The Upstate of South Carolina has a rich history of textile manufacturing. The bustling downtowns and sprawling urban communities in and around Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson counties highlight the benefits of this heritage. Where there were mills, there was community. For over a hundred years, the mills brought jobs and built infrastructure, schools, churches and playgrounds.
When textile manufacturing began to be outsourced overseas, the mills were abandoned and the populations of entire towns became unemployed almost overnight. Once vibrant communities have now been in decline for 30 to 40 years. But despite the loss of sustenance and the ensuing poverty, the tenuous thread of community has remained and is now inching its way toward reinvention and revitalization.