3371 Chattanooga Valley Road Flintstone GA 30725 706.820.2833

3371 Chattanooga Valley Road Flintstone GA 30725 706.820.2833

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hope for Northwest Georgia Spotlight: Rossville Georgia

Just outside of Chattanooga Tennessee, Rossville has seen a lot of change since its foundation in the early 1800s. Although the city was not incorporated until 1905, it was known as Poplar Springs going back 120 year previous to that date. Rossville was named for John Ross, the man who established a Ferry across the Tennessee River as well as the Trading Post that would one day become the city of Chattanooga. In 1838, settlers began to replace Rossville's previous residents, the Cherokee Indians who had just vacated the area via the Trail of Tears.

In 1905, Peerless Woolen Mills was established in the newly incorporated town. This would be the first of many textile mills which would eventually turn the small town into a prosperous city. During World War Two, Rossville boomed due to Peerless being the primary manufacturer of blankets used among the armed forces. It became the largest single-unit textile mill in the world! The town was known for its nice shops as well as a dance hall across from the Peerless Mills. The Peerless plant burned down in the 1967 fire that would go down as one of the largest industrial fires in US history. The 1.5 million square foot building went down, costing 1,400 jobs and over 2 million in damages.

As happened across the United States in textile mills everywhere, drastic downsizing occurred in the mills of Rossville and the population experienced the devastating effects of rampant unemployment. While older residents of the area still reminisce on the good old days of Rossville, many younger ones struggle to keep their family afloat in the fragile climate of Rossville's main streets. Some of the old businesses still exist. Sherrill’s TV, Brody’s Jewelry, Best Jewelry, Rossville Bank, Brock Insurance, Roy’s Restaurant, and Dream Cream can still be seen with their lights on and cars in their parking lots. Stores like Hixson’s Men Store, The Jo Ann Shop, Vassey’s Men Store, Personality, and the LaDean that once made Rossville the place to shop are long gone. They have been replaced with Pawn shops and Second Hand Merchandise stores. Vacant lots are often filled with men and women selling items out of their cars on on card tables. Empty mills and factories press in from every side, an all-too-obvious reminder to residents of past glories and prosperity.

When one looks at the current statistics of Rossville, it is hard to take heart.

The estimated median household income in Rossville in 2008: $27,375

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Concerning the population 25 years and over in Rossville:

  • High school or higher: 60.7%
  • Bachelor's degree or higher: 8.4%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 3.1%
  • Unemployed: 3.4%
  • Mean travel time to work: 23.4 minutes

In May 2009 there were 41 registered sex offenders living in Rossville.
The ratio of number of residents in Rossville to the number of sex offenders is 83 to 1.

And the statistics go on from there. ...But what are we willing to do about it? Rossville was once a wonderful place to live that promised its residents prosperity and success. There were many opportunities for employment. The streets were beautiful. Are we willing to say that this is a thing of the past, never to return? In Deuteronomy 15:4, God told His people that there were to be no poor among them! In Isaiah 1:10-17, God tells His people he is tired of their meaningless sacrifices, and that He wants them to care for the poor, to take up their cause and defend them!

Finally, 1 John 3:18:

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."

Will you join us in loving Northwest Georgia in action and in truth?

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