History of Inman

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Compiled by the staff of the Kennedy Room of Local and South Carolina History, 2004
Property of the Spartanburg County Public Libraries; duplication is not permitted without consent.

• Established: ca. 1876
• Location: Northwest of the city of Spartanburg
• Fun fact: Miss South Carolina 2001 Jeanna Raney is an Inman native

Three driving forces propelled the creation of many of Spartanburg County’s towns: textile mills, springs and railroads. Inman was a steel-rail baby.

Until the mid-1870s, this area northwest of the city of Spartanburg was populated by scattered farmhouses. Then local landowner William Goens heard of the plan to build a rail line through the area and decided he wanted in on the expected business boom. He offered a tract of land on his 140-plus acres for the depot, free of charge.

His business acumen proved on target, and a small retail district sprang up around the depot. As the community took on shape, the time came to name it. Goens, whose name later was spelled Gowens, was the natural choice, but there already was a Gowensville nearby. According to Southern Railway, the town was named for John Hamilton Inman, a railroad executive of the day.

In 1901, the town began a new phase in its history when James A. Chapman and family organized Inman Mills. By 1934, it was one of the largest textile plants in the county, boasting 600 employees working at 48,736 spindles and 1,284 looms. There were 257 houses in the mill village, and the mill owned 30 others nearby. The company has managed to survive, though it has downsized considerably since its heyday.

Inman has thrived and, in the past decade, has become a popular spot for new housing developments.