Greenville, South Carolina’s downtown – ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of “America’s Ten Best” – is widely known for its one-of-a-kind Falls Park and Liberty Bridge, renowned restaurants, quaint shops and world-class museums, galleries and theatres. Just steps away from Greenville’s bustling downtown are some of the city’s best kept secrets – there are seven, established, historic neighborhood districts full of southern charm, natural beauty and years of history!
Colonel Elias Earle Historic District
The Colonel Elias Earle Historic District was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, becoming Greenville’s second National Register District. Architecturally, this district is important because it contains two of Greenville’s earliest landmarks: the Earle Town House at 107 James Street, built about 1820; and “Whitehall,” at 310 West Earle Street, built in 1813 as the summer residence of Governor Henry Middleton.
East Park Avenue Historic District
The East Park Avenue neighborhood received its Historic-Architectural Overlay Zoning protection in 1989 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in October 2005. The city’s oldest public park, McPherson, is located on the southern boundary of the district and provides a buffer between the neighborhood and the downtown Central Business District.
Hampton-Pinckney Historic District
Vardry McBee’s son, Pinckney, built the first house in this area, prior to the Civil War. In the 1890s, part of the land McBee willed to his family was subdivided into residential lots. Fun Fact: The Hampton-Pinckney Historic District became the first “trolley car” neighborhood in Greenville!
Heritage Historic District
The Heritage Neighborhood is located in the West Park area to the northwest of downtown Greenville. City Council designated the neighborhood as a local preservation overlay in December 2001. The most prominent home model is the bungalow style, with peak construction occurring during the 1920’s.
Overbrook Historic District
The neighborhood of Overbrook was one of the first suburbs of Greenville, and attracted many people with its easy access by trolley. The popularity of the “Toonerville Trolley,” as it was called, continued despite the switch to bus transportation around 1928.
Pettigru Historic District
The Pettigru Historic District area is unique in the city for its evolution of styles from the Victorian era to 1930’s. Because of the wide variety of architectural styles, the large neighborhood was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. It is the largest historic district in the city.
West End Historic District
Although settlement in the area (near the intersection of Main, Pendleton and Augusta Streets) began as early as the 1830’s, the real impetus for growth of the West End resulted from two events occurring in the 1850’s. Furman University was established in 1852 on 50 acres of land in the West End, where it expanded and remained until 1958; and the first train on the Greenville and Columbia Railroad arrived in the West End in 1853. These factors led to both residential and commercial development of the area.
Source: City of Greenville – www.GreenvilleSC.gov
Additional Resources for Greenville, SC History Information:
Greenville Historical Society
Upcountry History Museum
Greenville History Tours