South Carolina

Hickman Hall – Graniteville, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Aiken County Photos  |  Hickman Hall

This Classical Revival building known as Hickman Memorial Hall – or Hickman Hall – was constructed in 1907 for the Graniteville Manufacturing Company. The company, also known as Graniteville Mill, began operations in 1849, and its surrounding community of Graniteville is considered the first large-scale mill village established in the South. The village was conceived by William Gregg, who received his charter for the cotton factory in December of 1845 and began construction on the town in 1846.

Hickman Hall

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Gregg’s vision of Graniteville, named for the local blue granite used to build the mill, included not just industry but also education and community. Gregg included a free school – Graniteville Academy – in his town plan and required his employees to send their children to school or face a fine. He also provided space for two churches in the village – St. John Methodist and First Baptist Church of Graniteville. Though considered paternalistic by historians for his ideals and treatment of his employees, Gregg was a believer in community, and the Graniteville community was almost entirely comprised of his mill workers.

Hickman Graniteville

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2006 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

When Gregg died on September 3, 1867, he was succeeded as company president by Hamilton H. Hickman, for whom Hickman Memorial Hall was named when it was built by Hickman’s son and successor, Tracy Hickman. The building housed an employment office for the mill as well as a community center, including a swimming pool, locker rooms for men and women, two bowling alleys, a library, and a dance hall.

Hickman Hall Graniteville

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In keeping with Gregg’s vision of creating not just a business but a community, the center was free to employees and their families and was central to social activities in the town during the early twentieth century.

Hickman Hall Aiken County

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

As a reporter for the Charleston News and Courier, August Kohn was asked to investigate the state of South Carolina cotton mills by the newspaper in 1902 and again in 1907. After touring the newly-opened Hickman Hall during his second tour, Kohn reported, “Without any exaggeration I regard this as the handsomest club house building of any in the State of South Carolina. I do not confine this observation to a club built for a corporation for the use of its operatives, but is is a handsomer building and it is better equipped, has more opportunities and facilities for healthful amusement and recreation than any other building in the State erected for club purposes.”

Hickman Hall Plaque

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The building has fallen into disrepair over the years, as has much of Graniteville following a devastating train wreck in 2005 that resulted in a chlorine spill and the subsequent deaths of nine people. The mill, which at the time was owned by Avondale Mills, closed in 2006, leaving the town in economic despair. However, in 2013 an Atlanta-based investment group called Graniteville Restoration Partners began revitalizing the historic village, including restoring Hickman Hall.

Graniteville Mill Water Tower

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The investors’ first project was painting the town’s iconic water tower, seen above, to include the original Gregg company symbol as well as the name of the town and the year it was chartered. The next project, currently in process, is to turn Hickman Hall into desirable office space and use part of it to house a historical society. Future plans also include beautifying the canal and vacant mill. Recleim Recycling Company recently located to Graniteville and is hoping to bring 200 jobs to the town. Graniteville is now on the verge of new life thanks to another visionary plan that encompasses its community.

Hickman Hall Restored

Charles Payne of Rock Hill, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Hickman Hall Info

Address: 110 Marshall Road, Graniteville, SC 29829
GPS Coordinates: 33.565770,-81.808060

Hickman Hall Map

Take Me There

Hickman Hall Info

Address: 110 Marshall Road, Graniteville, SC 29829
GPS Coordinates: 33.565770,-81.808060

Hickman Hall Map

Hickman Hall – 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 Hickman Hall, 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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One Comment about Hickman Hall

HopeNo Gravatar says:
August 7th, 2017 at 8:14 am

Does Hickman Hall rent out for parties? I am very interested in renting.


Hickman Hall - Related Entries

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