Porterdale Councilwoman Arline Chapman and the Friends of Porterdale recently applied for a grant to receive funds to make a historic documentary on the small mill town. The grant is through the History Channel and is meant to be used in conjunction with students in the Newton County School System.
If the group receives the grant, Chapman says they will turn to Alcovy High School, which has a state-of-the-art video production facility, for help.
"The grant will be a joint enterprise with the students," Chapman said. "Part of the application requirements are that we integrate students in the filming and production."
Chapman, who considers herself a history buff, said she hopes to document the small mill-town before residents who lived through the Bibb Manufacturing days are no longer around to share their stories.
"The goal is to create a documentary of the people who worked in the (cotton) mill," she said. "It was a special time for a lot of the people in this town. I've heard the stories and I know the town means so much to these people."
Centered around what is now the Porterdale Mill Lofts, the city can trace its roots to the 1830s when the burgeoning textile industry gave birth to many small towns throughout the South. The mill closed down in the early 1970s as global competition forced Bibb into bankruptcy.
If granted, the funds will be used to make the film and add some historic photo collages on the inside of the town's newly-renovated train depot. Chapman said the video would be set up with equipment in the depot and visitors could learn about the mill and the historic gym as part of a tour through Newton County.
"People like Mayor (Bobby) Hamby have worked so hard to preserve the history of the city," Chapman said. "I hope this will give us something more to add to the history center."