Spartanburg Regional Museum
Here you’ll get an overview of more than two centuries of mill village life and see artifacts of Spartanburg County’s rich textile mill history. Hanging in the stairway is the original, immense bell from Riverdale Mills, which once tolled to wake workers for their shifts. You’ll also see a 500-pound bale of cotton, a steam whistle from the Beaumont plant, and an exhibition of “loonies,” the coins that workers once spent at their company stores. The museum’s exhibit includes weaving and spinning tools as well as photographs that stretch back to the early 1800s.
If you want to bring home a souvenir of Spartanburg cotton mill history, pick up a Glendale Mill Christmas ornament. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-5 pm, Sundays 1 pm-5 pm. Admission is free, donations appreciated.
On your way out of the building, ask at the reception desk to see the Mill Memory art project in a conference room on the Chapman Center’s first floor. Pickens County artist Ellen Kochansky used hundreds of pieces of memorabilia from local textile workers—shuttles, blueprints, photos, letters, scraps of cloth etc.—in a wall-mounted, 24-piece tribute to more than 100 years of textile history. Each square tells a different part of textile history, from mill housing to politics to baseball teams.