Georgia Historical Society Dedicates New Historical Marker Recognizing Jacob Elsas and Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills

Atlanta, GA, May 8, 2023 – The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) unveiled a new historical marker recognizing Jacob Elsas and Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills on Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Atlanta. Dedicated in partnership with The Patch Works Art & History Center, the historical marker commemorates the life of entrepreneur and philanthropist Jacob Elsas, including how his company, the Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills, shaped the textile industry and the labor movement during the New South Era.

“As a senior member of the Elsas family, I would like to thank the Georgia Historical Society for honoring the life and accomplishments of my great grandfather, Jacob Elsas, with this historical marker,” said Norman Elsas Asher. “Future visitors to this site will learn how many years ago one immigrant made a tremendous impact in Georgia during America’s Industrial Revolution.”

While running a trading store in Cartersville, Jacob Elsas became inspired by the deficiency of bags for carrying bulk goods. He entered cotton bag manufacturing in Atlanta, establishing what became Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills. Later his philanthropy established the Georgia Institute of Technology and Grady Hospital.

As the South experienced rapid industrialization after the Civil War, Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills contributed to the immense growth of the southern textile industry of the 1880s. Like several contemporary mills, Elsas’s provided corporate welfare services and created company housing, known today as Cabbagetown. A labor movement grew throughout the South as textile industry workers of all ages endured long hours, low wages, and dangerous conditions. The Atlanta mill became the site of the longest strike in US history when workers protested over working conditions from May 20, 1914, to May 15, 1915. In the end, the 1914-1915 strike failed, largely due to clashing union leaders, but the national attention it garnered led to a deeper examination of southern labor practices.

The marker dedication took place at the site of the mill, now renovated as Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts, on Carroll Street in Atlanta. Speakers included Elyse Butler, Marker Manager, Georgia Historical Society; Jacob Elsas, The Patch Works and descendant of Jacob Elsas; Alan Elsas, descendant of Jacob Elsas; David Mitchell, Atlanta Preservation Center; Hugh Asher, descendant of Jacob Elsas; Liliana Bakhtiari, Councilmember, City of Atlanta; Sanna Root, resident of Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts; and Claire Wiggil, resident of Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts.

The marker text reads:

Jacob Elsas and Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills

Born in 1842, Jacob Elsas settled in Ohio in 1861 from Württemberg during a wave of European-Jewish immigration. In 1865, Elsas moved to Cartersville, Georgia, opening a trading store. Recognizing a shortage in manufactured bags, Elsas relocated to Atlanta, establishing what became Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills. The Atlanta-based mill offered millworkers housing and welfare services. Unlike his contemporaries, Elsas employed both Black men and women, leading to the Strike of 1897, when White workers demanded Elsas fire twenty Black women. A strike in 1914-1915 over working conditions was one of the longest in US history and brought national scrutiny to Southern labor practices. Jacob Elsas helped establish the Georgia Institute of Technology and Grady Hospital. He died in 1932 and was buried in Oakland Cemetery. All operations at this location permanently ceased in 1981.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society and The Patch Works Art & History Center


For more information about the Jacob Elsas and Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills historical marker dedication or the Georgia Historical Society marker program, please contact Keith Strigaro, Director of Communications, at 912.651.2125, ext. 153 or by email at


The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) administers Georgia’s historical marker program. Over the last 25 years, GHS has erected more than 300 new historical markers across the state on a wide variety of subjects. GHS also coordinates the maintenance for more than 2,100 markers installed by the State of Georgia prior to 1998. Online mapping tools allow users to design driving routes based on historical markers, and a mobile app helps visitors locate and learn about markers nearby. Visit for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened. 
Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation. 
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