Speaker/Program information for January 2016 CVHS Meeting:
Eddie Lanier to Present Program on the History of
West Point Manufacturing Company
“The cotton textile industry…came to East Alabama, in the valley of the Chattahoochee River, in 1866, soon after Appomattox. Two separate groups of local planters and merchants took stock of their ruined plantations and businesses and found enough capital to start two mills.” And so began company president Joseph L. Lanier, Sr., as he addressed the Newcomen Society in 1955, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the West Point Manufacturing Company.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the construction of these original two textile mills: the Chattahoochee mill was organized by a group of West Point businessmen and planters, while the Alabama-Georgia mill was incorporated under the leadership of planter George Huguley. By 1880, the Lanier brothers had reorganized the Chattahoochee mill, which became the West Point Manufacturing Company. Shortly before the turn of the century, the Alabama-Georgia mill would become part of the growing enterprise as well.
In recognition of this milestone in our local history, Eddie Lanier will present our upcoming quarterly program entitled “Five Textile Villages – The Development of the Textile Industry in the Chattahoochee Valley.” Though no family relation to the manufacturing Lanier’s, Eddie joined WestPoint Pepperell after graduating from Auburn University with a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. Currently, he is the Director of the Environmental Department of WestPoint Home, and is largely responsible for the safeguarding the firm’s historic records. Lanier’s presentation traces the history of the Company, from the original mills built in 1866 to the final closing of the mills by WestPoint Home. Highlighting the men who founded and built the Company, Lanier will focus upon the five textile mills of Langdale, Riverdale, Lanett, Shawmut, and Fairfax, including an examination of life in a mill village. In addition, he will address the development of the C.V. Railroad and the electrification of the Valley via the hydroelectric dam at Langdale.
Our quarterly meeting will be held Sunday, January 17, at 3:00 pm EST at the Bradshaw Library in Valley. The public is also invited to attend.