In looking for info
regarding Glendale’s dams, pond and bridges, I found and purchased
copies of two plats* at the Spartanburg County Registrar Means
Conveyance office which I found interesting and germane to my search.
One plat dated September 27, 1803 and another dated December 29, 1804
shows the upper and lower shoals on Lawson's
Fork. Neither shows a pond
or bridge at either of the shoals. Only the old
across Lawson's Fork at the upper
shoals is shown without any reference
to a bridge. The 1803 plat shows dots across the lower shoals which
perhaps indicate a horse and wagon crossing by forging the creek. One
of the land purchase deeds of Dr. Bivings
which I will be reporting in
a forthcoming article, refers to a wagon road which perhaps speaks of
A map of Spartanburgh (Original name of Spartanburg) District dated
1825 which I have seen as well as a 1887 map of Spartanburg county,
shows the old Georgia road passing the
Bagwell farm and Doctor Walker’s
home (who was one of Glendale’s Doctors) crossing Lawson's Fork about a
half mile above where the mill was later built, curving south, touching
the northern edge of the future Glendale mill village, continuing
northeastward to intersect with the Spartanburg/Charlotte highway.
Incidentally, the map shows that Dr. Russell, also a Glendale Doctor,
lived a short way up the creek from Dr. Walker. (Read more at Medical Care.)
With these records, as best as I have been able to determine, there was
neither a dam, pond or bridge in the mill/village area of
Bivingsville/Glendale until after the construction of The Bivingsville
Mfg. Company. (1832-35) (Read more at
Glendale Mill Story) A rock dam was
built by Dr. Bivings to provide sufficient continuous water supply for
the large water wheel which supplied energy for mill operations. The
dam was built on the lower shoals just below where the present concrete
dam now stands. The rock dam failed during the flood of 1903 and was
replaced by the concrete dam. (Read more
Lawson's Fork Flood).
For over a hundred years the Glendale
Mill pond had been a source of
fun, frolic and food. The Glendale Park which was built on the
the South Carolina Gas and Electric Co. in
the early 1900s, was called
“The Wood’s Park” by local residents. Visitors to the park traveled a
narrow dirt road from the village which ran along side of the creek to
the Park area. Mr. Jervey DuPre who was
with the Mill at that time,
later becoming President, tells us in one of his interviews that on the
week ends and holidays, the park was filled with visitors. Though it
was a popular spot and frequented by visitors from far and wide in the
early 1900s when it was in full swing, no real marks of the park’s
existence remains today.
Frozen over in the winter time, the pond furnished a huge ice skating
ring to the delight of all willing to dare its danger. In the hot days
of summer, a few boats with their occupants basking in the sun, could
seen floating along the still water and yes, some were swimming.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands of pounds of fish have been pulled from
it’s waters to be eaten. A few would be seen fishing from the bridge
walkway while occasionally, when Mr. Will Quinn the village policeman (Read more at Glendale Police.) wasn’t around, a
teenage boy would dare climb and walk the top rails of the bridge.
The pond which was once vital to the village, it’s industry and the
well being of it’s residents, is not near so deep or large as it once
was. Trees, vegetation, silt, logs, parts of the old wooden dam along
with the removal of the aprons have all contributed to the reduction of
the pond in size and depth. Except for an occasional rainy season
resulting in flash floods, the pond is normally quite and peaceful with
it’s white water overflowing the dam making it’s bank an ideal place of
repose and reflection.
The above picture shows the first bridge of which I have any record
crossing the waters of the Bivingsville/Glendale Mill Pond on Lawson's
Fork creek. Constructed sometime in the 1800s, it was a single lane
steel girder/truss, untreated wood floor structure and was located on
the stream where the present iron bridge stands today. Pedestrians
across the pond from the mill walking to or from the post office, mill
store, doctor’s office, mill and village walked with the traffic
crossing the bridge. There were some foot bridges which crossed the
stream behind the mill for employees from Gobblers Knob, Sutton Springs
and Bethesda road to walk over, coming to and going from work, if they
The temporary wooden dam shown in the foregoing picture, was built
following the failure of the old rock dam in order to construct the new
concrete dam which stands today. Note the curve on the right side of
the wooden dam which protrudes under the bridge. Water from this point
flowed into a sluice carrying water to the mill’s water wheel located
on the lower end of the mill plant. After the new dam was completed, a
huge treated wood tunnel called “the trunk” was built through which the
water to the wheel flowed, eliminating the open water sluice which
flowed under the steps entering Plant #3 and under the floors of Plant
#2. As I remember, the inside diameter of the trunk was about six feet.
