July 2015

Dalton Daily CItizen, ChamberLink

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July 2015 Chamber Link 3 Feature Story Carpet and the Tourism Industry Dalton has a rich textile heritage and those of us liv- ing in Dalton may take it for granted. Out of town vis- itors want to learn about the carpet industry. They want to tour modern carpet facilities and learn how the carpet industry came into being. Our carpet her- itage is an amazing story and huge part of Georgia's history. The Dalton Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) will concentrate on promoting our textile heritage the next several years. This will include identifying locations to install interpretive signage and to display historic tex- tiles and machinery. The initial piece of this plan is in place with the recently developed "Tufts of the Past" self-guided tour brochure which was developed in conjunction with the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail. The tour identifies 14 sites for tourists and locals to view. Some of the buildings include the Crown Cotton Mill, the W&A Depot, and old chenille "spread houses" from the Beckler and Putnam families. The "Tufts of the Past" brochure is free and available through the CVB. Although early in the development process, the CVB would like to gain access to some of the old chenille "spread houses" to restore them for visitors to experi- ence. Visitors would see hanging bed spreads or robes as during the "hey day" of Peacock Alley, and perhaps historic tufting machinery in the houses. In addition to having these sites available for visitors to gain access, we would incorporate these spread hous- es in appropriate special events. A special event example would be partnering with Bandy Heritage Center and their recent symposium commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Dixie Highway. The Dixie Highway played a key role in the development of the textile industry as well as the early hotel business, restaurant business such as Waffle House and Chick-Fil-A franchises and other business- es. Over the next several years the development phase will include partnerships with owners of chenille prop- erties and seeking grant money to restore those prop- erties to period accuracy. We would also like to secure a location where carpet manufacturing could be demonstrated in a tourist designated facility. Visitors would then be able to understand the textile story from inception to modern day production. Our goal for transient travelers would be to develop several "stops" along highway 41 (the old Peacock Alley) between exit 345 and 336. We would promote to interstate travelers the ability to exit and experience Peacock Alley and return to I-75 without doubling back. Those interested in a richer experience could continue downtown for lunch or to see the carpet manufacturing demonstration then resume their tour Highway 41, Peacock Alley

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