Est. in 1922 Re-established in 2015
1924. Calvin Coolidge is President. The economy is booming. In the South, textiles dominate manufacturing. Mills Mill, Camperdown, Brandon, Drayton, Greer, Dunean and Judson are just a few of the stars in the Upstate. All commodity processors, the value add was still mostly coming from factories up North. When construction finished in 1924, the Southern Bleachery changed all of that. Built as a finishing plant, it took the raw output of neighboring mills and converted them into fancy goods. And it was not just a factory. It was a campus. It included housing for workers and executives, churches, stores, baseball and basket ball teams, a 9-hole golf course — even a tennis court. The Southern Bleachery was also progressive. President Harry Stephenson was a magnanimous leader and worker riots that plagued other Mills were absent. During the Great Depression, when many textile mills shuttered operations, the Southern Bleachery confronted the drop in demand by spreading work among existing employees rather than firing them. When the US entered World War II, the Bleachery switched production to supply the war effort. While the Southern Bleachery survived social unrest, the Great Depression, and a World War, it could not compete against globalization, third world labor rates and cheap foreign imports. In 1967, the Southern Bleachery closed. Area businesses dried up, homes were auctioned, and the story of the once thriving mill community seemed to end.
2007. Kenneth and Ruby Walker were the first to imagine a new beginning for the overgrown and abandoned Southern Bleachery. It was immense. Nearly 1,000,000 Sq.Ft that included the main building and numerous outbuildings. Boarded over in places, open to the sky and elements in others, much of the property was overtaken by nature. The Walker’s saw beauty in the overgrowth and vegetation against the huge factory windows. And they saw potential for the vast interior spaces to once again see life. Not factory laborers, but artists, craftsmen, hobbyists, small business, and entrepreneurs. The new beginning deserved a new name. Taylors Mill was born. Lawrence and Ashleigh Black were so inspired by the Walker’s vision and personal story they signed up for the project. Seeing how many of the old beautiful mills were being turned into apartment buildings, accessible only to those who could pay the high rents, the Blacks went in the opposite direction. They envisioned a development people could enjoy. A place of celebration, community, and culture. A place for events. Large or small. They started with a wedding venue that opened in 2015 and chose the name Southern Bleachery to pay homage to the historic mill community and to commemorate the first step in its revival. Since then, they have expanded their passion for events to the entire western half of the mill. A multi-venue festival grounds on 15+ acres with four historic buildings rehabilitated to National Park Service standards, walking trails, rocking chairs, a hammock park and an old truck serving concessions. Come experience the rebirth of a bustling community.