I shall never forget the first time when as a young boy, (about 10 or
12) I went down to the wheel house with my cousin John
whose dad, J. Taylor Varner Sr. was Mill Master Mechanic when the
and trunk were built. The water was roaring out of the trunk like
Niagara Falls, the water wheel was churning and the water around it was
turbulent and looked angry to say the least. It was a frightful sight.
To tell you the truth, I remember being scared half to death!
The first iron bridge shown above was replaced around 1928 with
sections being used later to span Lawson's
Fork about 2 miles downstream
from the mill on the Thompson farm road which connected the Thompson
“ford” road (now Lewis Chapel/Goldmine road) with the Glendale/Bethesda
road (now Emma Cudd Road) just below the Bethesda
road has long since been closed but the bridge structure still stands.
Incidentally, my understanding is that when old roads had the word
“ford” attached, it indicated no bridge and that the steam had to be
A new much stronger two lane steel girder/truss, treated wood floor
bridge replaced the old one lane bridge about 1928. The new bridge
provided a pedestrian walkway on the right side entering the village
allowing pedestrians to cross the pond without walking in the road way
with traffic. I understand that the new bridge was raised slightly
higher above the water than the old bridge.
According to a news announcement in the Spartanburg Herald
16, 1933, the bridge was to be closed for three or four days while the
floor of the bridge was being surfaced treated. The Glendale/Clifton
road had been surfaced treated for the first time the year before. (Read more at Paving of Glendale Clifton Highway).
Spartanburg County Supervisor reported that suitable
detours had been mapped for the route. The program was launched to
protect the expensive timbers used in the bridge construction. He
stated that the treated timbers used in the bridge construction cost
about twice the price of ordinary timbers used in previous construction
and if the wood is protected by surfacing, the bridge floor would last
The County having relinquished the C30 road (Glendale/Clifton) and
bridge to the State Highway Department for supervision and maintenance
some years earlier, the State Highway Department on Saturday January
17, 1976 announced in the Spartanburg Herald and Journal that a public
meeting would be held in the Glendale
Elementary School cafeteria at 3
P.M. for the purpose of discussing the proposed design and location of
a new bridge to replace the old steel/wood structure. Related maps,
drawings and other pertinent data was to be made available for
inspection and copying.
The approach to the new bridge was to run straight from the curve at
the bottom of Highland Street’s exit
across the pond to connect
straight into the Glendale/Whitestone road. This would eliminate the
two dangerous curves around by the store in the approach to the old
bridge. It would also bypass the congested business/post
and the danger in the dip in the road in front of the stores on the
opposite side of the river from the mill. Tentative schedules for right
of way acquisitions and construction were to be discussed. Assistance
for displaced persons or businesses was also to be discussed and
Present Day Bridge
With all plans of the project approved and on “go” Saturday November 6,
1976, the S.C. Highway department announced in the Spartanburg
Journal that a contract for the construction of the
relocation of the road had been granted. Based on the lowest bid, the
Copeland Construction Co. of Orangeburg, S.C. was granted the contract.
The contract called for the construction of a 250 foot reinforced
concrete bridge over the Lawson Fork Creek mill pond and asphalt
concrete surfacing of .521 mile of approaches on Road S30 east of
Spartanburg. The contract was in the amount of $303,831 and allowed 230
days for completion of the project.
Today, the old iron bridge, though in bad disrepair, remains over the
waters of the mill pond as a pedestrian walkway. The original wood
floor pedestrian walkway has rotted out completely. After the fire
which destroyed the Glendale Mill plants and other related buildings,
the mill office and some surrounding land area were given to Wofford
College of Spartanburg, S. C. They have already
completed a beautiful job in the restoration of the mill office and the
surrounding grounds. It is my understanding that plans are to
and install lights on the bridge that it too might become another focal
point of interest and a place for community meetings, of which the
residents can be proud.
Click on this link The Mud Bridge for more
information about an often unnoticed Glendale Bridge.
Ode to the Old
seeking rest, Came to the Old Mill Pond, it was the best. May this old
pond for years to come, bring peace, joy and precious memories to
*References; Plat 77 recorded in Book A page 77, October 3, 1803,
Book of Deeds for W. R. Smith.
Plat 153 recorded in Book A page 153, December 29, 1804, Spartanburg
Registrar’s Book of Deeds for Charles Mathews.
Newspaper copies from Micro Film Dept. of Spartanburg County Library.
This web site has been started as a
public service to share the story of Glendale. The web master and
person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary
McKinney Teaster. Contact her at:
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. See
more information about Mary and her Glendale connection at Mary McKinney Teaster.