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The former Rock Hill Cotton Factory had a tremendous impact on Rock Hill's growth during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Built in 1881, it was the city's first cotton mill and the first steam-powered textile mill in the state. The factory was a boon for the local economy as it was a major employer and very productive (by 1884, it produced 85,000 bales of cotton). Its success demonstrated that textile milling was profitable in Rock Hill and as a result, six other mills were built by 1907. In terms of architecture, the factory is a good example of an early textile mill and its design was emulated in future mills. Today, the old factory is an office and retail building.

The Rock Hill Cotton Factory was built in 1881 and contributed significantly to the city's development. It is now used for office and retail space.

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Large textile mills started to be built in South Carolina in the 1870s as part of an effort for cotton-producing states to not only grow cotton but to process it into final products as well (for much of the century, cotton was shipped to New England for processing). A group of investors in Rock Hill recognized the potential that mills could bring to the town and decided to build the Rock Hill Cotton Factory. The investors included cotton broker, James M. Ivy, and a local merchant and farmer, Adolphus Eugene Hutchison, who became the company president.

Construction began in 1880. The site was chosen because it was located next to the Charlotte, Columbia & Augusta Railroad and had access to roads. A year after it opened, the mill employed between 100 men, women, and children. Over the course of the next several years, the factory added more looms and was producing various products including sheeting, shirting, drills, and cotton rope. In 1898, the factory closed and was reorganized and renamed as Belvedere Mills. It was renamed a number of times during the following decades. In 1905, the mill was electrified. In 2000, the last company to occupy the mill closed and the old building was acquired by Rock Hill Development Corporation. Six years later, a student loan collection agency called Williams & Fudge bought the building and converted it into retail and office space.

Gettys, Paul M. "Rock Hill Cotton Factory." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. June 10, 1992.

"The Old Cotton Factory." Barwick & Associates, LLC. 2008.

"Rock Hill Cotton Factory - Rock Hill, S.C." Roots and Recalls. Accessed May 7, 2021.

"Rock Hill Cotton Factory." This Building Has History. Accessed May 7, 2021.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Bill Fitzpatrick, via Wikimedia Commons: