Former Porterdale resident looking to collect memories of the mill town in
good old days
PORTERDALE — Prentis Ollis has many fond memories of
his childhood in Porterdale including walking barefoot across the old
steel and wood bridge that crossed the Yellow River. The feeling of the
summer sun bearing down on the creosote lumber is one of his lasting
memories of his hometown.
Ollis, retired and living in Hull, near Athens, is now sharing his
memories of Porterdale on a Web site he hopes can be a place for others to
share their thoughts, photos and recollections of the old mill town.
Ollis, 71, said he created the Web site dedicated to Porterdale to fill
the existing gap in information about the town. While working on his hobby
of maintaining genealogy Web sites, he kept meeting people who had a
connection to Porterdale, but knew very little about the town itself.
“I decided that one should make an attempt to share memories of a
‘showplace community,’ of its time and place in our history,” he said.
http://home.earthlink.net/~porterdale/porterdale/index.htm, the Web
site is dominated by a picture of the Porterdale Mill on the Yellow River.
The site offers different sections for general history but also
recollections of current and former residents and photographs of historic
structures in Porterdale, including the house where Ollis was born.
Also included on the Porterdale Web site are Ollis’ own recollections of
life in Porterdale. With his travels during 27 years in the U.S. Air
Force, Ollis also includes his encounters with people across the globe who
have connections to Porterdale.
Porterdale was owned and operated by the Bibb Manufacturing Company for
most of its history. Bibb provided nearly cradle to grave services for the
workers who resided near the three mills in town. Ollis admits that the
pay was low and work conditions not the best for workers at the time but
he pointed out that Bibb provided people a chance to survive.
Ollis said the time of the town’s height as an economic power in the
region during the decades of the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s, it offered an almost
idyllic way of life that he hopes to preserve with the Web site.
“I think one would have had to experience Porterdale in its hey day to
truly understand any description that one may provide,” said Ollis. “I
have traveled around the world, been in all 50 states, on every continent,
except Australia and Antarctica. I have lived in about 30 different
locations, and not one comes close to the memories of my life in
Ollis said he has only worked on the site for a few months, but has
already been in contact with about a dozen people interested in
contributing to the site. He said he’s looking for anything to add to the
site, childhood memories, photographs, historical information about
certain buildings or any other information concerning Porterdale to make
his site complete.
“All memories of Porterdale would be appreciated, but my immediate goal to
collect those memories from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s,” he said. “Our
numbers in the first group are dwindling and there is not much time to
collect and document this history.”
Two items that Ollis is looking for in particular are any pictures of the
old Porterdale steel and wood bridge. Another sought after photograph is
that of a wading pool on the grounds of the old Porterdale "grade school"
that Ollis said his grandfather built 1920s.
For more information, or to submit material for Ollis’ Web site, contact
him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Items can be mail to Ollis at Prentis L. Ollis, 2372 Crabapple Hollow
Road, Hull, GA 30646. A pre-paid, self-addressed enveloped would be
appreciated for items you wish to have returned.
The City of Porterdale maintains an official Web site at