Holly Springs’ Cotton Compress was first established around 1890, at the intersection of College Avenue and Compress Street. The original Compress was built by several local businessmen, including John E. Anderson, H.O. Rand and I.C. Levy. Around 1900 the Compress was bought by two individuals from Memphis, Joe Newberger and R.L. Taylor, and renamed the Grenada Compress and Warehouse Company. At this time several of the massive cotton sheds were built around the original compress building.
In 1924 the Compress was reorganized as the Federal Compress and Warehouse Company. In 1933, the northernmost two sheds were built, along with a sprinkler system. The Compress was the most important local industry for many decades. Countless bales of cotton were compressed here and made ready for shipping, and many locals can still remember the sounds of the compress ringing throughout the town. Cotton is no longer king in Marshall County, and the Compress has been shut down for several decades.
The Compress was listed on our 2016 Top Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties in Holly Springs. On March 22, 2016, the Holly Springs Historic Preservation Committee issued a Certificate of Appropriateness which allows the current owners and developers to completely dismantle and raze the Compress. The HPC strongly suggested that the owners retain a portion of the Compress, along with a historic marker, in order to preserve at least part of the historic character of the Depot Compress Historic District. The owners have discussed donating part of the Compress area to the City of Holly Springs as a public park.
In late 2016, much of the Compress was destroyed, with a few walls remaining standing among the rubble.