A look at the past and future of Union Bleachery in Greenville, SC


A look ahead | Image provided to Greenville Journal by Dean Warhaft + Warren Zinn

Plans are in motion to redevelop the abandoned Union Bleachery site at 3335 Old Buncombe Rd. for an estimated $3 billion. Let’s take a look back at the mill’s beginning and what its future holds.

It took a village

Union Bleachery was established in 1902 as the Union Bleaching and Finishing Company by brothers J.B. Duke and B.N. Duke. Although the textile mill struggled in its first two years, John White Arrington, who was originally hired as treasurer in 1904 and eventually became president and owner, transformed the mill to be a leader in Greenville’s textile industry.

Union Bleachery_GVL Library System Medium

Union Bleachery | Photo from the Greenville County Library System

The close-knit community that surrounded the mill was unique to Union Bleachery, acting as its own village. Housing more than 125 employees and their families the village featured schools and churches, a golf course, a park and pond, and spaces for farming. Residents were part of local sports teams like baseball and basketball, women’s clubs, and scout troops. (See more photos of Union Bleachery here).

After John White Arrington died in 1938, the mill was sold twice, and later became known as US Finishing. In 2003, a fire devastated the property, forcing its closure. It has since been abandoned and heavily polluted.

The future looks bright

The site will become a multi-use development featuring multi-family residential, retail, office, hospitality, research, and restaurant spaces. Of the 240 acres, 100 will be dedicated green space, and the site will have 10 miles of trails, with an extension of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail.

Construction is planned to start this summer, but bringing Union Bleachery back to life will be years in the making.

Click below to read more about Union Bleachery’s current state + future and see more renderings in the Greenville Journal.

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