In this 1870 stereograph, a trolley runs down the center of Cotton Avenue in Macon, Georgia. In the early nineteenth century enslaved workers from nearby plantations pushed wagons loaded with bales of cotton down the unpaved street to the banks of the Ocmulgee River where the cotton was loaded onto barges and shipped. Over time, businesses sprang up along the thoroughfare, including a drug store, at far left, and the offices of the Macon Daily Citizen newspaper, at right.
During the Jim Crow era of segregation in the twentieth century, this part of town became a prosperous Black commercial district with a wide range of businesses, including barbershops, shoemakers, and offices for dentists and lawyers. Though there is no longer a street named Cotton Avenue in Macon, that once-thriving Black business area is called the Cotton Avenue District.