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Great Falls Town

Great Falls Town Hall is located at 810 Dearborn Street, Great Falls, SC 29055; phone: 803-482-2055.

Great Falls was incorporated as a Town in 1968.

Beginnings [1]

In the early part of the Twentieth Century, visionaries were planning for the industrial development of the South through the conversion of water power into electricity. Sites with hydroelectric potential along many rivers in the Piedmont of the Carolinas became logical places to develop textile mills. In 1905, the Southern Power Company (now known as Duke Energy) was chartered to develop the potential of the Great Falls of the Catawba. The principals in this endeavor were William States Lee, a pioneering engineer; Dr. W. Gill Wylie, a Chester County native who had gained prominence as a physician in New York; and James Buchanan Duke, industrialist and investor. Southern Power completed the first power house and dam at Great Falls in 1907. The three partners, along with other investors, also organized the Republic Textile Mills Company to capitalize on the abundant power made available at the site. The first mill was online by 1910 with a few hundred workers living around the mill and a company store. A second mill and mill village was in operation by 1917, and a third by 1923. The company also constructed a downtown commercial area to serve the new community. The town was named Great Falls in honor of the nearby natural feature. Downtown Great Falls includes buildings constructed by the Republic Textile Mills Company between circa 1910 and circa 1930 to provide a commercial area to meet the needs of the mill workers and their families.

  1. Sandra Scurry Varner, Elizabeth Wilson, David McKeown (with assistance from SHPO staff), Great Falls Hometown Association, Great Falls Downtown Historic District, Chester County, SC, nomination document, 2000, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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