With the Saluda River cutting though the center of town, residents of Piedmont do not have far to travel to enjoy the region’s natural beauty.


With excellent public schools and a mix between suburban amenities and rural, historic charm, it is no accident that the town has grown steadily in the past decades. If your Piedmont-based HOA is looking for new management, please consider William Douglas Property Management. We have years of experience in and around Piedmont, and look forward to helping your residential community match its vision to reality.

Piedmont, South Carolina Information

Piedmont, South Carolina, is an unincorporated area in Anderson and Greenville counties. Being an unincorporated area with no officially established borders, the U.S. Census Bureau classifies the Piedmont area as a census-designated place (CDP). Since there are no officially established borders, for the purpose of calculating population-related statistics, the Census Bureau establishes these measurement parameters. These Census Bureau measurement parameters may or may not represent what the population residing within the CDP consider their measurement parameters to be.  The CDP for Piedmont, as established by the Census Bureau, is a total land area of 8.6 square miles. The zip code for Piedmont is 29673, and the area code is 864.

Piedmont is around 13 miles from downtown Greenville. The 2010 U.S. Census population was 5,103 for Piedmont.

The origin of the name “Piedmont” came from Colonel Henry Pinckney Hammett (1822 – 1891). In 1873, he came to a place along the Saluda River in Anderson County that at the time was known as Garrison Shoals. Hammett bought the property to construct a cotton mill and to use the river water to power this new mill. He began construction in 1875, and the mill was completed and operational in 1876. The name of the mill was Piedmont Manufacturing Company, and thus the name “Piedmont” was born.

Per the United States 2010 Census Bureau for Piedmont

Population per 2010 Census: 5,103

Male population: 51.4%

Female population: 48.6%

Population under 18 years: 20.4%

Population 65 years & over: 17.2%

Median home value 2015-2019: $128,500

Owner-occupied: 65.4%  

Total households 2015-2019: 1,787

High school graduate or higher 2015-2019: 70.0%

Bachelor’s degree or higher 2015-2019: 13.5%

As of the 2012 U.S. Census, there were 820 firms or businesses within the Piedmont CDP.  


The first permanent English settlement in South Carolina was Charles Town (Charleston) in 1670. The early colonization of South Carolina was primarily along the coastal region of the state. The colonization of the South Carolina backcountry slowing began around the turn of the 18th century. This colonization of the background increased rapidly in the mid-18th-century. 

The increase in the backcountry’s population led to many issues with the rule of law. To address this issue, in 1769, the colonial governor established seven judicial districts throughout the state. These judicial districts covered most of present-day South Carolina except for the extreme western area of the state. The extreme western area was designated as Cherokee territory. This Cherokee territory was located, for the most part, in the present-day South Carolina counties of Anderson, Greenville, Oconee, and Pickens. This area would remain Cherokee territory until 1777 during the American Revolution.

The Cherokee people had been contending with settler encroachment into their territory before the American Revolution. The American Revolution was the catalyst that brought the encroachment issue to a head between the Cherokee and the American Patriots. The Cherokee allied with the British against the Patriots. Resulting in the Cherokee, along with allying Native Americans, attacking settlers in South Carolina and bordering states in 1776. 

In response, state militia and Continental soldiers began retaliatory attacks against Cherokee villages and the Native American villages allying with the Cherokees. Consequently, almost all the Indian villages in the region were destroyed, along with their crops burned. This conflict was ended in 1777 by the Cherokee and the State of South Carolina agreeing to the Treaty of DeWitt’s Corner. The treaty mandated that the Cherokee people would surrender almost all their territorial land in South Carolina and some territorial land in North Carolina. The South Carolina Cherokee territorial land encompassed most of present-day Anderson, Greenville, Oconee, and Pickens counties.

Piedmont eventually being in both Anderson and Greenville counties warrant a brief understanding of these counties’ creation. Once hostilities concluded from the American Revolutionary War, the area that was the former Cherokee Indian territory was surveyed, and the state began selling these parcels to settlers in 1784. Over time, the population increased to such an extent that in 1786, the South Carolina General Assembly established Greenville County. Likewise, population increases propelled the South Carolina General Assembly to form Anderson County in 1826.  

There is no direct documental evidence of how the South Carolina General Assembly derived the name “Greenville” when establishing the county in 1786. However, all indications point to the county being named in honor of Nathanael Greene (1742 – 1786). Greene was an American Revolutionary War Continental Army Major General who had two popular monikers, “The Fighting Quaker” and “The Savior of the South.” Greene’s superlative command of the Continental Army and militia forces in the south ultimately led to British General Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown and American independence.

Anderson County was named in honor of Robert Anderson (1741 – 1813). Anderson was a Revolutionary War militia leader who obtained the rank of general after hostilities had ceased. As a colonel, he fought and led at the Battle of Cowpens. He served under General Andrew Pickens during the 1776 Cherokee conflict. Anderson served under famous Continental Army General Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee during the American Revolution. Anderson personally benefited from the Treaty of DeWitt’s Corner when he acquired 2,100 acres in the former Cherokee territory. His property was located in present-day Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties. 

