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downtown tour
enjoy the sites and sounds of downtown

bronze suitcase scuplture

Map Reference a

The Convention & Visitors Bureau sponsored this sculpture which was done by local artist Zan Wells. This “bronze suitcase” is located in front of City Hall, 206 S Main Street, and is used to display the Visitors Guide to Greenville S.C. on nights & weekends for pickup by visitors coming into the city when the visitors center is closed. Also, read the placard on the sidewalk that inspired this sculpture. Another project of the CVB is the "Thoughts on Main". While strolling along the sidewalk between the Westin Poinsett Hotel to McBee Street, read the "words of wisdom" from various philosophers which are etched in blocks along the sidewalk. Don’t forget to watch where you are going though!

mice on main
Map Reference b

Also done by Wells, this was a school project idea by a local high school student who wanted to do something good for the community so that people would feel they are in a special place – that has character and individuality. Based on the popular children’s book Goodnight Moon, a bronze sculpture of the book and one mouse are mounted on the fountain in front of the Hyatt Regency hotel and the other eight mice are installed along a nine-block stretch of Main Street between the Hyatt & the Westin Poinsett hotels. Find them on your own – that’s part of the appeal! Or, a "hints sheet is distributed by the Visitors Center (or click here!). (Mouse at corner of Main & Washington removed due to construction).

joel poinsett statue

Map Reference c

A former statesman & Greenville citizen who helped shape the history of the city. This bronzed statue was also done by Wells. It is mounted in the Court Street area at the site of a historic speech made by Poinsett on behalf of preserving the Union on July 4, 1851. This location is near one of his namesakes, the Westin Poinsett Hotel. On one of his travels to Mexico, he brought back some of the red plants blooming there and this plant is known as the Poinsettia plant.

“shoeless” joe jackson statue
Map Reference d

Joe Jackson began his baseball career in Greenville and went on to play for the Chicago White Sox. A local sculptor, Doug Young, molded this statue of Joe at bat in the lobby of the City Hall building. Supporters were able to watch the statue being created and to actually take part in the process by kneading the clay that the artist used. This life-size statue is mounted in the historic West End area at the south end of Main and Augusta Streets in what has been named Shoeless Joe Jackson Plaza. Bricks from the old Comisky Park were used in the base . Also, the location of the park & grave sites are under "Shoeless" Joe Jackson Park (#20 listed below).

horse-drawn carriage & gondola
Map Reference e

Carriage Rides: Three carriage companies offer tours of downtown and the West End. Rides depart from the Westin Poinsett, the Camperdown entrance to Falls Park, and the intersection of Main and Coffee Streets. Typically the services operate on Friday and Saturday evenings, weather permitting. For more information, contact:
Whispering Winds Carriages: 864-220-3650
Horse Drawn Carriages: 864-369-1411
Cooper Farm Carriage Service: 864-876-2670

vardry mcbee statue

Map Reference f

The Sculptor for this project was T.J. Dixon of San Diego. The location is at Court Square on E. Court Street. McBee was a builder considered by historians to be the "Father of Greenville". He constructed 100 buildings in Greenville County and built a textile mill along the Reedy River. He gave land to four downtown churches, all of which gave $5,000 toward cost of the statue.

beattie house
Map Reference 1

8 Bennett Street

The Beattie house was built in the 1830’s by Fountain Fox Beattie. The two wings of the Italiante Gothic-style house were added as the family grew in size. The house has been moved twice and is occupied by the Greenville Woman’s Club. Open to the public by appointment – 233-9977. Free admission.

bi-lo center

Map Reference 2

409 E. North Street
The Bi-Lo Center is the Upstate’s premier sports and entertainment arena. This arena was named after the grocery chain after a contract was signed with them. It is the home for Greenville’s ice hockey team, The Greenville Grrrowl, the professional indoor football team, the Carolina Rhinos; and the National Basketball Development League, the Greenville Groove. This complex seats from 2,500 to 16,000.

