The New Manchester Manufacturing Company – Lithia Springs, Georgia - Atlas Obscura

The New Manchester Manufacturing Company

Lithia Springs, Georgia

The ruins of a cotton mill that was burned in the Civil War are still hidden in a Georgia forest. 


Nestled in the lush greenery of Georgia’s Sweetwater Creek State Park, the New Manchester Manufacturing Company ruins have turned into a grotto of ruin after having been burned and abandoned during a Civil War raid.

Originally known as the Sweetwater Mill, the tall manufacturing building was created in 1849 after the land it sits on had changed hands a number times in the preceding years. Made from materials that were created straight from the natural resources at hand, the mill used the rushing waters of Sweetwater Creek to power a cotton mill that supported an entire factory town during its heyday. The raw product would eventually by turned into yarn that kept the whole enterprise afloat. However by 1864 the Civil War was nearing its end and the Confederate troops that had protected the area surrounding the mill were forced into retreat. When Union forces marched into the territory they put the entire factory to the flame.

Once the war ended the factory was all but forgotten, the crumbling brick walls left to fall apart and be overtaken by the dense Georgia foliage. When the area around Sweetwater Creek was turned into a state park, trails were forged that led hikers to the increasingly beautiful ruins. The site is recognizable from the popular “Hunger Games” films. 

Today the ruins still stand although their history is often overlooked by visitors to the site who stumble upon the once prosperous factory.  

Know Before You Go

The Red Trail follows the creek, with plenty of places for kids to play. One of the best places for kids to play (carefully!) in the water is downstream of the ruins.

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