The well-preserved Beaumont factory is notable because during World War II, it was the first cotton mill in the nation to devote its entire production to the war effort. The plant’s employees won five coveted Army-Navy “E” awards for excellence in production of wartime materials. This plant made “duck” fabric—also known as canvas—in those years.
The first Beaumont factory was constructed here in 1890, and by 1907 three hundred men, women and children—most of whom moved here from the mountains and farms of North Carolina—ran the spindles and looms. Over the years, the mill owners built a mill village behind the plant, and hundreds of those houses still stand as the thriving, historic neighborhood of Beaumont.
At its height in the 1960s, Beaumont (then owned by Spartan Mills) employed more than 1,200 people in several factories on this site. Beaumont was one of many textile companies that closed at the end of the 20th century as foreign textile imports swamped the U.S. textile market; several buildings were torn down then.
The three-story main mill is now owned by Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, which is locating its administrative offices there in a $35 million purchase/renovation in 2016. Once completed, you will be able to walk into the lobby (on the back side of the building) and see displays associated with the local textile industry. The building also houses the offices of the Southern Conference, a Division 1 college athletic conference that includes Spartanburg’s Wofford College.