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"O" is for Olympia Cotton Mill

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"O" is for Olympia Cotton Mill. The Olympia Cotton Mill was one of four mills designed and built by industrialist W. B. Smith Whaley. Construction began in 1899 and by 1900 the mail was an operation, often call the world’s largest cotton mill under one roof. It housed more than 100,000 spindles and 2250 looms in a mammoth, multi-storied and towered brick structure, some 150 by 550 feet. All machinery was powered by electricity. The mill village contained a kindergarten, school, gymnasium, and the first playground in the Columbia area. By 1916 the mills were owned by Pacific Mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts; and in 1954 was sold to Burlington Industries. Olympia Mills survived the mill closing to the 1980s, but fire in 1995 seriously damaged the mill. In June 1996, after more than a century of operation, the Olympia Mill closed.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson 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.