Closing of Whitney to mark end of era

Cotton once reigned supreme in Augusta. S.M. Whitney Co. opened its doors in 1868 and in its heyday helped Augusta become the second-largest inland cotton market.


The company is expected to close its warehouse doors by next month.

The city was once home to a 200-member Cotton Exchange, whose members hailed from as far away as England, Germany, France, India and South America.

S.M. Whitney Co. was formed just after the Civil War by a descendant of cotton gin inventor Eli Whitney.

Its founder and namesake, S.M. Whitney, moved to Georgia from Connecticut in the mid-1800s and opened a bookstore in Elberton until the Civil War broke out and he joined the Confederate army.

After the war, Whitney came to Augusta and became a cotton factor -- helping farmers grow and transport their crop and selling the finished product to mills.


Learn more about S.M. Whitney Co. and see a slideshow of historic cotton photos at