Mount Carmel in McCormick County, South Carolina
Mt. Carmel, first blessed by traffic on Savannah River and Vienna Road and later by rail transportation, predates the formation of the county. The town’s early history is, like Willington, closely tied to the religious and educational needs of the early settlers. Little Run Church and Mt. Carmel Academy actually gave birth to the Town of Mt. Carmel. Mt. Carmel was chartered in 1885. There was considerable growth during the 1880s and 1890s. By the end of the 1880s the town contained six stores, a church, a school and a carriage shop. Drury Boykin Cade established a pottery and brick factory in Mt. Carmel about 1885. Cade lived just across Savannah River on his cotton plantation near old Petersburg. Cade hired several former slaves and two men from Elberton, Georgia, emigrants who had formerly worked in the Elberton marble works, to operate the factory. Although salt-glazed stoneware rarely appears in South Carolina, Cade produced such stoneware at the Mt. Carmel pottery. Other stoneware produced was alkaline-glazed.
In the heyday of extensive cotton production Mt. Carmel had a bank, two cotton gins, Morrah Hotel operated by Mr. & Mrs. J. W. Morrah, four white churches – Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Associate Reformed Presbyterian, three black churches, Baptist, Methodist, and Episcopalian. Mt. Carmel fielded exciting baseball teams during the era. The team played neighboring teams from South Carolina and Georgia. A favorite rival was the team from Willington.
The Calhoun Mill complex located three miles northeast of Mt. Carmel, served as a commercial center for the area prior to the emergence of Mt. Carmel, providing employment and services, and supporting a thriving community since the 1770s. Early during the American Revolution, Rev. William Tennent crossed Little River at the then Hutchinson’s Mill on September 3, 1775. Joseph Calhoun, a prominent planter and politician, owned the mill by the early 1800s. The Joseph Calhoun family lived first at the mill site in a two-story wood frame house. The front part of the bottom floor served as a general store. The family lived in back of the store and on the second floor. During the antebellum era Calhoun Mill was a popular spot for political gatherings. There was a general store and post office.
The site provided the headquarters and muster field for the militia. Architecturally significant, Calhoun Mill, built in 1854, is a three-story, brick building with a basement and low-hipped metal roof. The building constructed on a high foundation of fieldstone and brick, which is topped by a brick water table, is a unique example of mill construction. The mill was used for grinding wheat, corn, and other grains. The thriving commercial center served as a popular place for political rallies well into the twentieth century. The Calhoun Mill complex consisted of the mill building, millrace, concrete dam, and six out buildings: cotton gin, miller’s residence, storage buildings, smokehouse, and well house. Route 823, 4 mi. northeast of Mt. Carmel, at Little River.
P.O. Box 938, McCormick, SC 29835
100 South Main St., McCormick, SC 29835
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