Slobot About Town XCIX:

Mill Mania, pt. 05!

Slobot awoke to find himself in the tummy of a tremendous and twisted tree.

Not seeing his shadow, Slobot ventured forth.

Slobot soon discovered that he had spent the night along the banks of Island - or Doublebranch - Creek.

The ruins stacked high along the creek belong to the former Mary Louise Mill.

Mary Louise was originally built ~1885 by one Buddy Cash.

The mill, not yet having acquired the name Mary Louise, would - at that time - be known as Island Creek or Huckleberry Mill.

~1900 the mill would be sold to W. E. Watkins, who would rename the mill Mary Louise, after his daughter.

The original mill would be largely destroyed in the 1903 flood. It would be rebuilt and would reopen shortly before 1910. The mill would close in 1932 only to reopen in 1940 as Mayo Mill. The mill would change hands several times over the years, eventually closing production for good in 1976. The mill would be destroyed by fire on February 21, 2000. Aric Lee Auman, then 21, and a minor companion would be charged with using a homemade torch to start the fire.

Slobot soon made his way from Mayo to Cowpens.

There Slobot spied a big brick building.

Slobot admired the building...

and loved its architecture.

From his windowsill perch...

Slobot spied a tower.

The tower belonged to the old Cowpens Mill!

The Cowpens Manufacturing Company would organize in 1889.

A walk-out by the majority of the mill's night shift would take place on Monday April 30, 1934. The strike by the Cowpens local of the United Textile Workers of America would not end until May 15, 1934.

In 1936 the mill would temporarily close due to "uncertain conditions of the textile market" and then go bankrupt in 1937.

The mill would open and close sporadically throughout the next two decades until 1955 when the mill would finally cease to manufacture textiles.

In 1973 David Peeler would purchase the old mill. One of Peeler's tenants at the mill would be Unisphere Chemical Corporation. Unisphere would recycle acetone and manufacture textile chemicals, lubricants and agricultural emulsifiers at the site. When Unisphere closed the operation after a 1978 fire, they would forget to take their waste pit of metals and organic chemicals with them.

On Tuesday March 30, 1999 a garage fire at an Ashley Street home would spark a fire that would destroy the Cowpens Mill.

From ruins in Cowpens Slobot made his way to ruins on the Middle Tyger River. The Middle Tyger ruins are the rubble and remains of the former Fairmont Mill.

Fairmont began life as Crawfordsville in honor of local resident John Crawford in 1847.

Dr. James Bivings had originally come to Spartanburg in 1835 to form the Bivingsville Cotton Manufacturing Company, which would later be known as Glendale Mills.

The Crawfordsville Mill would see renovation and expansion in the course of the ensuing decades, particularly in the wake of the 1903 flood.

In 1856 the Bivings family would sell the mill. Over the years it would change hands and eventually be renamed Fairmont during the 1870s or '80s.

The Buffalo Manufacturing Corporation would purchase the property in 1927 and continue operations there until 1957. In that year Reeves Brothers would purchase the property. Then, in 1958, Richard Knerr and Arthur “Spud” Melin, the founders of Wham-O, would release the first Hula-Hoop. Hula-Hoops would go gangbusters and Fairmont would become one of many Hula-Hoop manufacturers.

Fairmont would cease manufacturing operations in 1962 after having been purchased for use as warehousing by Lyman Printing and Finishing Company. Fairmont met its definitive end in 1977 when it was consumed by fire.

Slobot would like to thank the Cowpens Police Department; the communities of Cowpens, Mayo, Mary Louise and Fairmont and YOU!