bob jones university
museum & art gallery

Map Reference 3

1700 Wade Hampton Boulevard on the campus of Bob Jones University
The Museum & Gallery is one of America’s finest collections of Italian paintings, featuring 30 galleries displaying European sacred art from the XIII through the XIX centuries. Open Tues.-Sun. 2-5 p.m., except Dec. 20-25, Jan. 1, July 4, and Commencement Day in early May. Admission. Children must be 6 yrs. or older.

christ episcopal church

Map Reference 4

10 North Church Street
The church, organized in 1820 by summer residents from the Charleston area, was the first church of any denomination formed in the village of Greenville. The original sanctuary on this site was located in the area of the circular fountain and flowerbed. The cornerstone of the present structure was laid in 1852. The church is designed in a modified Gothic style with a cruciform shape. The spire rises 130 feet. The church’s cemetery is the final resting-place for some notable leaders including a former governor, Benjamin Franklin Perry, and Vardry McBee, “The Father of Greenville.” In 1820, McBee gave land for this church and for the Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist churches. His son, William Pinckney McBee, gave land for the Catholic Church.

earle and james street
historic district

Map Reference 5

Earle and James Streets
The large home at 310 West Earle Street, Whitehall, is the oldest house still standing in Greenville. It was built in 1813 as a summer home by Charlestonian Henry Middleton who had purchased the land from Elias Earle. Middleton’s home in the low country was Middleton Plantation. It is an example of the Barbadian style of architecture which takes advantage of summer breezes. It is a private residence occupied by a descendant of Elias Earle. The marker in front of the house gives its history.

The home at 107 James Street is one of the oldest homes in Greenville with dates varying from 1810 – 1826. There are no records available to establish the actual date of construction.

greenville cultural exchange center
Map Reference 6

700 Arlington Avenue
Contains a treasure-trove of history about Greenville’s black leaders – photos of the city’s first black policeman, first black librarian, first black school superintendent and memorabilia of the Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. Open 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday. 232-9162. Click here for more information.

greenville zoo

Map Reference 7

Washington Street in Cleveland Park
Enjoy the park facilities as well as see the wildlife from around the world, which is displayed in natural open-air exhibits. Open daily 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission. 467-3000.

hampton-pinckney historic district
Map Reference 8

Hampton and Pinckney Streets
This area, called “old money”, was owned by Vardry McBee. Many of his children built their homes here. The oldest house at 21 Pinckney was built by William Pinckney McBee, Vardry’s son, in the 1830’s. Most of the houses in this area date from the turn of the century and represent Victorian-style architecture. There are also some bungalow-style homes in the area.

heritage green
Map Reference 9

College Street
This land was owned by Vardry McBee. He gave it to the Male and Female Academies in the 1820’s so there would be schools in Greenville. In 1855 the land and building were occupied by the Greenville Baptist Female College, which became the Woman’s College of Furman University in the 1930’s.

When the Woman’s College moved to the new Furman Campus north of the city, Furman planned to sell the land. When the original deed was checked, however, Furman found that the land had to be used for cultural or educational purposes or it would revert to the McBee family. As a result of Vardry’s farsightedness, we now have Heritage Green. Located at this site are the Greenville County Library, the Greenville Little Theatre, and the Greenville County Art Museum, which houses the finest collection of Andrew Wyeth’s watercolors in the world. The art museum is open Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun. 1-5 p.m. Free admission.  Future development at this site includes the Greenville History Museum and ImagiNation, the Children’s Museum.

huguenot mill and mill office
Map Reference 10

W. Broad Street
Greenville County’s textile industry began in 1820; however, mills were not built in the city of Greenville until the 1870’s. The Huguenot Mill was built in 1882 and advertised itself as an electric plant that made plaid cloth. Even though it was located along the Reedy River, it was a coal-fired plant. This building is a classic example of adaptive reuse. Inside this building, along with some business offices, is a pictorial display depicting the history of textiles in the area. The small separate building was the office for the mill.


john wesley united
methodist church

Map Reference 11

Intersection of Court and Spring Streets
Built between 1899 and 1900, this two-story brick cruciform structure represents a local version of the Gothic Revival style in church architecture. It began officially in 1866, but the Reverend J. R. Rosemond, a “Slave Preacher” and himself a slave, was preaching before the War Between the States. He started not only this church but also 17 others in Greenville County and over 40 churches in the Upstate area of South Carolina.

