History of Boiling Springs

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Compiled by the staff of the Kennedy Room of Local and South Carolina History, 2004
Property of the Spartanburg County Public Libraries; duplication is not permitted without consent.

• Established: ca. 1760s-1770s
• Location: North of the city of Spartanburg
• Fun fact: Once considered as site for county seat

Boiling Springs by all rights should have been named Boiling Spring. There’s only one, and it used to be deep and roiling. People came from all over to see the pure water shoot six feet into the air, and the roar of the geyser could be heard from a quarter mile away.

By 1765, there were farmers living in the area, and by the 1780s, two churches had been established. According to early accounts, Boiling Springs received much consideration as a location for the county seat before Spartanburg was chosen.

The textile industry forever changed many communities of Spartanburg County, but Boiling Springs stayed true to its pastoral roots with peaches becoming a source of income in the early 1900s.

Mills Gap Road, later rechristened S.C. Highway 9, became a major thoroughfare from the more southern part of the county to North Carolina. In the early 1930s, after community pressure built, the road was paved and eased travel.

Businesses grew up around Highway 9, with general merchandiser P.D.’s Place at the corner of Highway 9 and Parris Bridge Road becoming a landmark. Otis J. Cantrell’s Mercantile was a longstanding store located beside the spring.

Recreation has played a major role in Boiling Springs during the 20th century and beyond. Rainbow Lake, north of Boiling Springs, was a popular resort. Amid the controversy of integration, Spartanburg Water Works officials announced in April 1968 that because of the expansion of the R.B. Simms Filtration Plant the lake would not reopen for the summer season. It never reopened as a recreational facility. Lake William C. Bowen was completed as a water source and recreational facility in 1960. Lakes Bowen and Blalock, also north of Boiling Springs, provided the impetus for more recent upscale housing developments that have greatly spurred growth in the community.

As for the spring, its glory days are over. By the 1930s, it had become a shallow, barely bubbling dimple of water. Development encroached on the spring in the late 1990s. In 1998, the spring’s surroundings were landscaped and an enclosure built around the spring’s opening. Today, the once-frothing water is still.