South Carolina Picture Project

Abney Mill — Anderson, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Anderson County  |  Abney Mill

This deteriorating textile mill was the first cotton manufacturing plant established in Anderson. Founded in 1888 as Anderson Cotton Mills, it began operations in 1890 using steam power.

Anderson Cotton Mill Tower

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

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, a year earlier – 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 in Oconee County. The Embler Home, which housed the mill’s supervisor, stood across from the plant throughout the twentieth century. Sadly, the Embler Home burned in 2015.

Anderson Cotton Mill

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

Following Abney’s death in 1942, F.E. Grier took over the textile factory, 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 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.

Reflections on the Anderson Cotton Mill

Lynn McKinney McDaniel, who contributed the historic photo below, writes, “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 1950s.”

Anderson Mill Abney Weave Room

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

Abney Mill Info

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

Abney Mill Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you enjoy this page? Do you have any information we should add? Send us your comments below — we can't wait to hear from you!

6 Comments about Abney Mill

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
May 26th, 2018 at 12:00 pm

What a great life, thank you so much for sharing your memories with us! What was your favorite thing at the mill as a kid?

Jason C.C.C. TreadwayNo Gravatar says:
May 26th, 2018 at 6:05 am

I lived with my grandparents on G Street until I was six years old, then I stayed with them every summer until I was 11. The old mill was the heart of the community, walked by it many times, visited the old company store many times with my grandmother. Very fond memories!

I wandered as an adult, living in NYC (worked on Wall Street) and lived worked many years in Washington, D.C. as a lawyer but I never lost my early Abney memories. Sometimes I try to recall and relive those memories.

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????


Join Us on Facebook
Search for Landmarks


Abbeville ACE Basin Aiken Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cayce Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Fort Mill Fountain Inn Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Honea Path Hopkins Huger Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Jamestown Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Manning Marion McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinopolis Plantations Pomaria Port Royal Post Offices Ravenel Restaurants Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Troy Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Waterfalls Water Towers West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Yemassee York