Glendale Mill – Glendale, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Spartanburg County Photos  |  Glendale Mill

The story of Glendale 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 Tower

Kathy Dickerson of Greenwood, 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 Ruins

Vincent Flores of Greer, 2011 © 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

Susan Buckley of Charleston © 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 SC

Oakley Coburn of Spartanburg, 2011 © 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 founded 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

Susan Buckley of Charleston © 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. 

Glendale Spartanburg

Susan Buckley of Charleston © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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 Mill Spartanburg County

Susan Buckley of Charleston © 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 above. Today the site serves as the Goodall Environmental Studies Center at nearby Wofford College. The center 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 © 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!

Glendale Ruins

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

Glendale Mill Info

Address: Glendale Avenue, Glendale, SC 29346

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!

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4 Comments about Glendale Mill

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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