Woodside Cotton Mill

From Textiles to Apartments

At one point the largest mill in the world, the Woodside Mill, located in West Greenville, brought life to a small community and helped the area become an economic hub.

In 1902 local entrepreneur John T. Woodside opened Woodside Mill and enlisted the help of three of his brothers J. David, Robert I., and Edward F. With John T. heading the operation as president of the company the mill saw immediate success. Within ten years the number of spindles was raised from 11,000 to 120,000, the largest amount under one roof in the U.S. at the time. As their success grew, the Woodside brothers incorporated other local mills into the company.

However, financial success was not the primary concern of the owners. John T. Woodside ensured that those both directly and indirectly working for the mill were taken care of. The surrounding mill village encompassed upwards of 400 comfortable and attractive homes, two churches, a school, YMCA, and a park. Operators of each were employed by the mill and eventually a store and cemetery were also established within the mill village.

During this time the Woodside brothers engaged in several other economic pursuits throughout the area and their wealth continued to grow. By 1929 the combined value of their properties was estimated around $21 million (over $325 million today). Unfortunately the imminent market crash of 1929 resulted in heavy losses for the brothers. In the first years of the depression John T. lobbied relentlessly in Washington for the government's support of mills everywhere to ensure the continued employment of workers, even meeting with President Hoover several times. These efforts fell short and all Woodside held shares of the Woodside Mills Company were overtaken. Without the Woodside brothers the mill continued to produce textiles under several operating groups including Dan Rivers Company. The mill closed its doors in 2006 after 104 years of operation. In 2019 renovations began to convert the massive building into modern apartments. The project was completed in 2021.