Olympia and Granby Mills – Columbia, South Carolina
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Olympia Mill is located in the historic Olympia Mill Village, just outside downtown Columbia next to the Congaree River. Granby Mill stands next to it.
Granby Mill was completed in 1897 and was the first cotton mill in South Carolina to be powered by an off-site source of hydroelectric power. It was designed by innovative mill engineer W.B. Smith Whaley, who also designed and owned Olympia Mill.
Olympia Mill opened in 1899. At the time, it was the largest cotton mill in the world under one roof. The neighborhood around the two mills (Olympia and Granby) quickly grew as workers were needed to run over 2,000 textile looms. Operating for almost a century, the mills finally closed their doors in 1996. They sat vacant for more than 10 years until they were renovated in 2007 to house upscale apartments.
See a postcard of Olympia Mill in 1915. For an informative overview of the buildings that make Olympia Mill and Village historic, read the Olympia Mill and Village Historical and Architectural Inventory (requires Adobe Reader).
Reflections on Olympia and Granby Mills
Contributor Samantha Keidler tells us: “This is one of my favorite shots of that day. I didn’t even realize the way the sun was hitting it until I got home and uploaded my pictures. It made me think of the clock tower in Back to the Future as soon as I saw it.”
Photographer Andy Hunter goes on to say: “I’ve always been impressed by the Granby and Olympia Mills in Columbia, and just took a few minutes on a recent visit to Columbia to snap this shot.”
Olympia and Granby Mills Info
Address: 510 and 600 Heyward Street, Columbia, SC 29201
Olympia and Granby Mills Map
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