kent manufacturing building
Map Reference 12

E. Court Street
Formerly the American Cigar Factory and Stone Manufacturing, this building was originally built around the turn of the century to diversify Greenville’s economy.

kilgore-lewis house
Map Reference 13

560 Academy Street
This historic house, the home of the Greenville Council of Gardens Clubs, is used for meetings, weddings and receptions. It is an example of the homes of the elite during the 1830’s and was moved to this site in the 1970’s. One of the original springs that provided a water supply for Greenville is located here. In the lower garden area behind the spring is a sensory garden designed for the blind. The house is open to the public Mon-Fri from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Admission. 232-3020.

mansion house

Map Reference 14

site of The Westin Poinsett Greenville Hotel
120 S. Main Street @ W. Court Street
In the early 1800’s Greenville became a summer resort, used primarily by the people from the Lowcountry to escape the heat, humidity and the “miasma” which plagued the coastal swamps and was thought to cause malaria. Summer residents were important to Greenville by helping to settle it down and by bringing with them their ideas, their customs and their religion.

The Poinsett Hotel, named for famous South Carolinian Joel Roberts Poinsett who introduced the Poinsettia plant to this area from his travels in Mexico, was built in the 1920’s on the site of the Mansion House and is L-shaped because it too was built around the corner of the Town Square. This hotel was THE hotel in the Upcountry for many years. People would travel miles out of their way to stay there. When guests paid their bills, they received scrubbed coins and ironed paper money as change.

After completion of a $20 million restoration, The Westin Poinsett Greenville hotel is now located at this site and has reclaimed its position at the center of Greenville’s business, social and community life.

Also, across Main Street from the hotel is the former Carpenter Bros. Drugstore, which was operated by the same family since 1883. The owners are now retired and the drugstore has been closed. The present owners have retained a lot of the former charm and memorabilia.

museum of confederate history
Map Reference 15

Boyce Avenue
The Museum is owned and operated by the 16th S. C. Volunteers, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp #36, in memory of the 250,000 Confederate Soldiers killed during the War and in honor of all of the Confederate Soldiers who answered the call to duty. It features a collection of artifacts and memorabilia. Open Wed 10am-3pm;Fri. 5-9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Free admission.

old town square

Map Reference 16

Now Court Square
Main Street between East and West Court Streets
The original Town Square for a settlement was begun by Lemuel Alston in the late 1780’s. Alston had purchased 11,000+ acres of land and laid out a plan for a settlement that he called Pleasantburg. Almost from the beginning, people called it Greenville and historians have searched for the reason for this name for years. Historians now feel that it was named after the Revolutionary War hero, Nathaniel Greene. Greenville was on the trade routes between the mountains and the coast. If you can picture western movies when the cowboys rode into town on a Saturday night, you can picture early Greenville.

peace center for the
performing arts

Map Reference 17

Corner of Broad and Main
The $42,000,000 Peace Center opened in 1990 and gets its name from the Peace family who made a substantial contribution to the facility. Included in this complex are the Peace Concert Hall which seats 2,111, the Dorothy Gunter Theater with seats 402 and the amphitheater along the Reedy River, which seats 1,500.

Support facilities for both the theatres were part of the historic industrial complex. The Gunter Theatre is the smaller theatre and backs up to a 1920’s building; the Peace Center Concert Hall leads into the Huguenot Mill. Between the two theatres is the old coach factory building, built mid-1800’s, that made wagons and carriages. Their entire inventory was shipped out for use during the Civil War. It now houses a restaurant and a cabaret theatre in what was the blacksmith shop of the coach factory. On site also is an open pavilion, which was the paint shop of the coach factory. It later became the manufacturing home of Duke’s Mayonnaise.

