During the early twentieth century Mauldin thrived as an agricultural community, with local cotton shipped to outside markets from its train depot.
(Greenville County; 2000 pop. 15,224). In 1784 former Cherokee land in Greenville County was first made available to white settlers. The earliest to enter the Mauldin area was Benjamin Griffith, who received a grant of one hundred acres in 1784. In 1853 Griffith’s great-grandson sold part of the family lands to Willis William Butler, and the local community became Butler’s Crossroads. Until the post–Civil War era, the settlement was a poor farming community, whose primary economic asset was its location on the stage road between Laurens and Greenville. Good fortune arrived in 1886, when the Greenville and Laurens Railroad was constructed through the community. On December 24, 1890, Butler’s Crossroads was chartered as the town of Mauldin, named in honor of Lieutenant Governor William L. Mauldin, president of the railroad. No town officials were elected until 1910, when Mauldin was finally authorized to choose a mayor and a town council.
During the early twentieth century Mauldin thrived as an agricultural community, with local cotton shipped to outside markets from its train depot. In the 1920s the boll weevil arrived and prosperity departed. A bright spot in this gloomy economic picture came in 1925, when the Greenville to Laurens road through Mauldin was paved; the road eventually evolved into U.S. Highway 276. Unfortunately, even the construction of electric lines by Duke Power in 1929 failed to lift Mauldin from its economic doldrums. By the 1930s abandoned farms and general unemployment made it difficult for citizens to maintain even their town government. In 1932 the town council petitioned the state to revoke its charter. The charter was not actually repealed but merely became inactive. By 1940 most stores were vacant and the train depot closed.
World War II improved conditions. Many families attached to the Greenville Army Air Base moved into the Mauldin area. In 1951 the Mauldin-Simpsonville–Fountain Inn Water District was formed, followed in 1953 by construction of a water line from Greenville through Mauldin to Fountain Inn. The pipeline brought the area its first adequate water supply and stimulated economic growth. A newspaper editorial predicted that the line would make the area a “golden strip” primed for development. The prophecy was fulfilled. Business and industry were attracted to the “golden strip,” and Mauldin, the town that almost died, underwent a period of rapid growth.
Discovering that its charter had merely been inactive since 1932, Mauldin revived its town council. In 1957 elections for a mayor and a council were held for the first time in twenty-five years. As nearby Greenville attracted industries in the 1960s and 1970s, many new arrivals preferred to live in residential areas around Mauldin. In 1969 Mauldin was rechartered as a city. Five subdivisions were annexed in 1972. The construction of Interstate 385 contributed to further growth, and Mauldin’s median household income became the highest in Greenville County. By 2000 Mauldin was one of the fastest-growing cities in South Carolina, experiencing a tenfold increase in population since 1960.
Hart, Mildred C. “Mauldin.” Proceedings and Papers of the Greenville County Historical Society 8 (1984–1990): 43–66.
Huff, Archie Vernon, Jr. Greenville: The History of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
Walker, Mae, et al. Mauldin’s Legacy and Its People. Clinton, S.C.: Inter-Collegiate Press, 1984.