River Life Today

A Rich Historic Setting

The Nation Ford Trail, a popular trading route for Native Americans years before recorded history, crosses the Catawba River at a rare natural ford just south of Fort Mill. This trail, named after the Catawba Indian Nation near the southern side of the ford, is one of the oldest documented travel routes in the Southeast and has helped shape the history of the country.

Traders used this path as early as the 1650s and it quickly became a major trade route. By the 1750s, the trail carried settlers from Virginia and Pennsylvania to the back country of the Carolinas. Two of the first to arrive were Thomas and Elizabeth Spratt who were befriended by the Catawbas and persuaded to make their home here. The Spratt family was instrumental in settling Fort Mill. Many of their descendants, including US Congressman John Spratt, still call this area home.

The strategic importance of the Nation Ford became evident during the American Revolution. General Thomas Sumter and his men camped in the area. After Lord Cornwallis’ defeat at King’s Mountain, he tried to cross the Catawba River at Nation Ford only to be forced downstream by flooding water. During the Civil War, the Nation Ford became a focal point when Union forces set ablaze an important rail trestle at the site on April 19, 1865. A few days later, Jefferson Davis and his cabinet crossed the river at Nation Ford as they fled southwest.

In the late 1800s, rising industrialists established several textile mills in the area which became part of Springs Industries. With its worldwide headquarters located in downtown Fort Mill, these mills flourished into the next century. Today, the area continues to make history and to grow in prominence as a center for industrial innovation. As part of this growth, Nation Ford Chemical, founded in 1977, has earned a reputation as one of America’s most respected custom manufacturers of specialty organic chemicals and is proud to call this historic site home.

Nation Ford Sign

Active Lifestyle

York County, South Carolina’s northern-most county, is one of 12 metropolitan areas of Charlotte, North Carolina. Just 25 minutes from Charlotte, York County’s over 225,000 residents enjoy easy access to Charlotte’s international airport, shopping and entertainment. Also within a short drive, residents can enjoy the Smoky Mountains or beaches, which are among the best in the world. The many recreational venues, lower taxes and great schools make York County a great place to live.


The Piedmont Medical Center Trail is a linear 3.35 mile paved, multi-use trail along the Catawba River offering a shaded walk among the trees with breathtaking river view.

Visit the Charlotte Region

the definitive source for everything…

York County
Fort Mill

Isabelle Santos Foundation

Nation Ford Chemical supports the mission of the Isabelle Santos Foundation:
Beat pediatric cancer, grow hari, live my dreams.

U.S. National Whitewater Center

The Whitewater Center is designed and operated as an outdoor center offering over 30 different recreational activities on its 1,300 acres of protected land and 50 miles of trails along the Catawba River. It hosts international competitions in a variety of sports along with numerous festivals and events.

Carowinds Amusement Park

Carowinds has over 60 rides, shows and
attractions including 14 world-class rollercoasters
and water parks.

Local School System

The Upstate boasts some of the best schools in South Carolina, with rankings consistently at the top.

Fort Mill Schools
Rock Hill Schools