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Greenville is a city in and the county seat of Greenville Countymarker, South Carolinamarker, United Statesmarker, in the state's upstate region. One of the principal cities of the Greenville-Mauldinmarker-Easleymarker Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), it had a population of 56,006 at the 2000 census, and the metropolitan area had an estimated population of 601,986 in 2006. Greenville is the largest city of the Greenville-Spartanburgmarker-Andersonmarker Combined Statistical Area (CSA) which has a 2006 estimated population of 1,203,795. The CSA, an 8-county region of northwestern South Carolina, is known as "The Upstatemarker". Greenville is located approximately halfway between the cities of Atlanta, Georgiamarker and Charlotte, North Carolinamarker along Interstate 85, and its metropolitan area is further serviced by Interstates 185 and 385.

Geography and climate

Greenville is located at (34.844313, -82.385428),centrally located between Atlantamarker (120 miles southwest), and Lexington, North Carolinamarker.

Greenville is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains; therefore, the city and county contain many hills and knolls. The highest point in South Carolina, Sassafras Mountainmarker, is located nearby in the northern part of Pickens County, which is adjacent to Greenville County to the west. Paris Mountain, home to many of the area's television and radio station towers, is the second most prominent peak in the area, and overlooks the downtown area from less than away. According to the United States Census Bureau, Greenville has a total area of 67.7 km² (26.1 mi²). 67.5 km² (26.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water.

Geology and seismology

Gold and other minerals have been mined in Greenville since the early 1800s. Rubies, amethysts, garnets, tourmalines, unakite and emeralds occur within of the city, likely washed down from the nearby mountains. Granite abounds in the area and is mined in Greenville as well as in neighboring counties.

Greenville sits on the associated faults of the Brevard Fault, a mostly quiet system which has, nonetheless, experienced some earthquakes of up to 6.0 on the Richter scale in the past 50 years; however, local earthquakes usually measuring not more than 3.0 are more the norm. Most of the city sits on various fault lines which seem to come together around Paris Mountain, a monadnock below which sits the city. This activity could be connected with the construction of Lake Hartwellmarker. Since 1990, Greenville has experienced fewer than 15 noticeable quakes, mostly centered in the Sandy Flats area.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 79 81 89 93 97 100 104 103 96 92 85 76
Norm High °F 50.2 54.8 62.7 71 78.2 85.1 88.8 87.1 81.1 71.4 61.3 52.7
Norm Low °F 31.4 33.9 40.5 47 56.2 64.3 68.7 67.9 61.7 49.7 41 34.3
Rec Low °F -6 8 11 25 31 40 54 52 36 25 12 5
Precip (in) 4.41 4.24 5.31 3.54 4.59 3.92 4.65 4.08 3.97 3.88 3.79 3.86
Source: [20039]

Law and government

The city of Greenville adopted the Council-Manager form of municipal government in 1976. It is also the county seat of Greenville County.


The area was part of the Cherokee Nation's protected grounds after the Treaty of 1763, which ended the French and Indian War. No White man was allowed to enter, though some families already had settled just within the boundary, and White traders regularly crossed the area. The first White man to settle permanently in the area was Richard Pearis, who settled at the falls of the Reedy River, sometime after 1770, which are now located in what is downtown Greenville. Paris Mountain, overlooking the city, is named for him.

During the American Revolution, the Cherokee (and Pearis) sided with the British. After a campaign in 1776, the Cherokee agreed to the Treaty of DeWitt's Corner, ceding territory that includes present-day Greenville County to South Carolina.

Greenville was originally called Pleasantburg. Greenville County was created in 1786 from Spartanburg District (now Spartanburg County), but was called Greenville District from 1800 until 1868. Greenville was probably named for American Revolutionary General Nathanael Greene, or else for Lord Grenville. Greenville is the mother district to Pendleton District (now Anderson County), Pickens District (now Pickens County) and Oconee District (now Oconee County).

In February, 1869, Greenville’s Town Charter was amended by the S. C. General Assembly establishing Greenville, the town, as a City.

In early to mid-1900, with Greenville being known as the “ Textile Center of the South”, an Exposition Hall for the textile industries was built.

During World War I; Greenville served as a training camp center for Army recruits. This eventually fostered the development of Donaldson Air Force Base, built during World War II, which was very important to the economy of the City of Greenville. Donaldson served as a military base until the early 1960s, when it was returned to the City of Greenville. The former air base has been developed into a business park. It contains historic military-style barracks which are used now by various businesses.

