With the help of our friends in the “Save Acworth History” Facebook Group we know now the history of the “Old Stilesboro Road” letterpress. It all started with former Acworth and Kennesaw resident, Sam Galloway who passed on in 1987. (Pictured below circa 1970)
Sam had a print shop that he moved several times in and around Kennesaw and Acworth at various times. According to his son James (Jimmy) Galloway, letterpress printing was in Sam Galloway’s blood. He worked for many years for the Cartersville Tribune as a photo engraver. In the early 1960’s the printing industry was going through a major technological change, as more and more shops started using offset printing. Offset in the printing and publishing industry was almost as major a change as was the introduction of cars over horse and buggies. Lots of shops went out of business and many a skilled pressman hung up their aprons. Sam Galloway was stubborn and not one to cotton to new ways. Several people told me that Sam never got used to daylight savings time. His clock always remained the same. He chose to retire from the newspaper and started working for the old Blair Chair factory in Marietta which was located in the what is now the Brumby lofts on Church street. Seeing an opportunity, Sam offered to print the tags that were attached to the upholstery under the seats. Sam found an old letterpress from the turn of the 20th century and parlayed it into a print shop business on the side. He printed hundreds of tags with drawings of the various chairs.
Sam and Clara’s home was on Old Stilesboro Road. They moved there in 1946. Their children, James, Faye (passed away 2007) and Betty went to Acworth Elementary School. Betty graduated from North Cobb High School. Sam set up a print shop and ran a grocery store on Old 41 Highway between Kennesaw and Acworth to do general printing for local businesses and the public. Betty met her future husband Don at the store. Don’s grandfather T.W Arnold was the previous owner of the store. In the 1970’s Sam and Clara sold the store. James also moved nearby in a house on Stilesboro. Sam and James were planning to set up a father and son shop in Acworth, and purchased a second press, slightly smaller for James. In 1985 Sam moved up to a house outside Summerville and took his press and most of the type up there. James told us how they removed the back end of the ½ ton press and laid it down in the bed of the truck on a pile of papers. That press is still in Summerville, but when Sam died in the late 1980’s and James and his wife Nena moved up to Summerville to take care of his mother, his press had to be left behind. Without Sam, there was no way James could move it on his own. Planning on retrieving it someday, he had taken the press apart and moved it into the old shed, which is why the threads on many of the machines bolts were still loose when we brought it out to daylight. James Galloway saved the drawers of movable type that the Galloway print shop accumulated and has offered to donate the type and Sam’s press to the Red Onion Press.