Visitors to Mauldin may be surprised to find this fast-growing town – a bedroom community for Greenville – has no downtown. But while Mauldin may not have a city center, it offers plenty in the way of arts and recreation – all in one central location.
The Mauldin Cultural Center presents nearly 1,000 events annually, from concerts to theater productions to art exhibits. Next door to the historic building is the Mauldin Sports Center, a modern, 6,500-square-foot facility featuring an expansive fitness room, rock climbing wall, gymnasium and indoor track.
The property around the two buildings offers more for visitors to enjoy and experience, including beautifully landscaped sitting areas with benches and swings, a paved trail, an amphitheater, public artworks and a historic cabin.
Still, Mauldin’s dream of having its own downtown lives on. In 2020, construction will begin on a major redevelopment project to create the Mauldin City Center, a walkable downtown with a luxury hotel, shops, restaurants and a “village green” for outdoor events.
Plans are in the works to extend Greenville’s popular Swamp Rabbit Trail to the City Center and another urban village being developed in town. BridgeWay Station, spanning 40 acres along I-385, will feature shopping, dining, lodging, entertainment and a public park, connecting to the trail via a pedestrian bridge over the interstate.
Mauldin got its start not long after the American Revolution when a small settlement was established on the road from Greenville to Laurens. The community became a town in 1886 when the Greenville & Laurens Railroad built a line through the area and a passenger and freight depot to go with it. The new town was named for William Mauldin, who served as president of the railroad company and went on to serve as a South Carolina lieutenant governor.
Some 60 years later, the U.S. War Department built an Army bomber training base in the area, spurring further growth. Deactivated in 1963, the World War II-era base was converted into what is now the Donaldson Center Airport.
But the big building boom didn’t come until 1953 when Greenville extended water lines into Mauldin, Simpsonville and Fountain Inn. For residents of these towns, the water was “like gold”, earning this corridor of the Upstate the name “The Golden Strip.” Today, the Mauldin is home to numerous manufacturing plants, among them The C.F. Sauer Company, makers of Southern favorite Duke’s Mayonnaise.
Despite its rapid growth, Mauldin has retained its small-town charm with lots of fun spots to dine and shop. For true local flavor, check out the landmark Mauldin Pub, a neighborhood bar and gathering spot, and Kellett’s Korner, a service station snack bar more than 50 years in operation.
And be sure to stop by Moonstruck & Monograms, a popular boutique offering a unique collection of women’s, men’s and kids’ clothing, bath and kitchen accessories, and garden and gift items.
The town also hosts a wide array of festivals and events each year, including SOOIE., Mauldin’s annual barbecue cook-off, and Trains, Trains and More Trains, featuring the largest interactive model train layout on the East Coast.