The Lofts at Inman Mill Grand Opening

Featured Image:  The developers of The Lofts at Inman Mill took special care to leave the 100+ year old Canadian Maple Hardwood Floors intact.  This image showcases what the majority of the original floors in the mill look like.  Small, metal loops called “Ring Travellers” lay scattered and embedded into the floors.  The workers inside the textile mill would remove these loops from the end of a thread spool.  The metal would drop to the floor and heavy carts would push it into the floorboards.  The hallways and floors of many of the units sparkle with these little silver pieces of history.  As you walk around the freshly renovated mill, you can tell where a mill employee once stood by the amount of travelers within a section of the floor.

“I can remember coming home from third shift and having those things in the soles of my shoes and in my pockets…. Doffing was hard but fun work”Scott Emory

The Inman Mills, now The Lofts at Inman Mill, are a historic textile mill complex at 240 4th Street in Inman, South Carolina. The mill complex includes a large main mill building and a number of smaller buildings, some attached, as well as a smokestack. The main building is a large rectangular four-story brick building with largely bricked-over segmented-arch window bays, and a five-story central tower. The mill was built in 1902 for the Chapman family, and was designed by the prominent regional mill architect W.B. Smith Whately. The mill was closed in 2001, and was for many years one of the city’s major employers. — Source

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The Grand opening for The Lofts at Inman Mill took place on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.  The crowd attending the ribbon cutting included former employees of the mill, curious Inman residents, the Mill’s owners, developers and leasing company, the Inman City Council, The Inman Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the local police and fire departments.  It was quite a crowd!

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Barbara Springs, Regional Asset Manager for Beacon Management Corporation gave an opening greeting.  Representatives of the team of developers who had worked on the project since the early 2000’s spoke about the project before Mayor Cornelius Huff spoke about the importance of the mill’s renovation for our local community.

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The Inman Chamber of Commerce prepared a long, red ribbon to be cut across the length of core team members of the Mill’s resurrection.  Once the ribbon was cut and dropped, it was divided into small pieces and given as a memento of the occasion to each core member.  The Lofts at Inman Mill were officially opened!

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Guests were welcomed through the front doors near the fresh new signage.  Light refreshments were served in the community room.  A ping pong table, brown leather button-backed couches and repurposed tables welcomed guests.  Catering was provided  by Law DogsThe Inman Chamber of Commerce provided bottled water.

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Group by group, the curious spectators were taken on a short tour of the lofts.  Each was able to see different sized apartments.  Each apartment opened into a kitchen area attached to tall ceilings meeting painted brick walls.  Some apartments still retained their original hardwood floors, while some (which could not be saved during the renovation) were covered with a brown wooden textured laminate.

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Inman’s volunteer firefighters were also led on a tour of the lofts, including a tour of the roof access to the building where AC units and shut off valves and main electrical components of the building were inspected.

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It was an honor to be chosen as the photographer documenting this historic event.  As an Inmanite, I am encouraged to see such progress come to my hometown.  I am proud that investors saw the beauty in the mill and I am relieved to know that this landmark will stand for generations to come.

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I remember the cotton mill and loved working in it even if it was hard work.I could run the cards,spin,dolf,spool,run the winders,open end winders and spiners but my specialty was the warpers and i was excellent at doing it.I wish today that i was still on my warper. I ran 4 different kind of them and i believe today i could go back and do it like i never stopped.MY grandmother was a warper hand and i would have loved to have worked by her to show her my skills. She said she could take 8 strands at a time up and when i told her i could do 20 to 25 she said wow i would love to see it and for once in my life she said i did great. –Sandra Culbreth Herrera

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Were you or someone you know once an employee of Inman Mills?  Please share your stories and experiences here with all of us!  I am eager to hear more about what it was like to work in this mill during its operation.

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