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“W” is for Whaley, William Burroughs Smith (1866-1929)

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A native of Charleston, Whaley graduated from Cornell with a degree in mechanical engineering. He went to work for a New England firm that sent him to Columbia in 1892 to study the potential for hydroelectric-powered mills. Whaley saw an opportunity, moved to Columbia and opened his own firm, W. B. Smith Whaley & Company. The firm became the state’s premier architectural and engineering concern specializing in textile mill design, innovation, and development. With designs to its credit in Massachusetts, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, Whaley & Company earned both regional and national reputations. In 1900 Whaley expanded his operations by opening a Boston office. From 1899-1901, William Burroughs Smith Whaley built his masterpiece, the 2,400 loom, 104,000 spindle, four-story Olympia Mill, near Columbia.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.