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Cabbagetown, Atlanta: Home To Charming Historic Houses

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Cabbagetown Atlanta


“Cabbagetown?  Is that an official name of the place?  How did a factory town become a Cabbagetown? Oh! Wow! Charming, little houses, I want to see inside!”

The day I landed in Atlanta, Georgia was also my very first day to set foot in USA.  A dream that lasted over 30 years and finally realized before I am turned 41 years old. Thanks to my manager’s constant prodding, with eyes wide, I am able to witness America and experience the whole thing that I only imagined while working online.

My first day of orientation was what we refer as ‘driving for dollars’ in real estate.  It means looking for houses for sale and at the same time familiarizing yourself with neighborhoods in Atlanta. The whole experience was similar to shopping for houses to rent where you have to note down the house number and streets.  You also get to notice the different kinds of buildings built in the different areas and how houses differ in prices even though they are located practically opposite to each other.  I was also able to see for myself the kind of houses that we are buying, a mixture of junk and nice houses, from desirable to highly desirable areas.

Frank brought me to this interesting area called Cabbagetown where I get to see what a 1920’s shot gun house looks like. Cabbagetown is a home of tiny houses incredibly hard to buy; usually when someone is selling a house, it’s sold immediately. Shotgun houses were at one time  considered poor housing but are now expensive.  Home styles I learned about  include Farmhouse Victorians, bungalows, and shotgun style homes.

The Cabbagetown district is a neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta.  According to Wiki it is listed in the National Register of historic places. 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, a German Jewish immigrant. 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 lots of intersections.

It’s called Cabbagetown because of the residents who are 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. You can read on some more interesting stories about Cabbagetown here.

The mill has been converted into lofts where nearby residents and mostly young adults hangout seeking a hip place to shop and eat.  We are doing several rehabs recently including one house in Cabbagetown that is fully gutted.  It’s always an advantage when you get an opportunity to do this as you can repair all sorts of damages by water or insects, correct any structural problems and update the house to the latest acceptable code that wasn’t implemented when the house was built. By doing this, you get to decide and do your own structural layout on electrical, mechanical, plumbing to meet today’s standards and in the process you can apply the latest energy saving efficiency. When the job is done, the whole house inside will look like the modern house of today but would still retain the outside appearance of that lovely, charming house with character that is uniquely in Cabbagetown.

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