South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Olympia Mill, Richland County (500 Heyward St., Columbia)
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Facade-Center Facade-Right Facade-Left Clock Tower Bell Tower
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Gate Houses Left Oblique Left Elevation Right Elevation Right Rear
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Power Plant
Clock Tower
Clock Tower

Olympia Mill stands as an intact example of late nineteenth century textile mill architecture. Constructed in 1899, the building is significant architecturally as an important example of the Romanesque Revival style applied to industrial architecture and as the work of important mill designers W.B. Smith Whaley & Company. William Burroughs Smith Whaley designed, owned and operated Olympia Mill, serving as its first president. Olympia was one of four cotton mills the firm designed and constructed in Columbia. The firm’s innovations in mill design contributed to the rise of the textile industry in South Carolina and helped to secure their position as one of the most important textile mill designers in the nation. When Olympia Mill opened in 1899, it was widely recognized as “the largest cotton mill under one roof in the world.” The mill is comprised of a massive four-story, red brick, rectangular shaped, main mill building that is connected to an original one and two-story red brick power plant. Other buildings that are part of the mill complex include: a one-story brick power plant auxiliary building, a one-story storage building, and two small brick one-story gate houses. Surrounding the site is the historically related Granby Mill to the west and the Olympia Mill housing village to the east and south. The main building contains features of the Romanesque Revival style with a red brick exterior embellished with terra cotta detailing, large segmental arched window openings, and twin pyramidal roofed towers that rise above the flat roofline. Listed in the National Register February 2, 2005.

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