Union County, SC Tour 2015 - Buffalo

Buffalo Mill office - 4
After spending a few hours in Union in my last post, I traveled the short distance over to Buffalo and the ruins of the Buffalo Mill.

Most of the mill has been torn down, leaving only two towers.
Buffalo Mill tower - 2 Buffalo Mill clock tower - 3
The mill and associated buildings in the area form the Buffalo Mill Historic District and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Photos taken during the listing process show the mill while it was intact:
Construction on the mill complex and its associated buildings began in 1901, and finished during 1902. The buildings that still remain are the two towers, the nice looking office...
Buffalo Mill office - 3
the company store building, ...
Buffalo Mill Company Store - 2
and the company drug store building...
Buffalo Mill Drug Store - 2
After the mill closed for good in 1994, the mill (except the towers), the icehouse, the powerhouse, and the warehouse have all been torn down. The National Register's photos show what the buildings looked like just shortly they were torn down.

Google Earth's 1994 view shows an aerial view of the mill, the ice factory, the powerhouse, and the warehouse when they were still standing.
A 2005 view shows those the icehouse and powerhouse buildings now gone, while the 2012 view shows the mill being demolished.
While touring the Union County History Museum, I photographed a display of old Buffalo photos on the museum wall.
Buffalo photos
At the top left is the Company Store Building. The Spartanburg County Public Library's photo collection contains a scanned postcard, likely sourced from the same photo, showing the building with the gasoline island in front.

At the top right is the Drug Store Building. At the bottom right are workers in the mill's cloth room. In the middle is a photo of the Buffalo Hotel and Boarding House, an interesting looking many-sided hotel no longer standing.

Ola pulled out her file on the mill and showed me these photos of the ornate interior of the office building, including a marble fountain in the middle.
Inside photos of Buffalo mill office
Looking in through one of the windows, I managed to spy the old marble fountain still in place.
Buffalo Mill office - 7
The mill pond, a short walk away from the office, has been repurposed into a small park.
Buffalo Community Park sign
A railroad spur once ran to the mill, and I almost forgot to look for it. The old right-of-way was easily visible, but I had the location on my tablet in case of difficulties.
Buffalo Mill abandoned railroad right-of-way - 2
I then traveled the short distance over to Buffalo Community Center.
Buffalo Community Center - 1
This building matches the GNIS location of Buffalo School, built in 1925, but the photo does not match the one in the National Register listing:
The National Register's nomination form places this building on Main Street, but I didn't see it in person and I didn't see it in Google's Street View either. A 1992 story in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal solves this mystery:
When the village school was moved to a location midway between Buffalo and Union several years ago, a teen center and senior citizens center were established in the school's former cafeteria building.
This former cafeteria building became the community center in the late 1980s according to another 1992 Herald-Journal story, and since this is indeed the spot of the old school then the main school building is now gone. The main building must have been on the this side of the cafeteria building where the parking lot is now:
Buffalo Community Center - 3
This could also mean the flag pole in that Buffalo School photo may be the same one as my "light pole" photo:
Light tree
After taking my photos of the community center, it was time to move on to West Springs, but I'll save that part of the adventure for the third and last part of this series.

My photos from this second part of the trip are in the Flickr album Union County, SC Tour 2015 - Buffalo. These photos are also in the Flickr album Union County, SC Tour 2015 and the Google photos album Union County, SC Tour 2015.


  1. Fantastic architecture for a mill building!

    1. W. B. Smith Whaley and his firm designed the Buffalo Mill and other mills in South Carolina including one in Newry, Union, and several in the Columbia area.This PDF goes into more detail about him and his work.

    2. And yes, the architecture is amazing!

  2. Thanks for the history. Beautiful towers at Buffalo Mill.


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