Sweetwater Creek State Park

An arch in the ruins of the New Manchester Factory and Sweetwater Creek near Lithia Springs, Georgia

An arch in the ruins of the New Manchester Factory and Sweetwater Creek near Lithia Springs, Georgia

I vaguely recall hearing about some factory ruins west of Atlanta, but I had never seriously researched them before. After visiting the Paper Mill site recently, I began to look into these ruins. There was some information available online but honestly not much. I decided it was worth the early departure to see if they were worth shooting now or at some future date. I got up early to beat the traffic and to find a vantage point for sunrise I had thought about for some time. Atlanta is in the foothills of the Appalachians so there are ridges in and around the entire area. You will frequently see a great view of the Atlanta skyline from some unexpected location. One such location is in the northwest part of the city in Vinings. One set of condominiums and office towers is built on a particularly prominent ridge. I found a parking deck for an office building that had an unobstructed view of the entire horizon. The sunrise that morning wasn’t particularly spectacular, but it’s good to know that a spot like that exists. Hopefully, I can score a beautiful sky at sunrise with the skyline of Atlanta in the foreground at some point in the future.

From Vinings, I made the drive to Lithia Springs. It was a bit later in the day than I wanted, but the sun was still relatively low in the sky. The thing that I really wanted to avoid was the heat of the day. I think the temperature rose to close to 100 degrees sometime that day. The hike to the ruins was only a mile or so, but my shirt was soaked through by the time I made it back to the car. The ruins are of a factory called New Manchester. The factory was a cotton mill built before the Civil War. Instead of sending raw cotton off to England, this factory took the raw material and made finished goods here in Georgia. Unfortunately, the factory was destroyed during the Civil War and the fledgling community dispersed. All that is left is the burned out shell of a large brick building. Most of the site is fenced off but there are some good images that can be made of the ruins and of the remaining arch and Sweetwater Creek. I’m looking forward to visiting the site in the spring and fall. The flow of the creek and bright green of spring foliage should make a great shot in April. The leaves in that area probably don’t turn color until early November. If there is enough water in the creek, that could make a great image as well.

You can see more images from this area here.

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