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Adairsville • Cassville • Cartersville • Euharlee •
Kingston • Lake Allatoona • Summer Hill

East Church Street, Railroad Street | Cartersville, Georgia

Until the widespread mechanization of clothing manufacturing, tailors were an important part of the fabric and textile economy in Cartersville. African American men like Emory Coleman, Robert Shepard, Jessie Pitts, Lon Scott, and Willie O’Neal had tailor shops downtown, while many women continued to find employment taking in piecework and sewing clothes. Most of these seamstresses worked from their homes rather than from shops but their work still found a niche in the local economy.

Around the turn of the century a new profession arose in Cartersville and across the South: pressing clubs, which were precursors to the dry cleaning industry and which were an occupational niche dominated by African Americans. They mainly pressed suits, with the average price being $1 for five to eight suits. Alonzo “Lon” Scott, born in 1885, began his career as a tailor with his own shop on West Main before World War I and by the 1930s ran his own pressing club. John Walker, born around 1898, along with his wife Rose, ran the Johnny Walker Pressing Club.

Then, as technologies changed, pressing clubs gave way to dry-cleaners and laundries. James “Happy” Younger, born in 1902, and his wife Sara, born in 1911, spent their entire lives in the world of fabric and textiles. Happy started his professional life as a tailor, while Sara was a laundress. In the late 1940s, they opened their own dry cleaning business on the south side of East Church Street, which was a fixture in town for many years. The building has since been torn down.

Another important niche was that of shoemaker, a necessity in the era before department stores and ready to-wear shoes. Early black shoemakers were Alex King, Bob and Charlie Parrott, Walter Fletcher, and Sidney Luther. Charlie Parrott had his shoe shop along Railroad Street in the area where the Booth Museum stands today.



African American

Heritage Trail

Bartow County, Ga

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