South Carolina

Anderson Cotton Mill – Anderson, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Anderson County Photos  |  Anderson Cotton Mill

This deteriorating textile mill was the first cotton manufacturing plant established in Anderson. The mill was founded in 1888 as Anderson Cotton Mills and began operations in 1890 using steam power. In 1894 Anderson native William C. Whitner installed a 5,000-volt alternating current generator along High Shoals in the Rocky River to power water pumps for the Anderson Water, Light and Power Company. Following the success of the generator, in 1897, Whitner designed a 10,000-volt generator along Portman Shoals on the Seneca River. The power station, located 11 miles from town, then began powering the Anderson Cotton Mill, which became the first textile mill in the South to receive electricity transmitted over long-distance power lines from a commercial generator. However, in 1896, nearby Pelzer Mill was the first mill to receive electricity transmitted through a cable. The power plant supplying Pelzer Mill with electricity was four miles away from the mill.

Abney Mill

Pete Lawrence of Sumter, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Anderson Cotton Mill was later purchased by Greenwood textile magnate John Pope Abney, who also acquired several other South Carolina textile plants, including Newry Mill. The Embler Home, which housed the mill supervisor, stood across from the mill throughout the twentieth century. Sadly, the Embler Home burned in 2015.

Anderson Cotton Mill Tower

Jo Anne Keasler of Greenville, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Following Abney’s death in 1942, F.E. Grier took over Abney Mills, as per Abney’s wishes. He then renamed several plants “Abney Mills,” including Anderson Cotton Mill. Abney Mills in Anderson closed in 1991 after a century of production. However, a charitable foundation started in 1957 by Abney’s wife, Susie Matthews Abney, continues to award grants to serve communities throughout South Carolina long after her death in 1969.

Anderson Cotton Mill

John Jensen of Charleston, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on the Anderson Cotton Mill

Contributor of the historic photo below, Lynn McKinney McDaniel, says: “I found this picture in my grandmother’s collection. It is an undated photo of the Abney weave room, likely between 1940-1950 when my grandfather, B.F. Hollingsworth, was working there. My mother and aunt,Mary Hollingsworth McKinney and Nellie Sue Hollingsworth Kinley, identified it.They worked there as teenagers in the 1950’s.”

Anderson Mill Abney Weave Room

Lynn McKinney McDaniel of Anderson, 1940-1950 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Add your own reflections here.

Anderson Cotton Mill Info

Address: Glenn Street, Anderson, SC 29625
GPS Coordinates: 34.506301,-82.657111

Anderson Cotton Mill Map

Anderson Cotton 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 Anderson Cotton 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!


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!

4 Comments about Anderson Cotton Mill

Miriam AbneyNo Gravatar says:
August 4th, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Thank you for sharing, John Pope Abney was my Great Grandfather. I am always fascinated to learn more about the mills and to see such wonderful pictures!

Emma DalrympleNo Gravatar says:
September 1st, 2016 at 9:40 pm

I am not a native of Anderson (a northern-born Yankee with Anderson roots), but I have lived in the mill hill area for several years now, love it. I do enjoy seeing all the photos of how things were, years ago. PLEASE keep sharing the pics and oral histories. I enjoy reading about what life here was like, years ago.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
March 29th, 2016 at 7:47 am

Feel free to copy the link and share on Facebook!

Lecey Wood says:
March 28th, 2016 at 2:37 am

Why can’t we share these pictures on Facebook????

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