Pacolet Station

This was the name of the community near the Spartanburg-Union railroad station. There was a community here before the coming of the railroad that had grown up around Tolleson's Tavern. This community was called Buzzards Roost. The railroad was built in the 1850's and the first train passed through what is now Pacolet on November 25, 1859. The coming of the railroad led to many changes in the area. One of the changes was that the name of the town was changed from Buzzards Roost to Pacolet Station because of the railroad depot that existed there. The town was incorporated on May 6, 1896. However, long before it was incorporated, the little town was important. During the Civil War, many Confederate  soldiers left for service from Pacolet Station. Many of these never lived to return.

Jim Turner grew up in Pacolet Station and graduated from Pacolet High School in the class of 1942. He now lives in Lodi, California. He has recently sent us a brief “Mystery History” of Pacolet. Station  The story was written by Anna Black Brooks and was passed on to Jim by his sister, Billie Turner Parker, of the PHS class of 1934.

It is not known when Mrs. Brooks wrote the article but it is very informative. It has been found that quite a bit of her material was used, word for word, in parts of the History of Pacolet, published for the Pacolet Area Centennial in 1983. However, as far as I can tell, no reference is made to Mrs. Brooks in the Pacolet History.


To add to the mystery, the online book site, Amazon.com, lists a booklet on Pacolet written by Mrs. Brooks, but is no longer available. It is not known if Jim’s copy of the article was the entire booklet - part of it - or something altogether different. 

Some online research has found that Anna Black Brooks was born on June 15, 1885 and died on Sept. 7, 1973. She was the wife of James Furman Brooks and is buried in the Pacolet Methodist Cemetery. We would certainly appreciate if anyone that knows about Mrs. Brooks and her story would contact us at gteaster@pacoletmemories.com

Her very interesting article can be read at Anna Black Brooks' Story of Pacolet History.


Once upon a time, Pacolet Station and Pacolet Mills were two distinctly different places. They had different economies and even different people. Much of the economy of Pacolet Station was dependent not only on the railroad but on the farmers in the area surrounding the town. The farmers came to the different stores in Pacolet Station to buy their supplies and groceries. In the fall, they also brought their cotton to the gin in Pacolet Station to be cleaned and baled. Also, many of the families in Pacolet Station and the farming area around it had been living in the vicinity for many generations. There had been schools in and around Pacolet Station since the late 1800’s and many of its residents were well educated and most could read and write.

The economy of Pacolet Mills, on the other hand, almost totally revolved around the work in the textile mills. Some of the folks that worked and lived at Pacolet Mills had families that had also lived in the area since before the Revolution. However, there were many that were newcomers to the Pacolet vicinity. They came from the mountains of North Carolina and all over the Upcountry Piedmont. Many of the newcomers, particularly those from the mountains, were not well educated or had never been to school at all. Schools were scarce in many parts of the mountains.

From what I have heard from folks, long gone, is that there was a sort of antagonism between the two communities -a “we versus they”. If I understood it right, Pacolet Station folks thought the newcomers were flooding in to change the community. They felt the workers had sold their souls to the mill company and were almost “wage slaves”. The mill workers, on the other hand, felt that the farmers and merchants of Pacolet Station were resistant to change and held up progress. They thought they "worshipped the almighty dollar."

It probably would have helped a great deal if the mill workers could have readily shopped at the stores in Pacolet Station but that was hard to do. The two communities were almost two miles apart. Few of the mill workers had cars up until after WWII. Also, the company store at Pacolet Mills, had a variety of products and also offered ready credit.

Fortunately, most of these old attitudes have almost totally disappeared today. Probably, no typical Pacolet teenager could tell you if he was from the “Pacolet Station mercantile culture” or from the “Pacolet Mills textile culture”.

I lived in Pacolet Station for about six months in 1942 when I was five years old. Click on this link to read what this was like.

Click on this link, to read about the Stores and other Commercial Activities in Pacolet Station over the years.

 
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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:
gteaster@pacoletmemories.com 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.