Southern Cotton Oil Company

Also known as: Columbia Mill
737 Gadsden St., Columbia, South Carolina



The Southern Cotton Oil Company is significant for its associations with the development of the cottonseed and cotton oil industry in South Carolina in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The cotton oil industry had its origins in Columbia. Though most cotton planters considered cottonseed worthless, opinion changed when it was discovered that cottonseed oil and cotton oil were useful and even profitable products. Columbia boasted two of the largest cotton oil mills in the United States in 1891, one being the Southern Cotton Oil Company complex. The mill normally operated from September to June and employed as many as 75 men ca. 1900. The complex consists of seven industrial buildings; the Seed House, Linter Room, Press Room, Machine Shop, Oil House, Cotton Storage Room, and Storage Shed. The original components of the complex were built in 1887. The Machine Room, Seed House, and Storage Shed were later additions, built in ca. 1904, ca. 1913, and ca. 1919, respectively. Five of the buildings are constructed of brick and the other two are constructed of galvanized sheet metal. The complex is situated in a neighborhood which consists of a large number of industrial and commercial buildings whose transportation needs were historically met by the nearby railroad. Listed in the National Register July 25, 1996. The Southern Cotton Oil Company structures are no longer extant. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 25, 1996
Reference number
Architectural style
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Storage; Processing
Periods of significance
1925-1949; 1900-1924; 1875-1899
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 7

Update Log 

  • October 20, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" and Updated "Status"