Clifton in Spartanburg County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Clifton Baptist Church / First Baptist Church
Erected 2005 by The Congregation. (Marker Number 42-27.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Churches & Religion. A significant historical year for this entry is 1881.
Location. 34° Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 551 Hawk Hill Road, Clifton SC 29324, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Clifton World War II Memorial (a few steps from this marker); The Pacolet River Flood of 1903 (approx. 0.8 miles away); Cowpens Depot (approx. 2.1 miles away); Cowpens Veterans Memorial (approx. 2.2 miles away); First Baptist Church, Cowpens (approx. 2.3 miles away); Welcome to Glendale Shoals (approx. 3.3 miles away); Pacolet River Heritage Preserve (approx. 4.6 miles away); Camp Croft (approx. 5 miles away); Marian Anderson (approx. 5.9 miles away); Converse Heights (approx. 5.9 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. 1903 Flood. Site is about the 1903 flood of the Pacolet River that struck the Clifton Mills and community (Submitted on October 26, 2009, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.)
2. Clifton Cotton Mill #2 (youtube). Clifton Cotton Mill #2, Clifton, Spartanburg County, SC 12/13/2008. (Submitted on November 2, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
1. Plans for Surviving Clifton Mill Worry Some in the Community
by Jason Spencer
March 10, 2008
The owner of the surviving Clifton mill has big plans — he wants to mine for sand along a small beach area just across the Pacolet River, eventually turning it into a park, and put loft apartments, maybe condos, in the sturdy old building.
Restarting the hydroelectric plant is part of his vision, too.
But David Sawyerís plans are mired in financial problems, and some people in the community are leery of a mining operation coming into their quiet village.
Still, he remains optimistic about the future of Clifton Mill No. 2, and his role in it.
“When the textile industry went offshore, we lost the means to help these people maintain their lives. Weíve done very little to help little communities like Clifton. Clifton Mill No. 1 should have never been torn down. Itís a sad commentary when we lose gorgeous old buildings,” said Sawyer, who turned 65 Sunday.
“Thereís so many neat things you can do with them. All you have to do is open your mind.”
Sawyer bought Clifton Mill No. 2 from Best Machinery Movers & Erectors — a small company headed by Dennis Goode and Ron Davis — on June 15, 2004, for $535,000. Goode
The property was put up for auction on Nov. 5, and Goode and Davis thought they had it back. But Sawyer had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Georgia (where he is from) three days beforehand. The sale was set aside.
Sawyer was then doing business as a limited liability company called Habersham Mill, which is now called Clifton Mill Lofts.
Habershamís bankruptcy filing was dismissed in February, as the companyís sole asset was the Spartanburg property and there was no record of that company being authorized to do business in Georgia. Foreclosure proceedings on the Clifton mill have resumed, and a hearing will be held Thursday in Spartanburg. The property once again could go up on the auction block.
But at the first of the week, Sawyer plans to file for Chapter 11 protection again, he said — this time in South Carolina.
He said he hopes it will buy him time to come up with a plan that will help out his cash flow and allow him to keep the property. Mining the beach and a sandbar in the Pacolet is a large part of that plan.
“Itís an asset of the property, and sand is a marketable
Sawyer said he has a partner in Atlanta, a veterinarian, but would not name him, and that personís name hasnít appeared on any documents obtained by the Herald-Journal. At least one other man has been involved in the project, but he dissolved his relationship with Sawyer — which Sawyer said set things back.
Best for the community?
The land that would be affected by the mining operation is about 8.6 acres, according to the application Sawyer filed with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. He plans to replant vegetation over one acre in increments between 2013 and 2017.
The actual operation would be about 800 feet southeast of the intersection of Clifton-Glendale and Goldmine roads.
The state is accepting comments on the project through 5 p.m. March 18.
People who own property adjacent to the mill, such as Kevin Lee, have already been contacted.
“Iím totally against it — just the mess, and I donít know if these small roads around here can handle it. The tanker trucks that come through seem to keep the road pretty broken up, anyway,” said Lee, 38.
Goode and Davis are against the plan, too.
“We donít like the idea whatsoever. It really does not belong to him until he pays us, since he is in default. So, if thereís anything we could do to stop it, we would,” Goode said.
Davis added: “You canít come in and do it in six monthsí time. Youíre looking at three to five, maybe even seven years, and youíre going to have those trucks, the mining operation, the danger of children being around it. Itís just not a good place to set up a mining operation.”
ĎA great old elephantí
The one thing everyone has in common is they say they want whatís best for Clifton. They just have different ideas as to what that is.
“I think it could turn around down here and be a real nice area,” said Lee, who grew up in Clifton and recently moved back. “Itís a beautiful area. Itís just a matter of somebody spending some money and doing the right things to make it happen. And I donít think this cat here is the guy to do that.”
Don Bramblett, a community activist, hopes to see the small beach once again become a hot spot for the community to fish, swim
“People out here canít afford to pay dues at a neighborhood pool or Spartanburg Country Club. Theyíve got to have access to a place to recreate. I know Spartanburg County is trying to build more parks, but we have nothing out here. We have nothing. If we could — and this is private property, I know — but there is a lot of interest in people kayaking and canoeing thatís just been generated over the last couple of years. So, Iíd like to see that nurtured and grow into something nicer,” Bramblett said.
“Mr. Sawyer Ö had good intentions originally, but I think theyíve kind of gone sour. And for him to venture out into some long-term project, with a huge investment of money, when on the surface it looks like thereís a lot of other problems, itís somewhat distressing to me as a resident. Iíd hate for him to come in here and start doing things and leave it in a mess.”
Goode said if he and Davis do get the mill property back, “We really donít know what weíd do with it.”
And so, Sawyer is pressing forward.
He can tell you the history of the mills along the Pacolet back to the disastrous flood of 1903, and then some.
“This is a great old
“Our dream is to make residences there. I want to save the building. Itís a beautiful, historic building. I still think this is the prettiest industrial building in the South. We have had no help from local lenders on this project. The people who we felt would benefit the most from it have all turned us down. You donít have to have a whole lot of imagination to see that lofts and adaptive re-use of a historic building could work. Itís worked everywhere in the country. But these folks are so near-sighted that they wonít help it come true.”
— Submitted November 2, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 26, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 26, 2009, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,812 times since then and 86 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 26, 2009, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina. 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 1, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on October 26, 2009, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina. 16, 17. submitted on November 2, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.