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Standard-Coosa-Thatcher

Jonathan Trundle Digital Donation

History rescued

Jonathan Coulter Trundle is an Associate Professor of Photography at Middle Tennessee State University, and someone who appreciates the value of historic photography. Several notebooks of negatives with meticulous notes were rescued from a dumpster following the mill's shutdown. These date from 1947-1949+ and are all from black and white 6x9 negatives, giant by today's digital photo standards.

Trundle digitized many via a dedicated Nikon film scanner at 4000DPI, allowing us to see remarkable details of this workplace and community that supported many families for decades.

The American Dream

These photos capture a prosperous industry and workforce at the Standard-Coosa-Thatcher Corporation. The mill provided housing, a store, and promoted social interaction between the mill workers.

By the mid-1950s southern mills processed 90 percent of the cotton produced in the United States. In 1960, a headline in the New Free Press read: Standard-Coosa-Thatcher Success Story. One of Content People, Quality Product. It cites high wages for the 2,200 employees, paid vacation, a retirement plan, and death benefit as reasons for the contentment of the workers. It also mentions 500 workers who have been with the company over twenty years and eighty percent of employees, who have been with the company over five years as an indicator for excellent employment conditions.

Spinners

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

Spinners

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

Home Like Cafe

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

Lunch Break

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

Pinball

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

Company Store?

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

Bumper Cars at Lake Winnepesaukah

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

Picnic at Lake Winnepesaukah

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

Tractor

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

Car Repair

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

Not a happy ending…

These good times would not last forever, as competition forced automation and a continually reduced workforce. Through the decline of the textile industry in America, changes in ownership, and eventual bankruptcy, the mills were completely closed by 2003.

In the years following - three men were found guilty of pillaging employee pension plans, including Kenneth Combs, president of SCT, who pleaded guilty to 31 counts of mail fraud, embezzlement, graft, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering.

Combs committed suicide the day before his sentencing.

Meeting

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J. Trundle Digital Donation

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