The history of the inland part of the state is dominated by mills and their influence on every aspect of life in small towns. What's left of them -- their giant old smokestacks of crumbling bricks -- still rise up tall over the horizon as you approach each town.
The Pendleton Mill was first a cotton gin built by the Sitton family during Reconstruction. Over the years the gin made one family wealthy and for many years provided a living for the people of the town.
An oil mill was added to the site before the turn of the century to make use of the cotton seeds extracted during the ginning process, using what had previously been waste. After World War II, the mill was refitted to join another innovation in the cotton industry, turning cotton seeds into fertilizer for agriculture.
Today, the mill site is abandoned. What was once the life blood of the town, now is an eyesore and a serious problem.
The owner can't afford to pay taxes on it and the city can't afford to confiscate it, demolish it, and take on the responsibility to clean up all the toxic waste accumulated over the years. The town is in negotiations with the EPA for assistance.