Pacolet River

In colonial times, roads were almost non existent and much travel was done by water. Even though it had several shoals, the Pacolet River was an attraction for early settlers. The river rises on the slopes of the Blue Ridge in North Carolina. The two branches of the river join in northern Spartanburg County. It then flows in a southeastern  direction for a distance of about 50 miles until it empties into the Broad River in Union County. Grindal Shoals is on the river. The shoals or fords where people and wagons could cross were very important places. In addition to Grindal Shoals there were several others.

Skull Shoals is on the River in Union and Cherokee Counties.  It is about seven or eight downstream from Grindal Shoals. A church and community was started here before the Revolution.

Easterwood Shoals or Ford is on the river about five or six miles upstream from Grindal Shoals. The ford is also about two or three miles downstream from the present town of Pacolet Mills. Tarleton and his army crossed at this ford in the early morning of January 16, 1781, the day before the battle of Cowpens. The Pacolet River was used for transporting farm products, particularly cotton, down to Columbia in the period between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Long, flat bottomed boats were used. The Mills Atlas map of 1825 shows Easterwood Shoals as being the upper limit of navigation of these boats on the river.

Trough Shoals (Troft Shoals) was on  the Pacolet River about eight or nine miles upstream from Grindal Shoals. A town was established here when a textile mill was built at the shoals about 1882. The name of the town was changed to Pacolet Mills in 1930.

Hurricane Shoals is on the river in what is now Spartanburg County. The Georgia Road crossed the river here. Later became the site of the town of Clifton.

The Bridges across the Pacolet River have been very important to the people of the Pacolet area. Click on this link to read about these bridges.

In 1903 a devastating flood happened on the Pacolet River. It killed many people and did incredible damage. Click on this link to read about this flood.

There was a place in the river at Pacolet Mills known simply as "The Island" that was very important to many of the boys of the community. Click on that link to read more.

There are two important initiatives about the river that have been proposed. Both of these would help develop tourism in Pacolet and stimulate the economy. Click on the links below for more information.
Scenic River Proposal
USDA Grant

Information and photos have been received about building a railroad bridge across the Pacolet River in 1909. Click on this link Rail Road Bridge to read more.
Return to Pacolet Homepage

This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Pacolet. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is me, Gerald Teaster.  Contact me at: or by telephone at (843) 873-8117.  My regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485

See more information about my Pacolet connection at Gerald Teaster.