Monday, March 26, 2007

Hiking at Sweetwater Creek

Record hot day yesterday, and of course I had already decided to go hiking out at Sweetwater Creek. What I thought was a sunburn by the time I got home turned out to be nothing more than a flush from the extreme heat.

But everything about the day and the place was beautiful. The creek is more like a river, with rocky shoals that cause the water to rush and divert into pools and side streams. I assume it's granite under the water--there's a very large vein that runs through Atlanta--but I'm not entirely sure.

The highlight of the hike, of course, was the Civil War era ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company. During the war, this mill was one of the two largest suppliers of textiles to the Confederate forces in the area (the other mill was on Vickery Creek, and its ruins still stand as well). When Union troops marched on Atlanta, they arrested the workers at both mills and imprisoned them, then burned the mills. Of course, since most men of working age were fighting in the war, this meant the women and children were working the mills. The prisoners were taken north, made to pledge allegiance to the United States and promise not to return to the South until the war was over. If they refused, they remained imprisoned for the rest of the war. Amazingly enough, historical sources report that most of the workers made it back to Georgia after the war.

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