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How Much Do You Know About Pelham Mill Park?

Local mom Liene reviews Pelham Mill Park in Greer, SC. For more park reviews, see our Parks in Greenville page.

This historic site in Greenville has somehow flown under the radar of the majority of locals, even those living and working nearby. However, with its old mill ruins, river shoals and couple of acres of bottomland forest, Pelham Mill Park could be considered one of the more interesting parks in Greenville County.

About Pelham Mill Park

Home to the one of the first textile mills in Greenville County, there are scenic and historic elements that liken it to Falls Park downtown. The Upstate was largely shaped by the textile industry, and just as Falls Park contains the ruins of a grist mill, Pelham Mill Park contains the remnants of a cotton mill. Evidence of a complex series of stone and brick foundations span the floodplain, shoals and terrace that overlook the Enoree River. These ruins are accessible to visitors, though be warned – with steep, muddy footpaths, tall grass and an unfortunate abundance of trash & poison ivy, extreme caution should be exercised when exploring the site.

The Greenville County Historic Preservation Commission donated the thirteen acres to Greenville County in 1988. Seven acres have been added through a partnership with Western Carolina Regional Sewer Authority, and the master plan for the park includes interpretive signage, picnic sites and a walking bridge spanning the river that would provide access to trails along the Enoree River. One aspect of the plan which has been completed is the dog park, and a second that is currently in the works is restoration of the former Pelham Mill Post Office.

The building was built in 1870 as Pelham Mill’s office until the textile plant closed in 1930. It became a post office until it was closed in 1996, and when Highway 14 was widened in 2002 it was moved to its present location. Greenville Rec is restoring the historic structure for use as a community building with help from Western Carolina Regional Sewer Authority and Greenville County.

Other features of the park include a paved path leading to the historical 19th century stonework dam. An overlook provides a view of the dam, architectural remains of the mill and shoals on the Enoree River. Crumbling walls, foundations and depressions give evidence to what used to stand on the site: two steam smokestacks, underground pipes, drains, turbines, nine brick pilings, the mill’s main powerhouse and steam generator, and finally the large mortared stone dam with six sluice gates spanning the Enoree River. The Mill burned down in 1943 (except for the mill office), as the only fire trucks available had to come all the way from Greenville and Greer.

Pelham Mill is recognized by the Greenville County Historic Preservation Commission as one of 11 historic sites in the County.

On a related note, the Enoree river served another important purpose a few hundred years earlier. In 1766 NC/SC negotiated a boundary with the Cherokee between ‘Indian land’ and their new settlement. This line extended from Honea Path across the Reedy River all the way to Virginia, but today there is nothing to remind us of this aspect of southern history except a few historic markers like the one nearby on Highway 14. If you do make a stop at the marker, make sure to also find the nearby geocache…

Plan a visit to Pelham Mill Park

2770 E Phillips Road
Greer, SC 29650
Visit the website here.

This article was originally published on Femme au foyer.

Have you explored Pelham Mill Park?

Meet Liene
Mother of three young boys, Liene is constantly on the move since returning to Greenville in 2012. Whether she’s exploring the state parks and natural areas of the Carolinas or teaming up with other moms to organize activities for the kids, she’s always searching for the next adventure in the Upstate. For everything from hiking, travel, cooking and crafts to multicultural & global education posts, visit her blog, Femme au Foyer.

Enjoy the Peace of Lake Robinson in Greer

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Contributor Maria Bassett reviews local Lake Robinson. For more ideas of places to enjoy the outdoors in and near Greenville, see our page Things to Do Outside in Greenville.

Spring is here bringing forth all its outdoor adventures.  Playgrounds, games, and trips to the splash pads abound.  But if you’re looking for something a little quieter, a bit more nature and little less crowded, consider a visit to J. Verne Smith Park at the tip of Lake Robinson.

Lake Robinson is owned by Greer CPW and serves as an impoundment for drinking water.  It’s a popular lake for small boats and fishing, but the park area itself seems to be rarely populated with more than a handful of people.  It does not have playground facilities, yet with plenty of picnic sites, beautiful views and several small docks and a fishing pier to explore, this park should not be an overlooked outdoor destination.

Things to Do

Lake Robinson is, in fact, one of my family’s favorite locations for a quiet picnic.  The park’s location has a million dollar view, and is just steps from the parking lot.  This makes J. Verne Smith Park a uniquely easy destination for those with young children or mobility impaired individuals to enjoy the beautiful views this foothill area can provide.  The park has many picnic tables and ample large shade trees where guests can spread picnic blankets facing the water.

Consider bringing some sidewalk chalk for after your picnic, as there are many paved walking areas to roam.  My children enjoy bringing sketching materials and watercolor pencils to try and draw bits of the view they are enjoying.  We like to bring books to read quietly or out loud together (this is a great place for us to do a bit of homeschool work outside the house).  And sometimes we bring Frisbees, balls, jacks and other outside toys.  Tip: The park is on a hill, sloped towards the water.  It definitely won’t work as a soccer field, but is fine for young children tossing a ball back and forth.

The lake edge of the park is rimmed with large rocks (perfect for keeping a runaway ball from rolling into the water).  You cannot wade or swim here.  But you can walk the paved pathways, sit out on the small docks and watch the boats, or stroll out along the fishing pier and see what creatures you can spot in the water.  If you plan to fish, you’ll need to make sure you obtain the proper permit. You can obtain permits at Greer CPW Warden’s Office on site.

You can even grab a cup of coffee at nearby Scandi Tiny!

Things to Know

Verne Smith has a large raised picnic shelter with a fantastic view, which can be rented from Greer CPW for $150 per day, and a smaller shelter area also with a nice view, that can be rented for $75 a day.

Restroom facilities are located at the larger shelter.

The park is open sunrise to sunset.  No skateboards, roller blades, or bikes are allowed on the walking paths, so it is best to leave those at home.

Park address: 2544 Mays Bridge Rd, Greer, SC 29651

Phone: (864) 895-3645

Have you ever visited Lake Robinson?

Meet Maria Bassett