This barn rests in Pacolet, a town in eastern Spartanburg County. Pacolet is a rural community along the Pacolet River and the former home of Pacolet Mills. There is dispute over the origin of the town’s name; many claim the name is a Cherokee word, others say it was the name of a French settler. Regardless of the source of the current name, the area was initially called Buzzard’s Roost in response to the once-popular sport of chicken fighting that was prominent here in the early nineteenth century. A railroad depot was established here in 1859 called Pacolet Station.
In 1881 textile magnate Captain John H. Montgomery purchased 350 acres near the Pacolet River and developed the Pacolet Manufacturing Company, which began operations in 1883. The factory incorporated three mills with a total of 53,424 spindles, making it the largest textile business in the county. Sadly, two of the company’s three mills were destroyed when the Pacolet River flooded on June 6, 1903. The flood remains the largest natural disaster ever to occur in Spartanburg County, killing at least 70 people, obliterating 600 residences, and leaving around 4,000 people jobless. Amazingly, the town – and mill – recovered, and by 1907 Pacolet Mills was back on top as a leading textile manufacturer in the South.
The manufacturing company was sold to another textile giant, Roger Milliken, in 1947 and operated as Deering Milliken until the name was changed to Milliken and Company in 1978. The plant closed in 1980. Former employees remained in Pacolet within their homes that had been part of the mill village, finding work elsehwere in the area, including the local stone quarries.
Leave a Reply