A treasure trove of wonderful architecture, Westminster, SC boasts more than one hundred homes that are unique to the late 1800's and turn-of-the-century -- 90 percent of them occupied and maintained with great diligence and pride. These treasures are an important part of our heritage and tradition.
Old Main Street, with its unique shops and hometown atmosphere, has benefited from an influx of private investment to restore and renovate most of its buildings. From the locally-owned drug store to the hometown newspaper office, and all the specialty shops in between, Old Main Street is a browser's delight.
Westminster has another unique area. One of the few small southern communities with a textile mill still located, and operating, within its' city limits. This mill, Beacon Manufacturing was once a main-stay of the local economy with its employment of more than 600 people during its heyday. Surrounding the mill are many of the original company-owned homes that housed the workers of the factory. Many have been renovated and stand as a testimony of another era.
This area has been selected for designation as a "historical" district due to several elements, which include, but are not limited to: The Westminster Presbyterian Church (The oldest standing church in Westminster), The Ballenger House, The Grubbs House, The McCormick House and many others.
These homes present a unique and stately representation of turn-of-the-Century architecture. Many have been completely renovated. Others are in the process of renovation, with still others expected to be on the market in the next few years.
This is a neighborhood that demands to be preserved for future generations.
Along this wonderful neighborhood street are some of the finest homes in Westminster. Some have been held in the same family for several generations. Notable for the architecture, Retreat Street offers a glimpse of the stately homes of the successful men who helped create the City of Westminster. Alongside these marvelous pillared homes are wonderful examples of bungalow style homes with their sweeping front porches and sedate white posts.
There are at least eight homes on this street alone that warrant driving by to admire. There is also the Mason home which, while not renovated, is well worth the time to see. This is the stuff that Southern Living fans dream of. A rare treat for the "small town visitor."
Mill Village Home
This area, created out of a need for housing for mill workers, has several fine examples of "company" housing, all located within walking distance of the old Beacon Textile Mill.
Although now privately owned, these home will bring back memories for many and is a great lesson in the history and economics of the small southern town. Future children will hear the stories of "Mill Town" and grow in appreciation of their grandparents' struggle to create a better life for them.
Additionally, the old high school, which now stands boarded-up, can be seen nearby.
From Lucky Street to North Avenue, "Old Main" is still a jewel. With the infusion of private dollars by local businesses, historic Main Street has now reclaimed several of its best buildings.
If you are planning to visit Westminster, set aside some time for just "browsing" through the many antique and specialty stores in the area. Visit the old Depot, which has been fully restored, and houses the Oconee Chamber of Commerce branch office.
Old Main Street is also the site of the annual South Carolina Apple Festival each year the weekend after Labor Day.
Historic Main Street
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