The Pacolet River Flood of 1903

On June 6, 1903, a great disaster struck the entire Pacolet River valley. It killed many people and did massive damage to the mills and the community. Click on this link, Pacolet Flood, to read more details. This account is based on Volume 1 of The History of Pacolet and articles from the Spartanburg newspaper.

There is another interesting account of the flood that was  in the  February, 1980, issue of Sandlapper magazine. The article, written by William M. Branham, can be read at The Great Freshet of 1903. We want to express our thanks to Sandlapper for the use of this article. Thanks also to Jim Turner for bringing this article to our attention and furnishing us a copy.

The following two photographs were taken looking towards the area of "The Flat". They were taken from two different locations and at slightly different times. The photos were taken from generally in the vicinity of where the Pacolet townhall and the Rescue Squad building is today.

The Pacolet River often flooded before the Great Flood. The photo below shows the high water in1901, only two years before. Note the covered bridge and the houses and structures near the people.  All of these were destroyed in 1903. The picture below was made in the same general vicinity as the two photos above.

Some of the stories published about the  flood proved to be inaccurate. One such story stated that Mary Ernest Massey was lost along with four of her children. Her grandaughter, Bobbie Mikesell, has written us to set this story straight. Read her account at Mary Ernest Massey.

Flood Monument

After a period of nearly 100 years, there is finally a monument to those lost and affected by the flood. On November 15, 2011 a monument to the victims was dedicated. The monument is located near the bridge that goes over the Pacolet River on Highway 29 near the former site of the Converse textile mill. The idea for the monument started with Gary Henderson, a former Spartanburg Herald Journal reporter. His grandfather witnessed the flood when he was 9 years old. Henderson had written several stories about the flood. The actual monument was built by artist Ron Longsdorf. Read the article on the monument from the Spartanburg Herald at  Flood Monument Article. See more photographs at Flood Monument.

Recent Photographs
Photographer Bob Johnson has recently photographed parts of Converse and Clifton that were affected by the flood as they look today. See his photos at Converse and Clifton.
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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.