Cabbagetown is an intown neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta, Georgia, United States, abutting historic Oakland Cemetery.
The Atlanta Rolling Mill was destroyed after the Battle of Atlanta and on its site the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill began operations in 1881. Cabbagetown was built as the surrounding mill town and was one of the first textile processing mills built in the south. Its primary product was cotton bags for packaging agricultural products. Built during a period when many industries were relocating to the post-Reconstruction South in search of cheap labor, it opened shortly following the International Cotton Exposition, which was held in Atlanta in an effort to attract investment to the region. The mill was owned and operated by Jacob Elsas. Its work force consisted of poor whites recruited from the Appalachian region of north Georgia. Elsas built a small community of one and two-story shotgun houses and cottage-style houses surrounding the mill, originally known as Factory Town or Fulton Mill Village. Like most mill towns, the streets are extremely narrow with short blocks and many intersections.
There are a few explanations as to how the neighborhood received its current name. One is that the mostly transplanted Appalachian residents, largely of Scots-Irish descent, who worked in the nearby Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill would grow cabbages in the front yards of their houses, so that one could distinctly smell the odor of cooking cabbage coming from the neighborhood. This term was used originally with derision by people outside the neighborhood, but it soon became a label of pride for the people who lived there. A variation of this legend is that a Ford Model T took a sharp turn at one of the main intersections of Cabbagetown, flipped, and spilled its cargo of cabbages across the street.
Beginning in 1996, the mill itself has been renovated into the nation’s largest residential loft community — the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts — which houses everyone from artists and musicians to business professionals. In April 1999, a five-alarm fire severely damaged the east building which was still being renovated and several nearby homes were destroyed. The lofts nevertheless opened the following year. However, a tornado in March 2008 damaged parts of the loft complex and many of the historic homes and businesses in Cabbagetown. Cabbagetown Chomp and Stomp festival in Cabbagetown Park, The Krog Street Tunnel, which connects Cabbagetown and Inman Park, has become the city’s centerpoint for street art.