Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Geography

Major Professor

Thomas L. Bell

Committee Members

Margaret Gripshover, John Rehder

Abstract

While the textile mill and the textile mill village were once prominent features of the landscape of the American South, textile mills are rapidly falling into disuse. Because the mill village housing stocks were sold by owners of the mills to their employees in the 1950s and 1960s, the fate of the mill villages was, in part, divorced from the fate of the textile industry. This thesis demonstrates that mill villages are not abandoned after plant closures and explains why residents remain. This is achieved through a history of South Carolina’s mill villages, a quantitative analysis of Spartanburg County, South Carolina’s mill village housing stock, and the case of Piedmont, South Carolina. The study concludes that the mill villages of Upstate South Carolina became bedroom communities rather than ghost towns.

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