Historic Markers Across Georgia

Cotton Warehouses

Marker ID:  
Location: Bay Ave north of 11th St, Columbus, GA
County: Muscogee
Coordinates: N 32° 28.022    W 084° 59.763
  32.46703333    -84.99605
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Cotton Warehouses

The massive, brick cotton warehouses along Bay and Front Avenues were the heart of the Columbus economy for over a century. Cotton factors and commission merchants built their warehouses here on this bluff, high above the river, yet close to the Dillingham bridge and the steamboat landing. Farmers and planters from a sixty-mile radius brought their crop to Columbus cotton factors, who warehoused and then shipped the staple down the river (or later by railroad) to Liverpool, England and other major markets. The merchants, in turn, supplied the farmer with groceries, fertilizer, other suppliers, and credit. The capital accumulated by the cotton factors also financed the riverboats, local banks and industries.

One of the city’s most prominent cotton factors, W.C. Bradley (1863-1947), created his own company in 1885 that warehoused cotton, sold wholesale groceries, operated riverboats, and manufactured fertilizer. His company eventually owned all of the old warehouses seen today from this location. Bradley’s many economic interests included the Columbus Iron Works, the Eagle & Phenix Mills, and Coca-Cola, the latter of which he served as Chairman of the Board from 1919 to 1946.

Bales of cotton on Front Avenue

W. C. Bradley, to the left of the stove, in his company’s office.

A table entitled “Cotton and the Columbus Economy”

Pictures of this marker can be view on HMDB.org