South Carolina Picture Project

Glendale Mill – Glendale, South Carolina

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Glendale Mill

The story of Glendale on Lawson’s Fork Creek is similar to those of many other South Carolina mill towns. The textile industry thrived in the Upstate until after World War II, when the use of cheap foreign labor all but destroyed this Southern industry.

Glendale Mill Tower Spartanburg County

Mark Elbrecht of Greenville, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Glendale and its mill were not always known as Glendale. The story begins with Dr. James Bivings, who arrived in the Spartanburg area around 1830, bringing with him an entire crew of laborers. He started a cotton manufacturing company in 1831 and built the Bivingsville Mill and surrounding town of Bivingsville.

Glendale Mill Wofford Environmental Center

Thia Beniash of Ladson, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The mill was profitable under Bivings’ leadership until the late 1840s, when it struggled due to an economic downfall. Bivings and his business partners had a dispute around this time, and he decided to give up his stake in the mill and leave the area in 1854.

Glendale Mill Shoals

Mark Elbrecht of Greenville, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

After Dr. Bivings left, the mill fell into bankruptcy and was auctioned off in 1856 to a group of businessmen, one being Dexter Converse. Converse later founded D.E. Converse Company, bought out his business partners, and took over mill operations. Under Converse’s control the mill was successful again, and he renamed the town and mill Glendale in 1878 at his wife’s suggestion.

Glendale Mill

Susan Buckley of Charleston, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Converse not only expanded the operations at Glendale Mill, he also founded additional mills and was a stockholder of many others in South Carolina. However, his greatest contribution to our state may be the establishment of Converse College in Spartanburg. He helped found the school in 1890 so that his daughter could continue her education. Dexter Converse died in 1899, but Converse College continues to be a prestigious private women’s college.

Glendale Mill Spartanburg County

Susan Buckley of Charleston, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Like many manufacturing businesses in the United States, Glendale Mill struggled financially during the turn of the century and again during the Great Depression. World Wars I and II provided temporary production booms, but afterwards the textile industry in South Carolina diminished drastically. The most notable exception, of course, is Milliken & Company, also headquartered near Spartanburg. Milliken & Company remains a leader in fabrics and is considered to be among the most ethical companies in America.

Glendale Spartanburg

Susan Buckley of Charleston, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Glendale Mill changed ownership several more times but ultimately closed its doors in 1961. The mill burned on March 21, 2004, and all that remains are the ruins pictured here. Today the site serves as the Goodall Environmental Studies Center at nearby Wofford College. The center, seen in the second photo on the page, includes a garden and vineyard, a laboratory, a room that serves as a classroom and conference room, and an amphitheater (seen below).

Glendale Mill Amphitheater

Susan Buckley of Charleston, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Though the mill is gone, Glendale remains a populated community. To get a detailed history of the town, complete with plenty of great photos, please visit It is an excellent resource!

More Pictures of Glendale Mill

Glendale Mill Tower Spartanburg

Thia Beniash of Ladson, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Glendale Mill Bridge Spartanburg

Mark Elbrecht of Greenville, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Glendale Mill Spartanburg County

Thia Beniash of Ladson, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Glendale Mill Sunset

Thia Beniash of Ladson, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Glendale Mill Complex

Thia Beniash of Ladson, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Glendale Tower

Kathy Dickerson of Greenwood, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Glendale Mill Ruins

Vincent Flores of Greer, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on Glendale Mill

Contributor Stacey Gardner, whose photo can be seen above, says: “I went to Glendale Mill with my daughter on a hot day in June. I loved this place, such a beautiful park, and the ruins of the mill are so amazing.”

Add your own reflections here.

Glendale Mill Info

Address: Glendale Avenue, Glendale, SC 29346
GPS Coordinates: 34.942218,-81.838292

Glendale Mill Map

Glendale Mill – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Glendale Mill, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!

Please Share Your Thoughts!

The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!

5 Comments about Glendale Mill

Eva Vickers (I am, Henry & Eva Pettit's granddaughter)No Gravatar says:
February 3rd, 2017 at 8:35 am

I remember the mill very well. Frank Munoz ran Clarkson Brothers for many years out of Converse, Glendale, and for some reason I want to say it was Converse Clifton Mill. Frank was my step father and I would work with him at mill at the age of 12. I loved it, I really thought I was something. I love Frank, I am also very thankful to have had the experience of being in the Mills. Walking the oil soiled, creeky floors…

Judy Bettis says:
October 10th, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Absolutely beautiful, awesome photos!

Helen Leigh says:
October 9th, 2014 at 10:30 am

Beautiful pictures.

South Carolina says:
October 8th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Hello! The fire from December, 2012, was actually from nearby Saxon Mill.

Kizzy ClueNo Gravatar says:
December 12th, 2012 at 5:50 am

Well it burned this past Saturday. It was terrible and very big; I could see the red smoke from downtown.

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