A grand small town
Less than half an hour south of Charlotte and just off of I-77 (Exit 88), Fort Mill, like most of the other bedroom communities around Charlotte (especially those with the relatively lower South Carolina taxes), is growing too fast for those of us who grew up in the area but do not have huge farms to sell to developers. Nevertheless, they do seem to be handling their growth more appropriately than some of the others. Perhaps I just travel among the old time Sandlappers but Fort Mill seems to me to be maintaining their friendly Southern grace and historic feel more than are some of the others. Smiles are abundant.
Like most other towns in the Carolinas, Fort Mill civic leaders act as if "Historic" is its first name but there really isn't very much historic about Fort Mill except it being home to Springs Mills and several other textile companies which sprung from the Springs family. There is, however, a collection of older buildings in the heart of Fort Mill which house a very welcoming array of shops, galleries, and places to eat.
"The Springs Family"
I have wondered why Fort Mill is not named Springfield, Springsville, or something of the sort. If there was ever a fort there, I am not aware of it but there were many mills through the years and a remarkable number of them were owned by the Springs family. They also owned a substantial portion of the land in the county and several other businesses. Until recent years when they have outsourced all of their manufacturing jobs to developing nations, they seem to have been benevolent oligarchs as they were known for fair pay and benefits and for backing civic needs. Although the town has not assumed the "Springs" name, the name can still be found all over, and around, town. There is a Springfield Lane, Springfield Parkway, Leroy Springs Recreational Complex, Springfield Golf Club, Anne Springs Close Greenway, and the Springfield (relatively new) residential development, just to name a few.