Mule stables once filled Thomaston’s downtown. Places like the Ritz Theater, Hometown Printers, Wtga, Baby Lane's Children's Consignment Store, Jin’s Beauty, and Pasley Funeral Home’s former location across from the Post Office were all sites for the mule sheds. Just across the street from our building, in what is now the Thomaston Health Spa at the corner of E. Lee and Center Streets, stood another.
Pictured is E.T. Black’s mule Trading Post, built in 1916.
Mr. Ernest Thomas Black, originally from The Rock, was a two-time Mayor of Thomaston (1918-1921) + (1924-1925), peach grower, and successful livestock dealer. In December of 1934, he and Will Trice brokered a deal with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the sale of two mules, which the President named “Tug” and “Hop” after two of his aides, Harry Hopkins, Secretary of Commerce, and Dr. Rexford Guy Tugwell, Undersecretary of the Dept. of Agriculture. President FDR was said to be delighted to have appropriately named them as one can hop while the other tugs.
The trade added to Thomaston’s already lucrative livestock industry. At one point, this area was known as Mule Capital of the South with the largest distribution center south of Atlanta. The square was apparently so crowded with mules that wagons and buggies had a tough time crossing the streets.
The trade eventually died out as the boll weevil invaded cotton crops across the South and the introduction of farm tractors eliminated much of the need for the animals. Mr. E.T. Black passed away suddenly in May of 1937. A few years later, his stable was destroyed by fire, eliminating one of the last traces of the thriving industry.
To view mule stable locations, click on the link for Thomaston's Sanborn Maps, 1885-1921. Thomaston Sanborn Maps
Thomaston Times, November 6, 1925.
Thomaston Times, December 7, 1934.
Thomaston Times, April 12, 1945.
E.T. Black's Mule Stables, ca. 1910's-1920's. Contributed by Charles McDaniel for the Upson County Pictorial History.