During the 1960s, blacks in the area were subject to the standard segregationist restrictions; they were limited to the back of city buses, were not permitted to stay in hotel or motel rooms which had white customers, and had to sit in the balcony of movie theaters. Especially significant was the restriction of blacks from use of the public library, which partially motivated the activism of the library-denied Jesse Jackson. Jackson, working through the NAACP, organized a sit-in at Greenville's F.W. Woolworth "five and dime" store, and quickly emerged as a civil rights leader. Compared to similar events in locations such as Birmingham, the protests were considered peaceful.

Beginning in the 1970s, then Mayor Max Heller spearheaded a massive downtown revitalization project. The first and most important step in changing downtown’s image was the streetscape plan, narrowing the street’s four lanes to two and installing angled parking, trees, and decorative light fixtures, as well as creating parks and plazas throughout downtown. Today, Main Street’s lofty canopy of trees impresses visitors and creates a welcoming backdrop for Main Street activities. A statue of Mayor Heller was recently erected in downtown, and dedicated in his honor for contributions to the city, and the revitalization of the area.

The new image provides a backdrop for private investment and growth throughout the city. The City also completed an ambitious $70 million rennovate of Falls Park on the Reedy, creating a unique pedestrian suspension bridge over Reedy River Falls.


As the largest city in the Upstatemarker, Greenville offers many activities and attractions. Greenville's theatres and event venues regularly host major concerts and touring theater companies. Four independent theaters present several plays a year.

Greenville has the only golf course in the world that has each hole conceived by a different designer. CrossWinds Golf Club is a public Par 3 course that can be played in one hour for 9 holes or in 2 hours for 18 holes. The course is lighted so evening play is available and it is located very close to downtown.

Notable event venues


Greenville is the main shopping destination of The Upstatemarker region. Downtown Greenville is home to many specialty shops and boutiques. The Haywood Mall is a major mall in the area.


Falls Park on the Reedy
The Waterfalls in downtown Greenville
View of park from foot bridge showing cascades.

Greenville's tree-lined Main Street
Falls Park is known as the birthplace of Greenville, but in the mid-20th century it was in severe decline, with the water polluted and grounds littered. In 1960, the Camperdown Bridge was built across the Falls, obstructing public view.In the mid-1980s, the City adopted a master plan for the park, leading to the removal of the Camperdown Bridge and making way for extensive renovations, to include 20 acres of gardens and the Liberty Bridge. While bridges with similar structural concepts have been built in Europe, the Liberty Bridge is unique in its geometry and there is nothing like it in the United States.

Notable annual events

Downtown renewal

Initially, Greenville's buildings were demolished and rebuilt fairly frequently. Greenville has one of the last Frank Lloyd Wright homes ever built.

At one time the retail center of the region, Greenville's downtown district began to languish in the 1960s as shopping centers lured the retailers and customers to the suburbs. It was a moribund downtown in the midst of a growing region. In response, the City started a downtown renewal project.

It initially focused on improving its image through streetscape and traffic improvements, including narrowing main street from four lanes to two lanes; installing free, angled parking, trees, flowers and light fixtures; and creating parks and plazas throughout downtown. This began in the 1960s and later under Mayor Max Heller who settled in the United States from Austria. The downtown streetscape renovation was designed by Landscape Architect Lawrence Halprin.

In the 1980s, Greenville turned to laying the foundation for their downtown vision and providing an example of business potential to encourage business re-location to downtown (Greenville Commons/Hyatt Regency). The city worked with consultants to develop and implement a downtown master plan and facilitated public-private investment partnerships which resulted in the city's first luxury convention hotel on Main Street.

Through the 1990s Greenville continued to strengthen its public/private partnerships to create strong anchors throughout downtown. The city redeveloped a languishing industrial area into an arts complex that incorporated historically significant buildings. It stabilized a stagnant historic district with the renovation of the WestEnd Market, a mixed-use project of shops, restaurants, and offices, which in turn encouraged residential use of vacant upper stories and former church classrooms.

Although the majority of Greenville-area residents live in the suburbs, the last 5–10 years has seen a major boom in downtown living and working as new luxury condos, apartments and lofts go up and more and more businesses are moving their offices to the now thriving downtown.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded Greenville with the Great American Main Street Award in 2003. Since then it has been featured in numerous publications, including Southern Living Magazine.


