History Cherokee's newest children's book, Salty Dog Goes to Denim Day, is now available online or in-store in the McClure Family Bookstore & Museum Shop. To celebrate the upcoming release, here's a look into the history of Salty Dog and the Canton Cotton Mills.
"When Mama forgets her lunch before work, her clever canine Salty Dog goes on a journey through 1960s Canton to return it to her. His final destination? The Canton Cotton Mills! Written by Canton screenwriter, Jennifer Dunn, and illustrated by noted watercolor artist, Elly Hobgood, “Salty Dog Goes to Denim Day” is a fun exploration through downtown Canton with the Cotton Mill’s droopy-eared mascot."
Salty Dog was created in 1963 to serve as the mascot for the Canton Cotton Mills’ brand of SCRUBDENIM. The fabric was known for its softening process which was perfected in Canton as a way to make denim soft while preserving its durability.
The use of Salty came from the brand's slogan, ”Soft as a puppy, yet rugged as an old hound dog.” While the cotton mills of Canton have long been closed, the advancements made there are still used today to make denim comfortable to wear.
The Canton Cotton Mills were one of Canton's first major businesses. The original Mill #1 was built in 1901 and Mill #2 opened in 1923. Between the 1930s and 50s, Canton's denim swept the nation and put Canton on the map.
Business at the Cotton Mill steadily declined during the '60s & '70s as imported cotton became cheaper and more accessible. Eventually, both buildings shut down in 1981. Today, Mill #1 has been repurposed to become the Mill on Etowah, a multi-leveled space featuring restaurants, shopping, and a coworking space.
In 1958, the Canton Cotton Mill celebrated the national success of denim by hosting the Denim Days Carnival that August. This festival was hosted by the Retail Merchants Association of Canton (RMAC) and brought many people together as they shared food, played carnival games, and hosted several contests and beauty pageants.
The RMAC declared August 18, 1958, as Denim Carnival Day, "a day of fellowship and enjoyment for all!"