The history behind the Mills home on Mills Avenue in Greenville, SC

Photo of Captain Otis Prentiss MIlls home, early 1900s.

A stunner — porch, car and all. (Photo via Tom Brissey, Greenville SC Natives)

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Have you ever found yourself driving down Mills Avenue, and as you pass InStride Piedmont Podiatry, wondered what once stood in its place?

You probably haven’t had this specific thought, but you have likely reminisced with fellow Greenvillians on the history of the city and the grand homes + buildings that once dotted it.

We stumbled upon an incredible post in the Facebook group Greenville SC Natives that is a shining example of a home loved and laid to rest in history. May we introduce the home of Captain Otis Prentiss Mills.

Captain Mills’ home once stood at 13 Mills Ave. (which is now 11 Mills Ave., where you will find InStep Piedmont Podiatry). The home was originally built in 1900 and eventually turned into apartments in the 1940s before it was later torn down.

Let’s talk a little bit more about Captain Otis Prentiss Mills.

An NC native, Capt. Mills moved to Greenville around 1865 after serving in the Confederacy during the Civil War. Shortly after relocating to the Upstate, he met + married Susan Cordelia Gower, daughter of the Hon. T.C. Gower (another familiar + famous Greenville name) and had 5 children. Capt. Mills and his wife accumulated 300 acres in Greenville, which included today’s Otis Ave., Prentiss Ave., + Mills Ave.

Capt. Mills was quite the businessman after his time in the war, establishing Millsdale Dairy in 1870 and founding the South Carolina Cottonseed Company in 1872. After his retirement in 1887, he helped found the Greenville Fertilizer Company and eventually went onto build the Mills Mill in 1895, which had 5,000 spindles and 200 employees. Today, we know it as as the Lofts at Mills Mill.

Although Capt. Mills passed away on Jul. 23, 1915, he left a legacy through his children like his son, Otis Prentiss Mills, who went on to serve as vice president of Mills Manufacturing Company in the very mill his father built.


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