The Adams Cotton Gin building was built by George M. Adams (b.1898), whose family has lived in the Muscogee County area since before the Civil War. Mr. Adams and other members of his family were uprooted from their farm in adjacent Chattahoochee County, Georgia, when Ft. Benning was developed as a military base after World War I. The government purchased numerous farms in the Muscogee-Chattahoochee County area, moving the farmers, their families and all buildings and machinery off the property.
The building contains a cotton gin bearing the label of Daniel Pratt Gin Company of Prattville, Alabama. Mr. Pratt (1799-1873) had been a well-known architect in middle Georgia before he moved to Alabama and founded the cotton gin company. This particular machine was patented in 1889. The cotton press is a Lummus Press made in Columbus, Georgia, also made in the late 1880s.
The gin, roller, and press were used primarily to process cotton produced on the Adams Farm. It was not a commercial operation. Some area farmers did have access to the ginning operation for hire or for trade. Sharecroppers on the farm also processed their cotton here. At its peak, it produced several hundred bales of cotton a year. The Adams Farm was nearby and, while a working farm until the 1940s, produced cotton as its main crop, necessitating a gin. Most large plantations in the nineteenth century had their own cotton gin building, and thus the Adams Farm, in having its own gin house, carried on that long-standing Southern tradition and necessity.
The cotton gin building was used for the cleaning, seeding and baling of cotton produced on the Adams Farm. It also served as a storage facility for the baled cotton and other farm storage. Cotton was brought to the gin building from the farm in baskets and on wagons by sharecroppers and farm workers. It was unloaded and placed on the porch, which served as a loading dock. It was then hand-carried across the second floor to the cotton gin itself. A loading tube or chute above the cotton gin received the cotton for cleaning and seeding. After the seeds were removed, the cotton was passed to the roller. The seeds dropped from the bottom of the gin into an auger. The auger carried the seeds below to the ground floor to be bagged and stored. The seeds would be used for replanting the following year as well as for sale. The roller formed the cleaned cotton into easily handled bales which were then placed into the press. After several presses and additional loading, a bale of approximately 500 pounds of cotton would be removed from the press and wrapped in burlap for storage. Stalls on the upper floor were divided for use by family and sharecroppers for the separate storage of finished bales.
Statement of Significance
The Adams Cotton Gin Building is significant in agriculture as a late example of the type of structure found on all cotton farms where cotton was processed and stored. It was built in 1920 after the Adams family farm in nearby Chattahoochee County was taken over by the military for Ft. Benning and the family was forced to buy a new farm. They chose to build their new gin from parts of their old one, using the same equipment. This remaining equipment shows the transition of cotton processing, from animal power to gasoline power, until it ceased operation in 1935. The farm ceased production in 1946.
The building is significant in architecture as a good example of the type of functional structure found on a farm built to serve a specific purpose without any frills. Its rough-cut timber and vertical-board construction would have been one of the easiest types of buildings to construct on a farm since it would be built out of local materials using local labor.