The year before the cotton gin was patented, in 1793, the entire state of South Carolina only harvested 94,000 pounds of cotton. In 1800, less than seven years later, just the upcountry of South Carolina alone produced 6,500,000 pounds. Ten years later, in 1810, the entire state produced 50,000,000 pounds of cotton. Even so, in the areas of the former Cherokee territory, cotton cultivation still did not supplant corn and wheat production until transportation methods improved. This began to occur around the mid-1800s as roads improved and railroads were introduced. However, cotton cultivation did increase in Anderson County and the Piedmont area.  

For the most part, the early settlers to the former Cherokee territory were subsistence farmers. However, within a decade or so, many of these farmers had prospered and moved beyond subsistence farming. This was due in part to advances in farming technologies, particularly Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin. The cotton gin is a device or machine that removes the cotton fiber from the cotton’s seed and husk. Whitney patented the cotton gin in 1794, and this invention revolutionized cotton cultivation in the south. Cotton cultivation, once a labor-intensive process, was now efficient and a very profitable cash crop. Cash crop being what farmers could raise and sell above a subsistence cultivation basis. What made cotton cultivation so profitable was that before the cotton gin, the process of removing the cotton fiber from the seed and hush had to be performed by hand. This hand process was very tedious and labor-intensive. The invention of the cotton gin had an unforeseen and tragic consequence: the forced migration and increased enslavement of African Americans.   

Cherokee Indians and early settlers to the Cherokee territory called the area that would eventually become Piedmont, “Big Shoals of the Saluda” for the Saluda River. The Cherokee Indians and others utilized the shoals to ford the Saluda River. Around 1850, David Garrison owned 1,200 acres of land, including the Big Shoals of the Saluda. He constructed a grist mill at the shoals to utilize the Saluda River to power the mill’s operation. Thus, he changed the name of the area to “Garrison Shoals.”

After the conclusion of the American Civil War, South Carolina’s cotton production increased higher than prewar levels. From 1860 to 1880, South Carolina’s cotton production increased by 45%. This drastic production increase was especially the case in Anderson, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg counties. This substantial increase in cotton output eventually led to oversupply and a market glut in the 1880s. The dropping of cotton prices by 1886 and 1887 led to many farmers losing their farms. In 1886  and 1887, over a million acres of farmland in South Carolina was foreclosed on for unpaid property taxes. 

As a result of this market glut in the 1880s, many cotton farmers left that occupation and took jobs in the cotton mills that were popping up all around the piedmont region of South Carolina. Before the American Civil War, most South Carolina cotton production was shipped north to New England textile mills or textile mills in England for processing. This all changed in the 1880s, with the improved transportation brought by railroads and the need for stable investments. 

At that time, many investors had profited greatly from the erratic agricultural markets of the post-Civil War period. Many of these investors saw moving production to the source of supply as a way to reduce transportation costs. However, the low-wage workforce of the post-Civil War south was a huge draw for these investors. These new mill owners not only profited from lower labor costs during this period, but the textile industry was also undergoing rapid advances in machinery technology that reduced labor needs. Additionally, during this era, there was a rush to invest in railroads and manufacturing because of the perceived lower investment risk. 

Before, railroads developed to the point that made delivering coal for steam energy operations of a mill feasible. And before inexpensive electricity was available to operate a mill, textile mills were dependent on hydropower to power operations. This waterpower necessity is what originally brought Colonel Henry Pinckney Hammett to Garrison Shoals in 1873.

Hammett bought the property to construct his first cotton mill (Mill No. 1). He began construction in 1875, and the mill was completed and operational in 1876. The name of the mill was Piedmont Manufacturing Company, and thus the name “Piedmont” became the name of the area. Eventually, there would be three more Piedmont mills at this location, Mill No. 2 and Mill No. 4 adjoining Mill No. 1. And directly across the Saluda River in Greenville County was Mill No. 3, constructed in 1888. With the construction of Mill No. 3, Piedmont Manufacturing Company was purportedly one of the largest textile companies in the world in 1888.   

Piedmont was the quintessential mill town. Textile manufacturing was the lifeblood of the community for close to a hundred years. The Piedmont mills were sold to JP Stevens and Company in 1946, and manufacturing textiles continued until 1977. Unfortunately, a fire in October of 1983 destroyed the mill. 

Domestic textile manufacturing began to decline in the 1960s and 1970s. By the 1980s and 1990s, domestic textile production was being dominated by imported textiles. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico that was ratified in 1993, was one factor that expedited the decline of domestic textile production. Decreasing employment trends in textile manufacturing had already been occurring; however, NAFTA exacerbated this decline.

Even with the decline of textile manufacturing in Piedmont and the surrounding areas, the overall economy rebounded swiftly. Two factors can be attributed to this: first, the diverse industrial base that has developed in the Piedmont area, and second, the proximity to the strong economic development of Greenville. As a result, Piedmont has become a bedroom community for the Greenville workforce. 

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