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Pelzer

Trip Planner USA  /  South Carolina  /  Pelzer
(70+ reviews from 2 attractions)
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Pelzer is a town in Anderson County, South Carolina, United States, along the Saluda River. The population was 89 at the 2010 census.GovernmentAs of 2010 the town was governed by a mayor and four council members.HistoryPelzer was founded in the 19th Century as a mill town around several mill sites on the Saluda River developed by the Pelzer Manufacturing Company. The first mill was completed in 1882; two additional expansions were referred to as mills 2 and 3, with construction of the 4th mill starting in 1896. Pelzer Manufacturing drew power from two dams built along the Saluda River, which generated power with the help of the first generators ever sold by General Electric. The factory was the first in the country to use incandescent lighting.The company and town were named for Francis J. Pelzer, who surveyed sites along the river and laid out the town and was along with William Lebby and Ellison A. Smyth one of the founders of Pelzer Manufacturing. The first president and treasurer of the company was Ellison Adger Smyth, who held the corporate titles for 43 years. When Smyth decided to build the fourth mill, he initially selected a site four miles downriver from the town along a shoal, necessitating construction of a new mill town. Eventually, however, Smyth decided to build a new mill at Pelzer and began construction at the Upper Mill site, with power generation coming from the downsteam shoals and dam. This was the first instance of a mill in South Carolina not built immediately adjacent to its power generation facility; Smyth contracted General Electric to build the power lines between the new dam and the existing town, a first in the industry that many competitors argued was doomed to fail. Smyth allowed GE to use the new Upper Mill as a testing ground for new electric generators and motors, which initially cost Pelzer Manufacturing money and made the new mill a money loser for several years, though it did become profitable in time.
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