Lyman became a battleground mill during the General Strike of 1934. Because the mill was neither strongly pro-nor anti-union, it served as a crucial site for both sides of the labor dispute.
(Spartanburg County; 2000 pop. 2,659). Lyman’s early history stemmed from the economic activity of the Groce family of Greenville. Augustus Belton Groce operated a general merchandise store in the area during the 1870s. The area was known as Groce or Groce’s Stop until the arrival of Pacific Mills. In 1923 Pacific Mills announced that it intended to build a textile plant in Groce at a cost of between $7 million and $8.5 million, the largest investment in Spartanburg County up until that time. Pacific Mills not only constructed the mill but also built a model town: 375 houses, a community center, and a twelve-room school. Churches and a National Guard armory were added later. The town was renamed Lyman in honor of Arthur T. Lyman, president of Pacific Mills president from 1900 to 1915, and was incorporated with that name in 1954. At its peak the Lyman plant employed 3,600 workers, more than any other single business site in Spartanburg County. In addition to labor, Lyman residents also enjoyed some recreation, and the town boasted the first lighted baseball field in Spartanburg County.
Lyman became a battleground mill during the General Strike of 1934. Because the mill was neither strongly pro-nor anti-union, it served as a crucial site for both sides of the labor dispute. After the strike began in September, the National Guard was called out and occupied the town. The state’s action effectively squelched union activity. There was only one brief strike in the 1940s, and the Congress Industrial Organizations’s Operation Dixie also failed to organize the plant. Manufacturing continues to be crucial to Lyman’s economy, with corporations such as SEW-Eurodrive exporting products around the globe.
Foster, Vernon, ed. Spartanburg: Facts, Reminiscences, Folklore. Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Company, 1998.