Located two miles west of downtown Greenville, the community of Brandon emerged shortly after the construction of Brandon Mill in 1901. Founded by J. Irving Westervelt and initially named Quentin, the original Brandon Mill had 10,000 spindles and 400 looms. Around the factory the company built sixty-six cottages for mill employees. Westervelt soon changed the mill’s name to Brandon after a town near Belfast, Ireland, where textiles had long been produced. The mill enjoyed immediate success; between 1908 and 1910 Westervelt constructed another building at a cost of $1.4 million. Westervelt’s finances foundered in 1913, however, and he sold the mill to Aug W. Smith of Spartanburg. By 1916 Brandon Mill had 86,000 spindles and assets worth $1.5 million. With Smith as mill president, New York agents Woodward and Baldwin controlled the mill’s stock and consolidated the mill with nearby Poinsett Mill, forming the Brandon Corporation in 1928.
Falling cotton prices in the 1920s and the Great Depression of the 1930s ruined the market for textile goods, and Smith struggled to keep Brandon Mill open by lobbying New York investors for help. Only the start of war production in the 1940s saved the mill from bankruptcy.
Brandon Mill continued to manufacture cotton goods for the first few decades of the post–World War II era, until falling demand for domestic textile goods forced the plant’s closure in March 1977. After that, the Brandon community nearly vanished before the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority acted to refurbish what had once been “one of the prettiest cotton mill villages in the state.” By the mid-1990s Brandon was again a stable neighborhood, with seventy percent of the community’s homes occupied and the mill building leased to K&M Fabrics. In 2000 Focus Golf began $500,000 renovations, transforming the old mill into a multipurpose facility.
Bainbridge, Judith. Greenville Communities. Greenville, S.C.: Judith Bainbridge, 1996.