Created By: Brandon Inabinet
Lewis Wardlaw Parker and Thomas Fleming Parker founded Monaghan Mill in 1900, three years later than Poe Mill. This mill stayed opened until 2001, unusual for a industry that faded decades earlier, but keeping intact this beautiful place that now houses loft apartments.
For the Parker cousins, the ideal mill village would be a model for the Upstate area of South Carolina. Named for their grandfather's hometown in Ireland, it was a common link between the cousin's past and a new future for South Carolina's immigrant children. The name was also fitting because they received financial support from their grandfather Thomas Fleming, and advice from the recent success of Francis W. Poe of the F.W. Poe Manufacturing Company.
In the 1910s, the Parker cousins left textiles and the Victor-Monaghan Company was formed. In 1946, Monaghan (among other mills) merged into J.P. Stevens Co., Inc. (SC Digital Library)
The entrance you see would be used all day and all night. Night workers often came from the first mill-owned high school, Parker High School. You can typically enter the foyer, look at major beams and still smell the industrial iron and wood--the smell of history!
Exiting the back, you are looking over the area where 500 workers at Monaghan Mill lived. If you worked at the mill you were able to live in a house for 25 cents per month as your rent. Houses lined the surrounding streets--Ravenal St., Moody St., Speed St., Thomas St., and most importantly, YMCA St.
As Mattie M. Harvell, a Monaghan Mill resident, claimed at the 2007 Reunion, “all activities at Monaghan centered around the Y.” They included skating, movies on Friday nights, basketball (girls and boys team), baseball, and tennis. The Y even had four shower stalls at the bottom of the YMCA building, which made the children so excited because they would get their hair washed and for a nickel they could get a bar of soap, washcloth, and a towel. Also, down at the cow pastures they had a golf course, overseen by Joey Shelton. The pool at these loft apartments today is not unlike the joy of this community on a hot summer day, heading to the golf course and Y!
Gladys S. Thackston, another Monaghan Mill resident, also gave an oral history at the Monaghan Mill Reunion of 2007. She recounted a time she was scared to work in the weaving room under Tom Hughes because he would show her what she did wrong and accuse her of making them lose money.
Still, she treasures the memories, even if they were hard labor under tough management. Neighbors would help, the work environments were good, and the community brought joy (Greenville News). Even now the people living around the area did not want to move because Monaghan Mill is their forever home.
The positive mill model at Monaghan inspired other mill communities, and left such a footprint on the Greenville community that the mill community still regularly gathers to share its history and relive "the good old days!"
"Monaghan Mill," SC History and Archives.
"Monaghan Mill," Greenville County Library System.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Milling Around Greenville, South Carolina