Moving material was a problem from
the very beginning of the mill. It was necessary to
bring in the raw cotton, in the form of bales, to be
made into cloth. In turn, the finished cotton cloth had
to be sent out to world markets. In the beginning, the
cotton bales were transported from the railroad in Pacolet Station on big
horse or mule drawn wagons over dirt roads. This was
difficult when the roads were dry and almost impossible
when the roads were wet. Probably in the beginning, some
cotton was also brought directly from local gins to the
mill. The finished cloth, usually in the form of rolls,
was also taken from the mill back to the railroad at Pacolet Station in
wagons and faced the same problem with the roads.
A cotton wagon - not
Another cotton wagon - not in Pacolet
Moving cotton - not in Pacolet
Since the mill used a great deal of cotton and made
lots of cloth, transportation proved to be a continuous
problem. A solution was found about 1903. A railroad
spur was built from Pacolet Station to serve the mills
and the warehouses at Pacolet
Mills. This was a great success and the “Dummy
Line” was in service until the mills closed in 1983.
A copy of the agreement and contract between the
Southern Railway and Pacolet Mills can be seen at “Dummy Line”. This
also has blueprints of the construction drawings and a
map of the route of the line. This rare document is used
with the courtesy of the Pacolet Museum.
The red lines on the following map views show the route
of the Dummy Line between Pacolet and Pacolet Mills. The
view on the left is from a satellite view and the one on
the right is from a topographic map.
There was an article in the Spartanburg Herald- Journal
on Feb. 6, 1954 about the "Dummy Line". This was on the
occasion that the locomotive was being upgraded. There
were several different locomotives used on the line.
Probably the most popular with the public, especially
the little boys, were the steam engines that were
still being used used in the 1940's and early 1950's.
The engineer described in the story, Mr. I. W.
(Dub) White was also the engineer of the steam
engines in the 1940's.
When the mills at Pacolet
closed, there was no longer a use for a train. The
Dummy was taken out of service and most of the track
was removed. Click on The
Last Dummy Engine to see photographs of the
About the only trace left of
the Dummy tracks is an underpass that was known
as "The Cat Hole". This allowed automobiles to
pass underneath the elevated part of the track
that went up to the boiler room on the Hotel Hill. What is left
of the "Cat Hole " is shown above.