Anne Springs Close Greenway – Fort Mill, South Carolina

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The crown jewel of Fort Mill, this expansive greenway covers 2,100 acres. Its spectacular size isn’t the only thing that sets it apart, however. For one, the park abounds with early American history and preserves landmarks that in some cases, predate European settlement. For another, unlike most parks, this one is privately owned.

Lake Haigler Ft. Mill

Stunning Lake Haigler in the fall. The lake was built by Ms. Close’s father, Col. Elliott Springs.
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Namesake Anne Springs Close opened these grounds to the public in 1995. Today, 20 years later, she can still be seen enjoying the park she created. Along with her eight children, Ms. Close placed a conservation easement on the land via the Nation Ford Land Trust. The property is part of a 6,000-acre tract that Close’s ancestors bought from the Catawba Indians generations ago. She eventually inherited the tract, and while much of the remaining land is being developed, this third will be protected in perpetuity.

Anne Springs Close Lake Haigler

Annual members may fish at any of the park’s five lakes, including Stumpy Pond, shown here.
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

The family’s legacy does not stop here, however. In addition to safeguarding the land for the future, the Close family decided to make it publicly available to others in South Carolina – and beyond – who appreciate the natural beauty of the Upstate. Equestrian trails, walking paths, mountain biking, fishing, interpretive tours, camping, and even a South Carolina Master Naturalist program are available within this comprehensive environmental complex.

Lake Haigler in Fort Mill

Lake Haigler, constructed in 1952, is a popular draw to the Anne Springs Close Greenway.
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

One of the preserve’s more popular spots is Lake Haigler (pronounced hay-gler), seen in the photo above. The lake is named for Catawba chief King Haigler, who was known as a friend to the region’s earliest white settlers. Though King Haigler was killed in 1763 by a band of Shawnee Indians, his memory remains revered by many in our state. Built in 1952 by Colonel Elliott Springs, Ms. Close’s father, this 28-acre lake includes a waterfall, seen below. The lake is stocked with bass and catfish, as are the greenway’s other lakes – Crandall, Frances, Katherine, and Stumpy Pond.

Lake Haigler Falls

Located on the 1.5 loop called Lake Haigler Trail, these lush falls are fed by a dam.
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Pictured below is a portion of the old Nation Ford Road. The greenway preserves a mile of this historic trail, which initially served as a trading route for the Catawba but was adopted by European immigrants as early as 1650. Nation Ford Road in turn formed a portion of the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road, which stretched from Philadelphia all the way to Augusta. This important transportation route attracted many colonists to the area we now call York County. Later, railroads and highways followed roughly the same path. Sections of the road, including this one, are listed in the National Register.

Anne Springs Close Trail

A mile of the historic Nation Ford Road is preserved within Anne Springs Close Greenway.
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Several walking trails, like the ones pictured above and below, wind through the preserve. Some of the more well-traveled trails run parallel to Nation Ford Road, encircle Lake Haigler, and take visitors to the historic Garrison-Webb gristmill, built at the end of the eighteenth century. The mill is suspected to be the the first such gristmill in the area. Over 100 species of wildflowers line the many trails, and birding opportunities abound throughout the year. A variety of natural communities – ranging from pinewoods and hardwood bottom forests to orchards and prairies – creates homes for a stunning diversity of wildlife.

Field Road at Anne Springs Close Greenway

Enjoy autumn with a walk along Field Road. Dogs are welcome at the greenway!
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

One of the greenway’s most visited sites is the dairy barn, shown here. Built in 1947, the former working barn has been renovated and is now used as an event site. With no shortage of rustic scenery, the barn can accommodate around 400 people. It is also surrounded by an outdoor event area for those wishing to entertain under the sky. Tents are permitted on the grounds, and the two-story structure allows for both upstairs and downstairs seating.

Dairy Barn ASC Greenway

Anne Springs Close Greenway, which features this old barn, doubles as an event venue.
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

For still more history, visit the Faires-Colthrap Cabin, pictured below. Built around the early 1800s, this cabin of hand-hewn logs was originally located about three miles away. Legend holds that the son of a prisoner of the Revolutionary War was once housed here, as was a Civil War soldier. It was moved to the Anne Springs Close Greenway property in 1994.

Faires Colthrap Cabin

The Faires-Colthrap Cabin, which was relocated to the greenway, helps tell Fort Mill’s history.
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Another historic cabin on the property is the Graham Cabin, below. This old log home has been updated with weatherboarding, though its original hand-hewn beams are still visible inside. It, too, was first located elsewhere, about two miles away. The cabin was moved here in 1999. It belonged to Archibald and Elizabeth Graham in the early 1800s; Archibald Graham was the great-grandfather of the Reverend Billy Graham.

Graham Cabin

This log home was once owned by the Reverend Billy Graham’s great-grandfather.
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Modern buildings on the property include the charming red Field Trail Barn, accommodating up to 125 people as an event venue; the Adventure Center, which hosts educational programs and camps; an open-air pavilion; and a house which has been converted into a nature center. School groups, companies, local residents, and out-of-town guests are all welcome to take advantage of the facilities available at Anne Springs Close Greenway. In addition to everything above, visitors can enjoy a lap pool, a fitness room, and racquetball courts.

Lake Crandall at Anne Springs Close Greenway

Who says South Carolina’s doesn’t have seasons? Find vibrant fall color at Lake Crandall.
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

The Anne Springs Close Greenway is maintained by the Leroy Springs Company, founded in 1938. The company was formed to issue interest-free scholarships to students in need. It has grown to include the management of various recreational venues across the state and even in North Carolina, most of which were established by Springs Mills for its textile workers but now serve the general public. Springmaid Pier in Myrtle Beach is one such site.

Lake Francis at Anne Springs Close Greenway

Lake Francis, located at Anne Springs Close Greenway, shines in its full fall glory.
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Springs Mills was a textile company owned and operated by Leroy Springs in the early twentieth century; today it continues to operate as the nationally-known Springs Industries. The Leroy Springs Company was organized by his son, Colonel Elliott White Springs, who was the father of Anne Springs Close. Both Leroy Springs and Elliott Springs also owned the L&C Railway. Anne Springs Close serves as president of the board of trustees of the Springs Close Foundation, a charitable organization founded in 1942 to support current and former textile communities.

Lake Haigler at Anne Springs Close Greenway

Paths like this one, which trails around Lake Haigler, abound at Anne Springs Close Greenway
(Jim Dollar of Indian Land, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Anne Springs Close Greenway Info

Address: 1604 Highway 21 Bypass, Fort Mill, SC 29715

Anne Springs Close Greenway Map

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