“Some twenty years ago, while living in Athens, together with several gentlemen of that area visited the site of is now the enterprising young city of Winder. The place was then known as 'Jug Tavern'. Back then the only houses there were the home of Dr. Wylie Bush and an old dilapidated stage house on the roadside. At that time there was no railroad to the place.
“A few days ago I made my second visit to the place and was astounded to see the magnificent young city that had sprung up…and is now known as Winder.
“Winder is truly a magic city, and shows what Georgia pluck, Georgia energy and Georgia enterprise can accomplish. I have traveled extensively in this and other states, but I have never seen a place with such a phenomenal growth as this same Winder. And neither is it one of those mushroom boom towns you find lining the new Western railways, but its citizens having confidence in the future of the place, have erected not only substantial and enduring buildings of brick and granite, but there are stores and business blocks in Winder that would reflect credit on Atlanta or any other city in our state.
“Why, I saw stocks of goods and displays in windows at Winder that would do credit to Whitehall street in Atlanta, or even Broadway, New York. Everything in Winder is strictly up-to-date and first class. There are now over 3,000 people in the town, and Winder is growing and spreading like a green bay tree.
“Among its manufacturing enterprises area a cotton mill, a knitting mill, foundry and machine works, cotton seed oil mill, the largest ginnery in the state with eight gins, which turns out 72 bales of cotton a day, two planning mills, a sash door and blind factory, hay press works, wagon factory, five modern blacksmith and repair shops, three splendid hotels, three cotton warehouses, two mammoth livery and sale stables, a roller flouring mill, a steam laundry, two banks, two printing offices, and last, but far from least wonder, is the home of Mrs. Bush’s Burn Specific, a wonderful remedy, and numerous other smaller enterprises. Work on an ice factory will soon begin.
“And then consider that less than two decades ago the site of this magnificent young city was an old field, or uncleared wilderness, and that the place owes its existence and wonderful growth and prosperity to the unbending energy and faith of one man, Wylie Bush, and who was so ably backed and seconded by the discerning and clear-sighted men who came to his aid, and not only made of Winder what it is today, but will yet construct there one of the finest and most important cities and business centers in Georgia.
“Young as the place is, Winder today acknowledges no rival nearer than Atlanta, Macon, and Augusta, and as a cotton market and trading point, competes with even those cities. It is already acknowledged to be the best cotton market in upper Georgia, and all neighboring farmers, and for many counties around, realize this fact, and not only bring their cotton to Winder, but also do their trading there.
“Young as it is, Winder is already the third city in size on the Seaboard Air Line railway from the Savannah River to Atlanta, and in a few years, with its wonderful growth and business expansion, bids fair to become the second, if not the largest, place on that line…
“It is impossible to surmise the future of Winder. It is certainly one of the coming towns of Georgia and the south, and in a very few years will boast of population of 5,000 or 10,000. There is no doubt about this…
“As I have stated, everything in Winder is built on an enduring foundation, with a view to permanency and the future…You find among the citizens and business men of Winder neither jealousy nor rivalry.
“They realize the fact that there is room enough and business enough for all and they are united in working for the upbuilding and prosperity of the town. Winder is an ideal place of residence and presents the best openings for any kind of business or manufacturing enterprise I know in the whole country. It matters not what business or calling you desire to pursue, you cannot make a mistake by moving to Winder…
“The building of Winder shows what Georgians can do when they set to work with the right kind of vim and vigor and have the right kind of material to work with.”
Excerpted from “Enterprising Winder as the County Seat of the Proposed New County Made Around This Thriving Town, Which is the Meeting Point of Three Counties,” The Atlanta Constitution, Sunday Morning, November 27, 1904, author unknown.
It’s helpful to know how we got here so we can figure out where we’re headed. We can continue to pull power plays or we can work toward a common goal. Too many storefronts stand empty and too many folks are out of work for us not to all be on the same team.
Helen Person is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.