Fort Mill is ranked by Niche.com as the second-best place to live in South Carolina based on data from the US census and expert’s insights. Also known as Fort Mill Township, it is located in York County, a suburb of Charlotte. It is home to 24,622 residents according to the latest United States Census estimates.
A mixture of the old and new best describes Fort Mill as it showcases a rich history and a thriving economy. A visit to the historic downtown alone is like walking down memory lane, while at the same time offering modern attractions and amenities.
Geography & Climate
Fort Mill is a sparse suburb that has a total land area of 4.6 square miles. It is located south of Charlotte, NC and north of Rock Hill, SC. The town has many open spaces like parks and fields for recreation and sports.
Enjoy Fort Mill’s subtropical climate and four distinct seasons. The temperatures during the summer range from 21°C to 32°C, while during the winter from 10°C to a low of -1°C. So, you’ll get to experience a sunny summer, breezy winter and spring and fall in between.
History & Governance
The name Fort Mill was a concoction from the town’s rich history and location. “Fort” was coined from a fort constructed by the British during the colonial times to protect the Catawba Indians from the Cherokee tribe. While “Mill” was derived from the first grist mill in the area known as Theodoric Webb’s Mill. The township was established in 1873.
The Catawba Indians were the first settlers of the present-day Fort Mill. During the mid-1700s, Scotch-Irish settlers began arriving and then decided to establish themselves in the area. Textile mills were the main industries of Fort Mill during the 19th century that saw its rapid growth that continued even when the mills were shut down. Later on, Fort Mill became a major suburb of Charlotte because of its progress.
Up to this day, the history of Fort Mill is still living with its historical sites and can be felt from their old-fashioned Southern traditions. The Fort Mill Downtown District, the Nation Ford Road, the houses of Banks-Mack, Mack-Belk, Thornwell-Elliot, William Elliot, Mills and Wilson, the National Guard Armory, Unity Presbyterian Church Complex, Spratt Cemetery and the Springfield Plantation House are still erected and are listed as historic places on the National Register.
The Town of Fort Mill adopted the Council/Manager form of government. It is headed by a Mayor with its six council members who are elected every two years. Council members serve staggered four years terms.
Southern hospitality is at its finest in Fort Mill. One will enjoy the sights and sounds that the town has to offer, but the highlight is the hospitable and friendly residents of Fort Mill.
Careful urban planning gave respect to the town’s identity by maintaining historical sites despite the construction of contemporary buildings and roadways. Learn the town’s origins with a visit to the Fort Mill History Museum.
The historic downtown has been revived into a business district. For instance, the commercial buildings along Main Street (built in 1852) now house several restaurants and shops. The famous PuckerButt Pepper Company can be found in this building where you can buy the world’s hottest pepper. The Pepsi-Cola advertising mural has also been restored and continues to serve as an attraction for a century now.
The Confederate Park and bandstand built in 1904 is still being used for town-sponsored events, including the yearly firing of Civil War-era cannons.
Not only is Fort Mill rich in history but it is also in natural attractions and modern amenities. The famous Anne Springs Close Greenway is a protected area consisting of 2,100 acres of forest, lakes and greeneries good for family bonding and recreation. The town has six other parks for more outdoors and adventures. Walter Elisha Park is among the most visited by residents and tourists alike.
Carowinds that started in 1973 is the town’s oldest and largest amusement park consisting of rides, waterpark and the Carolina Harbor. For shopping and dining, many of the best shops and restaurants can be found at Baxter Town Center and Kingsley Town Center.
For a more local experience, you can also visit breweries, cafes, bake shops and stores famous among the residents. Brewery: Amor Artis Brewing, The Improper Pig, YoCo Brew Trail and Lake Wylie Brewing Company. Bakeshop and Desserts: Cupcrazed Cakery, Z Bakery and Chocolat Boutique. For a real taste of Fort Mill, go to the Springs Farm Market for the local produce.
Take part and enjoy the year-round events and festivities in Fort Mill. Each season in Fort Mill has something to celebrate and witness.
Fort Mill celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in two locations. One in Main Street that features a street party, the Shamrock Jam, a leprechaun costume contest and games for kids. You can also head on to Baxter Village for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the annual Spring Festival where there’s fair and live entertainment.
The Walter Elisha Park hosts the annual South Carolina Strawberry Festival as a thanksgiving to the rich strawberry produce. There are games, pageants, live entertainment, exhibits and fairs and amusement rides for everyone’s enjoyment.
The Independence Day celebration on the 4th of July is commemorated in the Main Street. There are whole day festivities, fairs and exhibits. The highlight of the celebration is the cannonball firing and the colorful fireworks.
October features The Blues & Jazz Festival where blues artists from all of the US perform in various spots in Fort Mill. This is a two-day event for the appreciation of the rhythm and soul music of America.
Visit Carowinds in December and witness the spectacle of the WinterFest. Celebrate the Christmas season with families and friends when the park transforms into a winter wonderland. Experience the fun, music, food and activities of the holidays.
Living in Fort Mill, SC
Fort Mill is considered one of the fastest-growing communities in South Carolina. Its historic district is blended well with the town’s modern amenities. Also, the unique identity of the Southern tradition can still be felt amidst the contemporary lifestyles.
Quality of life in Fort Mill is unmatched. Low taxes, affordable housing, efficient transportation and access to major highways, booming industries, positive employment rate and excellent educational institutions are just some you can enjoy and appreciate living in Fort Mill, SC.