Sweet Water, AL is a small community located on Highway 10 in the southern part of Marengo County. The Sweet Water Cotton Gin has been a large part of the landscape of downtown Sweet Water for many years. Traveling from the east on Highway 10, the cotton gin is the first thing that you see as you enter Sweet Water. There are several large cotton storage warehouses located on the left side of the road and the cotton gin is on the right.
The Sweet Water Cotton Gin has been in operation since 1870. William Jefferson Lewis began it on a nearby family farm. The operation was moved to its current location in 1927. The Lewis family still owns and operates the cotton gin. The Sweet Water Cotton Gin was upgraded in 1997. This upgrade included the installation of a new metal structure directly over the old 1927 traditional looking tin-covered gin building. A section of the old building extends from the north side of the new building.
The pictures in the slideshow above illustrate the complete ginning process and most of the pictures contain additional details about cotton ginning. These pictures were taken during the 2010 ginning season.
Sources: The Rentz Lewis Family & The Thomasville Times