The John C. Zimmerman House in the former resort village of Glenn Springs is a testament to the alleged healing properties of a spring that once drew people from far and wide. This community in Spartanburg County once contained a mineral spring (now dry), called Sulpher Spring or Powder Spring, which for decades was believed to cure almost any ailment. Between 1825 and 1827 John B. Glenn purchased 723 acres here, including the spring, and built a small inn and a few log cabins on the property, naming the area Glenn Springs.
In 1838 the Glenn Springs Company took over the property and built a large hotel and spa based on the spring’s growing popularity among the curious and those genuinely seeking the water’s healing benefits. However, the business faltered, and Orangeburg County native John Conrad Zimmerman, a planter who owned a nearby plantation on Fairforest Creek, bought the property in 1844 and ran it successfully until selling it in 1853. Under Zimmerman’s leadership, people traveled from across the state and even up and down the eastern seaboard to visit the Glenn Springs Hotel.
After selling the hotel, Zimmerman built his Greek Revival mansion in 1854 on a three-acre lot on Glenn Springs Road. The home possesses two two-tiered porticoes with Doric columns on each tier, impressing upon the community the significance of the owner. In 1856 Zimmerman became a part-owner of Bivingsville Mill, a cotton manufacturing plant that he operated along with John Bomar and Dexter Converse. Under their ownership the mill became known as Glendale Mill.
Glenn Springs continued to thrive as a resort village which included a store and a post office through the early twentieth century under various owners until the addition highways in South Carolina, which diverted traffic away from the landmark.
The John C. Zimmerman House is listed in the National Register as part of the Glenn Springs Historic District, which says the following about the area:
Glenn Springs Historic District is located in the community of Glenn Springs, which is situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The history of the community focuses around the reputation of the mineral springs for their medicinal value and the related development of a popular resort hotel. The district contains nineteen properties, including several residences, two boarding houses, the ruins of a residence, two churches, a store, a post office, a pavilion, a cemetery, and the site of the Glenn Springs Hotel. Historically, the district represents the nineteenth and early twentieth century (ca. 1840-ca. 1940) development of Glenn Springs as a health resort and the community that grew up around it. Several buildings in the district are of local architectural significance as well, representing various vernacular and high styles of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such as Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, and Bungalow.