pettigru historic district

Map Reference 18

Washington, Williams, Pettigru, Broadus Streets
This land was owned by James Pettigru Boyce, a professor at Furman University’s Baptist Seminary. He was the son of the second wealthiest cotton planter in South Carolina. Lots began to be sold in this area around the turn of the century, and the area became known as “new Money” because industrialists coming into Greenville built their homes here.  Located at 104 Broadus is a Victorian style home from the late 1890’s. This was the first home of Lewis W. Parker. The outstanding edifice on the corner of Williams and Washington was built around 1900 by Lewis W. Parker as his second home. It is representative of the home of early twentieth century industrial leaders of Greenville. Parker gained considerable fame for his expertise in re-organizing cotton mills and, eventually, owned the Lewis W. Parker Cotton Mill Company. This building is now the home of the Poinsett Club.

falls park on the reedy

Map Reference 19

Upper and Lower Falls of the Reedy River – Located behind Falls Cottage
This property is owned by the city of Greenville and is called the "Cradle of Greenville" since this is the area where Greenville was first settled. In 1758, Richard Pearis, a trader from Virginia, came into Cherokee Nation land to trade with the Indians. In 1768 Pearis and his family moved to the area that was known as the Great Plains of South Carolina. Today this area is the Reedy River Falls area in what is now downtown Greenville. Some historians believe this name came about due to the growth of the reeds along the banks of the river. Along the river Pearis built a trading post, a saw mill and, near the falls, a gristmill. Other than the Indians, Pearis became the first land owner through his son George whose mother was Pearis’s Cherokee sidewife.  Soon after the British accepted this transfer of land, Richard Pearis became a Tory. During the American Revolution the Patriots destroyed his property.

In 1786 an ordinance established a new County named Greeneville County. Since there was an extra "e" in Greenville, it is believed that this County was named for Nathanael Greene, who was George Washington’s Southern commander during the Revolutionary War.

The power generated by the waterfalls continued to encourage the building of factories and mills. In the park area, there are markers depicting some of the history that developed in this area.

Here, too, was the Arboretum of Furman University. Old steps can be seen leading into the park from the former Furman campus which is now County Square and the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, a nine-month residential school dedicated to arts education for high school juniors.

Today, Falls Park on the Reedy is the home to Reedy River Falls, one of the great downtown waterfalls in the nation! This beautiful riverside park features a spectacular world-class pedestrian bridge that spans 380 feet across the falls, a beautiful public garden and two amphitheaters for gatherings and events. Visitors are invited to stroll the scenic trails, enjoy seasonal flowers, attend outdoor performances and picnic along the river.

shoeless joe jackson
memorial park

Map Reference 20

Located in Historic West Greenville’s Brandon Mill – Bryant Street off Pendleton Street
Historic West Greenville incorporated as a township in 1925 and became the central core for the great textile industrial boom of the early 1900s. The industrial cotton mills were chiefly responsible for the South’s recovery from the Civil War. Collectively, the mills brought the American working class together in what evolved into a baseball era. Mill workers by the thousands once swarmed out of drudgery, when the whistles blew on Saturday afternoons, to their village ballparks to enjoy the thrill of America’s favorite past time – BASEBALL. Textile baseball produced the baseball legend – Shoeless Joe Jackson. The Recreation District built a park in his honor at the original site where he played ball. His grave is located at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens on Wade Hampton Blvd.

springwood cemetery
Map Reference 21

Between Church Street and Main Street
Springwood Cemetery began as a family burial ground for the Waddy Thompson family. Waddy’s mother-in-law lived with him and had beautiful formal gardens behind the house. She so loved her gardens that she wished to be buried there. When the family moved from the site, this became a public cemetery. Also mounted at this site is the Confederate Monument, honoring veterans who served during the Civil War.

Just past this monument at the intersection of Main and Academy Streets is the War Museum, 430 N. Main Street, in the American Legion building. Displays include actual war artifacts from the following eras: The Revolutionary War, The American Civil War, The Spanish/American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, The Persian Gulf. Open to the public – Sat. 10am – 5pm, Sun 1 – 5pm. Private tours can be scheduled. Free admission. 271-2000.

west end historic area and westend market

Map Reference 22

South end of Main Street at Augusta Street
In the 1890’s this area was called Greenville’s second downtown. This district was full of life and was a place where the people of the city could get their daily necessities. In 1994 the City of Greenville meticulously renovated the Alliance Cotton Warehouse into The WestEnd Market, 1 Augusta Street, which contains shops and restaurants.

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