Greenville's public elementary and secondary schools are part of the Greenville County School District, which is the largest district in South Carolina. Greenville is also served by a number of private and religious schools. One important landmark of education, the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities, is located in Greenville overlooking the Falls Park on the Reedymarker.

Greenville County has a total of 16 official public high schools:

Greenville is also home to many private schools as well, including:

Greenville city and county are home to several colleges, universities, and technical schools:


Greenville's economy was formerly based largely on textile manufacturing, and the city was once known as "The Textile Capital of the World." In the last few decades, low wages and favorable tax benefits have lured foreign companies to invest heavily in the area. The city is the North American headquarters for Michelin and sole manufacturing location for BMWmarker in The Americas. Recently, the International Center for Automotive Research has been created

When the former Donaldson Air Force Basemarker closed, the land became the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center, and is home to a Lockheed Martin Aircraft and Logistics Center, as well as 3M and Honeywell.

Also, General Electric company has a gas turbine and wind energy manufacturing operation here. In addition, O'Neal, Inc. a project planning, design, and construction firm, has its headquarters in Greenville as well.

The Thomas Creek Brewery was founded on Piedmont Hwy in 1998. The company produces a range of beers, including Mobius, a lager containing taurine, ginseng, caffeine, and thiamine.


Greenville is a respected medical center and has two main health systems.

Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, which includes ST. FRANCIS downtown, ST. FRANCIS eastside, St. Francis Outpatient Center and Upstate Surgery Center, is ranked among the best hospitals in the nation by HealthGrades for heart surgery and overall orthopedic services.

The extensive Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center is a non-profit academic medical center which, with five campuses, including Patewood Memorial Hospital, is one of the largest employers in the region.

Additionally, Greenville Shriners Hospital exclusively treats pediatric orthopaedic patients free of charge.


Greenville is located on the Interstate 85 corridor, approximately halfway between Atlanta and Charlotte. The northern terminus of Interstate 385 is located downtown, and the area is also served by Interstate 185 and U.S. Highway 123 (Calhoun Memorial Highway). Other major highways include U.S. 25, U.S. 29 and U.S. 276.

There are several airports servicing the Greenville area. The largest in the region, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airportmarker (GSP), is the second busiest in the state and is served by most major airlines. Greenville serves as a freight hub for FedEx Express, Air Canada, Lufthansamarker, and British Airways.

The Greenville Downtown Airportmarker, (GMU), [] is busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina.

Amtrak's Crescent train connects Greenville with the cities of New Yorkmarker, Philadelphiamarker, Baltimoremarker, Washingtonmarker, Charlottemarker, Atlantamarker, Birminghammarker and New Orleansmarker. The Amtrak stationmarker is situated at 1120 West Washington Street. Additionally, Greenville is a part of the proposed Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor, which will run from Washington, DC to Birmingham, AL.

Public transit in Greenville is handled by the Greenville Transit Authority (GTA). GTA runs a bus system that serves the Greenville area and much of Greenville County. City leaders are in the early planning stages for a comprehensive transit system that will help ease the high traffic volume on interstates and roadways. Considerations for the expansion of the current GTA bus routes, creation of a tram-trail running from Travelers Rest to Downtown Greenville, and discussions on the future potential for commuter rail and light rail transit systems will connect suburban commuter stations with urban destinations, office parks, and retail centers.

Interstate 3

Interstate 3 is a proposed freeway that would begin in Savannah, GAmarker run to Augusta, GAmarker and then possibly to Greenville before reaching Knoxville, TNmarker. Greenville is not along the original I-3 route; however, there are several alternative routes, including the one in which Greenville is a major destination along the highway.

Sports teams

Spectators at a Greenville Drive game
Greenville has hosted several minor league sports teams: Furman Universitymarker:
  • The Furman Paladins. Furman competes at the NCAA Division I level. (Note: Furman football is a member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.) Furman athletic teams compete on-campus in various venues, including Paladin Stadium, Timmons Arena, and the Eugene Stone Soccer Stadium. Furman is a member of the Southern Conference.

There are at least 4 stadiums for football and baseball located within the city, and many outside, with total capacities of 100,000. There are also a number of soccer fields and at least three municipal and many private community swimming pools.

