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Apalache Mill textile strike photograph

 Item — Box: Single File Collections Box 5: 2015-2017
Identifier: SCPL-2015-018

Content Description

One original photographic print depicting an area outside Apalache Mill with the cars of a "flying squadron" from Spartanburg during the general textile strike of 1934. Image was originally published by Acme News Pictures. The photograph was touched up with pigments apparently for reproduction in a publication.


  • 1934-09-05

Conditions Governing Access

This item is available by appointment only. Please contact the Kennedy Room for more information.

Biographical / Historical

Apalache Mill was one of the first five textile mills located in the Upstate. Located in Greer, SC on the South Tyger River, the mill operated from 1837 to 2007 under numerous partnerships. The mill, originally called Cedar Hill Factory, was founded by Rev. Thomas Hutchings, a Rhode Islander who had come to South Carolina in 1816 and been a part of founding numerous mills in Spartanburg and Greenville. The mill was also called Wallace Factory and Arlington before being named Apalache Mill in 1902. It was in 1902 that the mill was bought by Lewis Parker, who had a new mill built on the site and a dam was built that resulted in the creation of Lake Apalache.

In 1934, the largest labor strike in the US occurred. The strike occurred due to a combination of years of mill owners increasing workloads without increasing pay due to overproduction lowering prices, the Great Depression, and President Roosevelt creating the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) which was supposed to regulate the textile industry. The frustration from the lack of change promised by the NIRA prompted a nationwide textile workers labor strike that started on Labor Day. In South Carolina, about 43,000 people participated in the strike and shut down two-thirds of the state’s two hundred textile mills. Mills like Apalache, which only had a small number of people in the union, were targeted by the unions and their “flying squadrons.” The flying squadrons were groups of union organizers, sometimes armed, that would drive from mill to mill to enforce the strike. At the Apalache Mill, the local union organizers tried to get the mill’s keys from the Outside Superintendent and were refused. So, the flying squadron came to the mill and stormed the building, shutting the mill down through force. The National Guard was called in, like in many places during the strike, and the union failed to organize itself enough to maintain the strike. The nationwide strike was called off on September 22 with very little gained and with many strikers finding themselves unemployed.


1 Photographic Prints (1 legal sized folder)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Single File Collections Box 5: 2015-2017

Further Readings

- "NRHP nomination for Apalache Mill". South Carolina SHPO. Retrieved 2018-12-13.

- "General Textile Strike". South Carolina Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2018-12-13.

Condition Description

Right edge of print is cut short and some marks from a grease pencil have transferred onto the surface of the print.

Apalache Mill textile strike photograph
Harrison Gage
December 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kennedy Room of Local History and Genealogy Repository

151 S. Church St.
Spartanburg SC 29306 United States