The families that worked in the mill could
rent a house from the Mill Company. The size of your house depended on the
size of your family and your position in the mill. There were several different
size houses. A large family might get a house with five rooms and a large
hall. A smaller family might get one with three rooms that was one end of
a duplex house. These houses had a separate entrance and porch at each end.
A medium size family might get a four room house, with no hall, by themselves.
There were numerous outside designs for the houses.
The first houses at Pacolet Mills were built when the Mills were
first constructed in the late 1800’s. By 1884, there were 62 houses
that had been built for the mill workers. These were later torn down to
make room for the houses that exist now. Most of the houses that can be
seen today were built between 1915 and 1920.
There was a group of houses in Victor Park
for supervisors and other specialty employees of the Company. These were
mostly large two story houses with large yards.
All of the houses were well maintained by workers hired by the
Company. There were teams of painters whose main jobs were to paint the houses
inside and out. There were also carpenters, plumbers and electricians that
handled any problems in their field.
The mill houses were probably more comfortable than the average
South Carolina house during the 1930's and 1940’s. All of the houses had
running water and inside toilet facilities. However, it was not until after
World War II in the late 1940’s that the houses were fitted with bathtubs.
Newspaper article from 1949 - Courtesy of Pacolet Museum
The original basic heat for the present houses was a coal fireplace
in each room. Every house had a coal pile and depended upon deliveries of
coal throughout the winter. Later, in the 1950’s, many houses had a coal
or oil heater connected to the fireplace.
The kitchen cook stove in most of the houses
at first, I think, used wood. Later these were changed to kerosene or electric
Air conditioning of the houses was not done until in the late
1950’s or 1960’s. At first, this was in the form of window air conditioning
units. Central air conditioning systems, when installed, did not happen
until after the houses were sold to the workers during the 1950’s.
Then, and now, wide sidewalks connected the houses all over the
town. Almost everybody took these for granted as we did the excellent system
of storm gutters and drains. The gutters and drains protected the town from
heavy rains. In the 1940’s a heavy rain would leave many Upcountry towns
in a sea of mud but that was not the case in Pacolet Mills.
The Pacolet Mills Historic District has been granted National
Historic Register Status for most of the former village and its houses.
Click on the link below for more information about this and access to more
pictures and information about Pacolet Mills houses.