The Cotton District gets its name from the historic cotton mill that existed on the land before the housing development. The cotton mill was built in 1926 by the Sanders family, and through its development, houses for workers were added. These houses were located on 25 by 100 feet lots and consisted of very few rooms. When the cotton mill was in full production, the land grew to include stores, schools, and churches to accommodate the workers and their families. The cotton mill shut down in 1964 after scaling back production in the previous years. The majority of the houses were in need of repair, resulting in the district being included in plans for urban renewal across the City of Starkville.