Newry Mill – Newry, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Oconee County Photos | Newry Mill
The dilapidated central section of the massive Courtenay Mill (also called Newry Mill) still towers over the abandoned textile plant that surrounds it. Water first turned one of the mill’s wheels on June 14, 1894, making Newry the first textile village in Oconee County.
Around 1905, steam engines and boilers were added to increase production. Today, the old mill and historic village linger along the Keowee River at the base of Duke Power Company’s dike impounding Lake Keowee.
The mill was established by William Ashmead Courtenay, a Charleston native who, during the Civil War, served as a captain of the Washington Light Infantry. He also made his mark as the Mayor of Charleston from 1879 to 1887 and, among other accomplishments, suggested the initiation of the South Carolina Historical Commission, which in 1967 became the SC Department of Archives.
When Captain Courtenay founded Courtenay Mill, he constructed 50 cottages and named the village Newry, after his grandfather’s birthplace in Ireland. Courtenay Mill merged with several other mills to form the Courtenay Manufacturing Company in 1946. At that time, the mill became known as Abney Mills, which closed in 1975. Prior to closure, workers from Abney Mills played textile league baseball in a field that was destroyed to modernize the Little River Dam on Lake Keowee.
Today, the mill and its village are known as the Newry Historic District, which is listed in the National Register. The district contains 118 buildings including the mill complex, a post office, a village church, and many residences all within 250 acres. The ruins of Innisfallen, the house of William Courtenay, can be found on the southwest ridge near the village.
Many Newry residents and visitors believe that the old mill could be haunted. Watch a video of two brave guys exploring the inside the mill!
Courtenay Mill is listed in the National Register as part of the Newry Historic District:
The Newry Historic District encompasses a textile mill village established at the turn of the century. Situated in a rural setting in the Little River Valley, the town of Newry is visually isolated by a series of surrounding ridges, dense forest, and a large earthen dam on Lake Keowee, which form the boundaries of the district. The district contains 118 properties including the mill complex, mill office, company store and post office, village church, and numerous workers residences, located within an area of approximately 250 acres. Courtenay Mill was constructed in a typical New England textile factory design. The design is attributed to W.B.S. Whaley.
Most of the buildings in Newry were built during the period 1893-1910 and are examples of the turn-of-the century genre of mill village design in South Carolina. These include the principal buildings of brick construction located adjacent to the town square, i.e., company store and post office located on the north side, and mill office on the south side. The village church with late Classical Revival style details is located on Broadway in the center of Newry. Sixty-nine houses are two-story duplexes with a catslide roof, eight houses are two-story single family residences. Other wood frame buildings include four larger two-story residences believed to have been originally occupied by mill supervisors, two one-story residences, one additional church and a recreation lodge. The ruin of Innisfallen, the Neo-Classical house built for mill founder, William A. Courtenay, is located on a ridge southwest from the village.
Newry Mill Info
Address: Broadway Road, Newry, SC 29665
Newry Mill Map
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