Pendleton Oil Mill – Pendleton, South Carolina
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The Sittons have operated various businesses on this site in Pendleton since the Reconstruction. In the late 1860s, the family opened a cotton gin. Wanting to capitalize on the abundance of cotton seeds, they later constructed a cottonseed oil mill here sometime in the late nineteenth or very early twentieth century (cottonseed oil is used for cooking). A notice in a January 23, 1901 edition of the Greenwood Daily Journal mentions the sale of machinery to the Pendleton Oil Mill. Following World War II, the oil mill was altered to manufacture fertilizer and erosion control products. In 1934 A.J. Sitton bought nearby Central Roller Mills, which produced flour, feed, and cornmeal; he also operated that mill until it ceased operations in the 1980s.
The Pendleton Oil Mill continued to produce fertilizer and related products until the early 2000s. Today the building is decaying, and the Town of Pendleton has been trying to work with the mill’s current owner, John Sitton, to remove the structure from the site. The town claims the structure is hazardous, and signs around the property warn trespassers of its dangers. In July of 2015, part of the building crumbled into the adjacent Norfolk Southern rail line, temporarily halting rail service in Pendleton until the materials were removed. Understanding that razing the old oil mill would require professional demolition, the town has asked Sitton to sign over the property to the town, which could then try to access state or federal money for its safe removal. As of January 2017, Sitton has declined the town’s offers, claiming that he has been selling salvage material from the mill for years. However, Sitton also stated that the sale of materials has waned since the partial collapse in July of 2015.
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Address: 349 East Main Street, Pendleton, SC 29670
GPS Coordinates: 34.649455,-82.778059
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