HISTORY 41: AMERICA, 1820-1890


This tour focuses on representative buildings and sites in the period from about 1865 to 1900. Try to analyze these sites in terms of their relationship to each other and their similarities to comparable sites in the the North.

1. Monaghan Mills

This mill complex was built in 1900. Thomas F. Parker organized the company and served as the first president. Typical of mill complexes, the company built and provided the surrounding houses for their workers. Mill workers were known as "lint-heads" because of the cotton lint which would stick in their hair when working the looms. Each house was divided among two families. The mill controlled nearly every aspect of their workers' lives. The mill paid the workers in company scrip and then required them to shop in stores owned and operated by the mill. When looking at the mill's architecture and its relationships to the worker's homes, ask yourself how the complex reflects both the Old and New South.

2. Mattoon Presbyterian Church

This church was organized with the help of First Presbyterian church leaders in 1878 after the church's black members decided to form their own congregation. The present structure takes its name from its black organizer, the Reverend S.M. Mattoon. It was completed in 1887.

3. 321 Hampton Street

This entire neighborhood was originally the grounds and gardens of the McBee family estate. In 1890 the family subdivided the property and began selling parcels to wealthy individuals. A trolley line began serving the neighborhood in 1895. This house was built circa 1890.

4. Morgan-James House

Constructed in 1895, this home is in the Eastlake style. Consider the contrast between this home and the old McBee house from the first tour. Consider the different social statements the designers and owners tried to make with each dwelling.

6. Wilkins House

This house (currently the Jones-Brashier Funeral Home) was built by local entrepreneur James Cagle circa 1868 in the Second Empire Style.

7. Lanneau-Norwood House

This Second Empire style house was constructed in the early 1870s for Charles Lanneau. Lanneau, a Frenchman, originally made his fortune trading with the Union and the Confederates. After the war he built two textile mills and became involved in this rapidly growing industry. The home was bought in 1910 by J.W. Norwood, a banker. In the 1920s, Norwood and Monahgen Mills president, Thomas Parker, provided the financial backing needed for the creation of the Greenville Public Library. In what ways does the design of this and the previous houses reflect the prevailing values of the era?

8. Pelzer Manufacturing Company, Lower Plant

The Pelzer complex was completed in 1882 by the partners F.J. Pelzer, William Lebby, and Ellison Smythe. Since Pelzer supplied most of the intial $400,000 capital investment the village was given his name. From the gas station walk back along S.C. 8 for a closer look at the dam on the left and the power plant and mill on the right. The power plant was one of Duke Power's first hydroelectric installations, and was connected to one of the earliest long distance transmission lines in the nation. This mill was also the first in the nation to install incandescent lights. To the right of the mill is the old Pelzer train station, the life line of the mill. The mill received supplies and shipped its freight at a.cost of $200,000 a year on the Columbia & Greenville Railroad tracks you see in front of you.

9. Pelzer Mill Village

Look closely at the mill worker's homes. Like the Monaghan Mills Complex, this village was also built by the mill company. The workers were recruitted from the Appalachian foothills and the mountain country. Those houses with brick pier foundations are the oldest homes in the village. What is the significance of the form and function of these structures?

10. Pelzer Complex

Each major area of the mill village can be seen from the parking lot. Look first at the upper mill, with its striking observation towers constructed in the late 1880s. Turning counterclockwise, along Anderson Street, the houses facing the mill are the homes of the mill managers. Counterclockwise and down the hill are white-brick company stores, where mill workers shoped. Finally, the worker's houses, stretching from the store to the water and beyond the mills on both sides. Reflect on the capital requirements and the location of the mill complex.

11. Smythe House

This house was built in the early 1880s for the Charlestonian Capt. Ellison A. Smythe. After serving in the Confederate Army, Smythe joined forces with F.J. Pelzer, a Charleston friend, and became Pelzer Mill's first president and treasurer. Smythe was also involved in the newspaper and banking businesses. In addition to this residence, Smythe had a home in Greenville. He owned the Pelzer house until 1921, when he retired to his summer home in Hendersonville, North Carolina. His summer home, built in the 1830s, is a National Landmark, known by its latter inhabitant, author Carl Sandberg.