Yachting and boating are also popular in Greenville. Although the city itself is landlocked, nearby Lakes Jocassee, Keowee, and Hartwell afford this activity within of Greenville.

The Olympic Torch has passed through Greenville several times, and the city is an active participant in the Special Olympics.

During the 2008 Little League World Series it was revealed that Greenville, along with Morganton, NCmarker and Warner Robins, GAmarker, are the finalists to receive the Southeast Regional Headquarters that was originally located in Gulfport, FLmarker.

The arts

Greenville has a thriving arts community, with a number of venues to support performances. Greenville has been named one of the "Top 100 Arts Small Towns in the United States." The Bi-Lo Centermarker, constructed in 1998, brings national tours of many popular bands to downtown, and the Peace Center for the Performing Artsmarker provides an excellent venue for orchestras and plays.

Visual art

A number of local artists operate studios and galleries in the city, especially the Pendleton Street Arts District near downtown. The Metropolitan Arts Council and Upstate Visual Artsprovide a number of public events that focus on the visual arts, including the First Fridays Art Walk, Greenville Open Studios, and the West Greenville Arts Festival. Greenville also provides some notable fine arts museums:


Greenville has an active music scene, with frequent live performances in the downtown area by local Jazz, Country, and Rock bands. Greenville is also home to the teen sensation Miley Cyrus.

The city is home to a number of local orchestras, including the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville County Youth Orchestra, Carolina Youth Symphony, and the Carolina Pops Orchestra. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Greenville native Keith Lockhart, regularly performs at the Bi-Lo Center. Furman and Bob Jones Universities offer courses in operatic singing, and BJU has staged a full-scale grand opera each March for more than fifty years.

Dance and theatre

The Carolina Ballet Theatre is a professional dance company which regularly presents programs at the Peace Center and elsewhere. Their major annual event is the presentation of Tschaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet, but a similar production is performed by International Ballet Academy, another popular dance company in the area. Centre Stage, Greenville's Professional Theatermarker is a year-round, 285-seat professional theater producing a full season of music, comedy, drama and special events. Other theatres in the area include the Greenville Little Theater, South Carolina Children's Theater and the Warehouse Theatre.


A number of notable writers have lived in downtown Greenville or nearby. Internationally known author and composer William Rowland lives in the city, as does novelist and educator Robert Powell as well as New York Times best selling children's author Melinda Long, and novelists Ashley Warlick and Mindy Friddle. Renowned playwright James Rasheed lives in Greenville, and the late Poet Laureate Carl Sandburg was a frequent visitor.


The Greenville News is the city's daily newspaper and also the Upstate's largest daily newspaper in circulation and readership.

Greenville Journal: Weekly newspaper dealing with business, economic development, local events, and current issues relevant to Greenville.

GSA Business: Published every two weeks, it covers business news from across the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson metro area.

Greenville Magazine: Monthly magazine which caters to Greenville middle- and upper-class lifestyle.

Upstate Link magazine The Upstate's premiere young reader (20s-30s) newsweekly. The weekly publication began in January 2004. Link continues to be a print publication, but its Web site ceased operation in 2008. Its new Web site is run by Chicago-based Metromix.

Greenville HD: An all-video website that gives viewers a look at everything in Greenville, South Carolina.


Greenville is part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson-Asheville DMA which is the nation's 36th largest television market. See the box below for the local television stations:


Greenville is part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson Arbitron Metro which is the nation's 59th largest radio market with a person 12+ population of 813,700. See the box below for the local radio stations:


Location of the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley Metropolitan Statistical Area in South Carolina

Greenville is the largest principal city of the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Greenville, Laurensmarker, and Pickensmarker counties and had a combined population of 575,681 at the 2000 census.

As of the census of 2000, there were 56,002 people, 24,382 households, and 12,581 families residing in the city. The population density was 829.4/km² (2,148.0/mi²). There were 27,295 housing units at an average density of 404.2/km² (1,046.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 62.12% White, 33.94% African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.27% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.37% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.44% of the population.

There were 24,382 households out of which 22.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.7% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% were non-families. 40.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.0% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,144, and the median income for a family was $44,125. Males had a median income of $35,111 versus $25,339 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,242. About 12.2% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.7% of those under age 18 and 17.5% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people from Greenville

Notable figures who were born in, lived in, or are otherwise associated with Greenville.








Actors and Journalists


Military figures

See also


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