The archaeological significance of the site of the twentieth century Pelham Mills factory and its nineteenth century precedents is that this resource embodies physical evidence of the birth and growth of the piedmont textile industry, which has been one of the major shapers of South Carolina’s present economic, social, demographic, and landscape character. The ruins of Pelham Mills and its precedents are the remnants of a cotton factory which operated under several different owners from 1820 to 1935 on the Enoree River. The ruins describe a complex series of stone and brick foundations which span a floodplain, rock shoals, and terrace overlooking the river. In addition to the foundations, which are both free-standing and incorporated into local landforms, the site includes the bases of two steam smokestacks and a number of ditches and depressions associated originally with underground pipes, drains, and turbines at the cotton factory; nine brick pilings which supported the water turbine-driven shaft(s) that powered the mill’s spinning machinery; the foundation enclosed turbine area and corner wall of the mill’s main powerhouse; a large, cement slab floor and vat associated with the mill’s main steam generator; a large mortared stone dam with six sluice gates, spanning the Enoree River; and a channelized stream with stone-reinforced sides. Listed in the National Register November 19, 1987.I will post present day pictures of the described ruins in another blog. All 123 pictures of the Pelham office,dam ruins, and the dam are in this flickr set.
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