decatur before finding this great loft,” says Lyn Deardorff. “Because my husband, Tom, and I consider ourselves empty nesters, we love the ‘connectedness’ this place offers.” Better yet, both of them drive no more than 15 minutes to their jobs daily.