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Greenville History Resources

Subject Search for Books, Maps and Published Materials in Special Collections

Additional periodicals:  

  • Greenville civic and commercial journal, 1921-1925
  • Greenville Journal, 1925-1927
  • Insight into Greenville Magazine, 1970-1975 (scattered issues)
  • Greenville Magazine, 1981-1987

Manuscript and Archival Materials

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Brief Timeline

1768 - Richard Pearis, an Indian trader from Virginia who was living with a Cherokee chief’s daughter, received about 100,000 acres of hunting lands from the Cherokees. Pearis set up a plantation on the banks of the Reedy River in what is now downtown Greenville. 

1786 - Greenville County established by act of state legislature.

1795 - U.S. Post Office opens in Greenville village.

1813 - Whitehall, the oldest house still standing in Greenville, is built by Gov. Henry Middleton on Earle Street.

1815 - Vardry McBee builds grist mill on the Reedy River, and purchases 11,000 acres on the river. He would give land for the first schools (the Greenville Male and Female Academies), for the first four churches (Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian), and he established a brick yard, rock quarry, and saw mill, in addition to corn and grist mills, a tannery, and a large general store. 

1820 - First textiles mills built on Rocky Creek and Enoree River; Poinsett Bridge built in northern part of county.

1826 - The Greenville Republican, the village's first newspaper, starts publication.

1851 - Furman University moves to Greenville from Winnsboro.

1853 - The first Greenville and Columbia Railroad train arrived at a depot on Augusta Road in December.

1854 - The Greenville Baptist Female College opened on the land and in the buildings of the former academies.

1859 - Furman’s religion department separated to become the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

1868-1869 - Greenville is designated as a city rather than a village by state legislature.

1874 - The Greenville News starts publication.

1875 - Camperdown Mill, the first textile mill in the city, begins manufacturing.

1895 - President Grover Cleveland and his cabinet stop in Greenville briefly on his way to the Atlanta Exposition. According to the newspaper account [Greenville Mountaineer, Oct. 23, p. 4] his train came through on October 22 and was halted some distance from the passenger station. He did not get off the train, but spent 15-20 minutes greeting those near him.

1896 - Greenville City Hospital, forerunner of Greenville Hospital System, admits its first patient on June 17.

1908 - Shoeless Joe Jackson becomes nationally famous as a major league baseball player.

1913 - Greenville City Hospital was established and in 1947 the Greenville Hospital system was created.

1915 - Southern Textile Show, Greenville's first, is held in November.

1917 - First Textile Hall opens on West Washington Street.

1919 - Phillis Wheatley Association is organized by Hattie Duckett.

1921 - Greenville Public Library established. A hospital was built in Greenville that would be the forerunner of St. Francis Hospital and in 1950 the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor bought it.

1942 - Greenville Army Air Base, renamed Donaldson in 1951, opens.

1947 - Bob Jones University moves to Greenville from Cleveland, Tenn.

1951 - Eighty-two school districts in county consolidated into one.

1958 - Furman University relocates Men's College from downtown to new campus on Poinsett Highway; Woman's College moved in 1960.

1960 - Greenville library closes rather than integrate, but within weeks the course is reversed and it is reopened to all citizens.

1962 - Donaldson Air Force Base closes; Greenville-Spartanburg Airport opens. Classes begin at Greenville Technical College.

1970 - Greenville County Schools are integrated.

1974 - Greenville County Museum of Art opens on Heritage Green in March (had begun in Gassaway Mansion 1958); Mayor Max Heller proclaims Heritage Green on College Street as city's cultural complex.

1982 - Hyatt Regency Greenville opens, triggering downtown revitalization.

1987 - Michelin opens its North American headquarters off Interstate 85.

1990 - The Peace Center for the Performing Arts opens.

1994 - BMW opens its first U.S. manufacturing plant.

1998 - The $65 million, 16,000-seat Bi-Lo Center opens, replacing the Greenville Memorial Auditorium. Renamed the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on September 18, 2013.

1999 - South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities opens.

Manuscript and Archival Materials