In 1886, Leroy Springs started a cotton shipping company, Leroy Springs & Co., for buying and shipping of cotton in Fort Mill South Carolina. The Springs Mill, located in Lancaster, South Carolina, was once touted as the “world’s largest cotton mill under one roof” with about 5,000 employees who produced 4 million yards of cloth per week. At one time, more than 7,000 looms ran full blast in the plant’s 13 spinning rooms.
In 1931, Leroy Springs passed away and was buried on the Springs Cotton Mill property. His son, Elliott White Springs, took over the business and mill. With Elliott's reputation as a playboy who would rather be a writer than a textile man, not to mention the country being in the midst of the Great Depression, many people suspected the company would not survive. But it did, quite successfully. Under his leadership, the outdated machinery was replaced and the mills were consolidated under the name Springs Cotton Mills.
The two-story, century-old cotton mill, which sits on 30-plus acres, shut down in September 2003 after the company determined it was obsolete, and its design too inefficient to modernize.