In June, Bob Allen described his childhood growing up in Pacolet Mills, South Carolina, a unique mill community whose owners took an uncommon interest in the lives of its employees and inhabitants. We were not able to go into detail about Pacolet during his interview, but Mr. Allen spoke fondly of his upbringing there and he allowed us to borrow his copy of the Pacolet Manufacturing Company book. Below, we share our favorite images from this publication.
Owner Capt. John Montgomery wanted Pacolet to be a model community. Its homes and facilities were the most modern ones available, but it was Montgomery’s interest in the “human factor” that made Pacolet different from other mill villages.
Capt. Montgomery, and later his son, Victor Montgomery, established clubs and activities with the goal of creating good citizens for the State of South Carolina. They built their own schools and hired their own teachers. These schools were considered among the best in the state. To further eradicate illiteracy, there were also night literacy programs for adults.
The manufacturing company ran its own store, bank, hotel and YMCA. They had a medical clinic staffed with a doctor and nurses. The resident doctor, Dr. Robert Hill, served there for 35 years and was a beloved member of the community. Whatever the needs of the community, Pacolet seemingly provided it. They even staffed a horticulturalist.
Pacolet was dedicated to helping mothers work if they desired. The mill management set up a day nursery that cared for 8,500 children daily, making 6,000 annual days’ work possible for mothers. The nursery was fully funded by Pacolet Mills Manufacturing.
If you are interested in learning more about Pacolet Mills, visit the Pacolet Memories website. There, you will find a collection of photographs, written accounts, and articles chronicling the history of the mill village.