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From Cotton to Cloth
A Photographic Scrapbook of the
Anderson Cotton Mill 1951

This scrapbook from our collection offers a fascinating insight into the lives and work of those men, women and children of the Anderson Cotton Mill in 1951. The book was written and photographed by Clyde C. Cole, an Anderson photographer and one time employee of the Anderson Cotton Mill. It takes us on a step by step journey from the cotton field to the end of shift at the Anderson Cotton Mill and offers a chance to look back into the heyday of the textile industry in South Carolina.

A Brief History of the Anderson Cotton Mill

Founded in 1888 by a five man board, the Anderson Cotton Mills was the first cotton manufacturing plant established in Anderson. In 1902 it was the first textile plant in the United States to operate wholly on long distance electrical current, generated by the Portman Shoals Dam. It was purchased by J.P. Abney and the Abney Textile Company of Greenwood in 1937 and was the final textile mill operated by the Abney group when it was sold to ABC Industries in 1979. From 1980 to 1983 it was operated by ABC Industries when it was sold to Harris Coller who sold it to Jason Inc. of Milwaukee in 1989. 


In 1990 Jason Inc. ceased all textile production in the mill, part of a growing loss of the textile industry in the United States. From 1991 to 1995 part of the building operated as a recycling facility until on the night of Thursday, April 20th, 1995 the Anderson Cotton Mill burned to the ground under unknown circumstances. 


The Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum’s collections hold vast records on the Anderson Cotton Mill and the textile industry in the state and this is just the first step toward digitizing and preserving our shared textile heritage with you.

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