More than “Moonlight and Magnolias” — Governor Hollings and the Quest for Industry

quote inside of a cog“You don’t have any skills. You’ll give us moonlight and magnolias, barbecue and a drink of bourbon, may pave a road, but I’ve got to get this operation in the black.” 

So said a northern industry official to South Carolina Governor Fritz Hollings in the early days of Hollings’ industrial development program.  This exhibit is the story of how Gov. Hollings and others fought back against this image, bringing industrial jobs in large numbers to the state.  It is told by Hollings, governor from 1959 to 1963, and Walter Harper, Director of the SC Development Board from 1959 to 1967.

The quotes in the exhibit are from oral history interviews conducted by Herb Hartsook and others from 1989 to 1997.  Accompanying the quotes are photos, objects, and other items from the Hollings Papers here at SC.

The story starts when Hollings was Lt. Gov. Hollings from 1955 to 1959.  He often filled in for the Governor George Bell Timmerman on visits from industrial development officials.  Through these experiences and others, Hollings recognized the dire need to court these officials and resolved to ramp up the industrial program when he became governor in 1959.

The picture below is one of my favorites in all of the Hollings Papers.  Some people look at it and instantly comment on the Dixie cups or the hats.  Others think it looks mafia-esque.  It shows Lt. Gov. Hollings, center, on a 1958 legislative visit to the Bowater Pulp Mill, prior to its start-up, in Catawba, S.C., with T.C. Bannister, Jr. and R. Sundberg.

photo of Hollings in 1958To go on the rest of Hollings’ quest, visit the SCPC Gallery in the Hollings Library by August 2nd!  I also plan to put up an online version by the end of its run in our gallery and will announce it here.

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