In 1874 Vardry McBee's heirs leased and renovated an old grain mill on this property to Massachusetts natives O.H. Sampson and George Hall. First called Sampson, Hall & Co. by its founders, the textile mill consisted of two, three-story buildings, each forty by twenty-eight feet. Its stone foundations are clearly visible below this terrace. The mill initially employed between fifty and seventy-five workers. Its 4,000 spindles spun cotton yarn for knitting and crocheting. It became Camperdown Number One when Sampson & Hall opened the Camperdown Mill on the north bank in 1876. In 1885, when Henry P. Hammett purchased the Camperdown Mill. O.H. Sampson transferred its machinery to a new mill outside the city limits. In 1906, Camperdown Number One was sold to Luther McBee, re-equipped and renamed the Vardry Mill.
On the hills surrounding this site, a twenty-seven acre mill village, complete with churches, mill store and recreation grounds once served the Camperdown and Vardry Mills. Houses were built on both sides of the river. The foundations and road bed of the Vardry Mill village are still visible on the hill side behind you, between this site and the Governor's School for the Arts. Whole families, often including children as young as nine or ten years old, worked at the mill. They rented houses for $0.50 a week per room; water and lights supplied by the mill. The extension of Church Street in the late 1950's destroyed much of the once extensive mill village.
Greenville's first post-bellum textile mill was founded by Massachusetts mill owners George Hall, George Putnam and O.H. Sampson, who came south to start their business after a disastrous fire in Boston. In cooperation with Vardry McBee's heirs, Alexander and Vardry A. McBee, Hall and Sampson opened the water powered Camperdown Mill (named for the Camperdown elms on the property) in 1876. The mill produced yarn and gingham fabric until 1956, when the Citizens and Southern National Bank built a regional headquarters on the site. It is now the site of Bowater, Inc's American headquarters. Stone retaining walls of the old mill and anchor points of its dam are still visible above the falls.