The Atlanta Rolling Mill was destroyed after the Battle of Atlanta and on its site the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill began operations in 1881. Cabbagetown was built as the surrounding mill town and was one of the first textile processing mills built in the south. Lately, Cabbagetown is an area of tremendous growth sparked by an influx of artists in the 1980s. Now the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts house everyone from artists and musicians to business professionals.
There are a few explanations as to how the neighborhood received its name. One is that the mostly transplanted poor Appalachian residents (largely of Scots-Irish descent) who worked in the nearby Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, would grow cabbages in the front yards of their shotgun houses, and one could distinctly smell the odor of cooking cabbage coming from the neighborhood. This term was used originally with derision by people outside the neighborhood, but it soon became a label of pride for the people who lived there. Another explanation is that a train carrying a load of cabbages derailed by the mill adjacent to the neighborhood, and the poor residents quickly accumulated the cabbages, and used them in just about every meal. A variation of this legend has a Ford Model T taking a sharp turn at one of the main intersections of Cabbagetown, and flipping over spilling its cargo of cabbages across the street. Someone yelled “Free Cabbages!” and they were soon carted away by the residents. A third explanation of the name is that a local cab company operating off Memorial Drive gave nicknames to various neighborhoods that they serviced. The mill town was called Cabbagetown (maybe because of the cooking cabbage) and it stuck.