Columbia Mills Building

Also known as: Mount Vernon Mill, South Carolina State Museum
On the Congaree River, Columbia, South Carolina


Columbia Mills Building, Aerial View-ca. 1980

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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Street Views 


During the late nineteenth century the cotton textile industry in South Carolina experienced a period of remarkable growth. By the turn of the century the state was one of the leading manufacturers of cotton mill products in the country. The Columbia Mills Building, which housed one of the largest textile concerns in South Carolina, represents the importance of this industry to the state. In addition, the Columbia Mills Building is believed to be the first textile plant in the nation to be operated by electricity. This innovation meant that textile mills no longer had to be located adjacent to their source of power. The mill is a massive four-story brick factory constructed in 1893. Lockwood, Green and Company of Boston served as engineers and architects; and the William A. Chapman Company of Providence, Rhode Island, was the contractor. The building provided for the manufacture of cotton duck fabric. Columbia Mills became part of Mount Vernon-Woodberry Cotton Duck Company, Mount Vernon-Woodberry Mills, Inc. and finally Mount Vernon Mills, Inc., continuing to manufacture cotton duck until 1981 when the plant was closed. The mill building was donated to the State of South Carolina and adapted for use as the South Carolina State Museum. Listed in the National Register May 24, 1982. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 24, 1982
Reference number
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic function
Manufacturing facility
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899
Significant years
1893; 1901
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 5
Contributing structures: 1

Update Log 

  • October 23, 2018: New photos from Michael Miller
  • October 8, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Alternate Name", "Description" & "Street Views" and Imported Photo
  • October 8, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller