Greenville’s seven historic districts

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Photo by @vanzeppelinaerial

Morning, GVL 👋 Ana here. As some of you may know by now, I was born + raised in Greenville, so I’m a little ashamed to admit I didn’t learn about our city’s seven Historic Districts until I attended the Urban Land Institute and Seamon Whiteside’s guided virtual “Crane Watch” tour back in June. 

Over the next few months, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce y’all to each of the seven historic districts – Colonel Elias Earle, East Park Ave., Hampton-Pinckney, Heritage, Overbrook, Pettigru, and West End – starting with the Hampton-Pinckney Historic District (the very first historic district in Greenville).

Hampton-Pinckney Historic District

Hampton-Pinckney Historic District map
Hampton-Pinckney Historic District (circled)

History time

Way back in 1815, Vardry McBee purchased the land that would include what is now the Hampton-Pinckney Historic District (and more) for $27,550. I don’t know about y’all, but I’d love to purchase 11,028 acres of land for that price downtown today. The first house built in the area was for McBee’s son, but McBee also donated parts of his purchase for the Greenville Male + Female Academies and our city’s first four churches. This neighborhood was the first “trolley car” neighborhood in Greenville.

In 1977, the district became our city’s first locally designated Preservation Overlay District, and in the same year, it was Greenville’s first district to be named to the National Register of Historic Places. Queen Anne + Craftsman style architecture dominate the neighborhood with some Gothic Revival, Colonial Revival, Italianate, and even Prairie style homes mixed in.

You can learn much more about the district on their website, and even check out their walking tour here.  

Victorian home on Hampton Ave. built in 1895 for J.M. Geer | Photo by @gvl_digs
Victorian home on Hampton Ave. built in 1895 for J.M. Geer | Photo by @gvl_digs

Digs for sale

Want to live in (or close to) the Hampton-Pinckney Historic District? Check out these homes. 

Classic brick home w/ huge backyard | 3 BD, 1 BA | $319,000

Remodeled blue charmer | 3 BD, 3BA | $439,000

Custom, luxury Charleston-style home | 4 BD, 3 BA | $699,601

Walkable biz + things to do

There are a lot of great things close to Hampton-Pinckney. Here are some we recommend. 

The Cook’s Station (The newly opened The Cook’s Station is right around the corner. Read more about all they have to offer and their Olivelle olive oil bar here.) 

Dog Culture (A puppy paradise + they have the best Instagram.)

Heritage Green (The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Upcountry History Museum, Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville Theatre, Sigal Music Museum, and Hughes Main Library) 

Hincapie Sportswear (Cycling gear + custom kits from the Hincapie family)

Buttercream Bakehouse (Sweet treats, wedding cakes, and cafe eats) 

The Commons (Food, shops, and offices all housed in some former warehouses close to the SRT)

The Kroc Center (Tennis courts, aquatic center, youth soccer, Kroc Fit, and more) 

Unity Park (Coming soon – 60-acre park with green space, three playgrounds, pedestrian bridge, and more) 

Belladina’s (Coming soon – One of three new Belladina’s locations from Pat + Joseph Leccese. Get all the details here.)

Posh Paws (Groomer + pet spa that specializes in services for cats)

We’ll be publishing information on the Colonel Elias Earle Historic District (Greenville’s second designated historic district) soon, so be sure to check back in.  

Colonel Elias Earle Historic District

As it was the second district in the City to be named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, the next district we’re covering is the Colonel Elias Earle Historic District

Colonel Elias Earle Historic District (circled)
Colonel Elias Earle Historic District (circled)

History time

We know y’all love some history, and this time we’re getting it straight from the nomination form for the district that was submitted to the US Department of the Interior in 1981. The 87, largely residential, properties in this district originally belonged to one of the earliest ironmasters in the south Elias Earle (as you may have already guessed by now)

The majority of the homes in this neighborhood were built between 1915 and 1930 “by businessmen who prospered during the postwar era.” The district contains wonderful examples of Colonial Revival, Bungalow, Shingle, Tudor, and early twentieth century vernacular forms and largely retains its appearance from the 1920s. Two of Greenville’s oldest landmarks are also in the neighborhood – Whitehall (summer home of Governor Henry Middleton built in 1813) + the Earle Town House (built about 1820). To see images of key properties in the area, click here

“The district is significant in community planning as an early automobile neighborhood. Side driveways, rear garages, and porte cocheres all helped the neighborhood accommodate the automobile. Typical of early automobile suburbs, houses were set back from the road and had large, grassy front yards.” 

Home in the Colonel Elias Earle Historic District | Photo by @gvl_digs
Home in the Colonel Elias Earle Historic District | Photo by @gvl_digs

Digs for sale

Want to live in (or close to) this historic district? Check out these homes.

98-year-old home on National Register of Historic Places | 3 BD, 2.5 BA | $630,000

Remodeled three fireplace bungalow | 2 BD, 2 BA | $324,900

Adorable bungalow with hardwoods throughout + fenced backyard | 2BD, 1 BA | $275,000

Walkable biz + things to do

The Bohemian Cafe (Brunch at The Bo is a must for any Greenvillian. Editor Ana’s top food recs – Trucker’s Special, Taos Breakfast Burrito, and/or French Toast.)  

Horizon Records (Attached to The Bohemian Cafe + your go-to local spot for vinyl.)

Tommy’s Country Ham House (Serving the Upstate southern staples for 34 years.)

Radio Room Greenville (Live music venue + self-proclaimed dive bar with a full kitchen.)

North Main Rotary Park (Facilities include a basketball court, baseball field, playground, and picnic area. There’s also a small creek that runs throughout the park.)

Triune Mercy Center (A non-denominational mission church working to welcome + empower Greenville’s homeless community.)

Liability Brewing (Local brewery with rad beer names + cans.)

Coffee on Stone (The second location of the original Coffee Underground of downtown Greenville with a full coffee menu plus shakes, frappes + gelato.)

World Piece Pizza (Local pizzeria featuring Chicago deep dish and brick oven pizza.)

The Drop In Store + Maria’s Kitchen (Some of the best tacos in Greenville (don’t let the outside deceive you). Read more here.) 

East Park Avenue Historic District

Keeping with our NOMA area theme, the third district we’ll be highlighting is the East Park Avenue Historic District which was named to the National Register of Historic Places in Oct. 2005.

East Park Avenue Historic District (circled)
East Park Avenue Historic District (circled)

History time

In our opinion, one of the coolest things about the East Park Ave. district is McPherson Park. Created over one hundred years ago, it’s the City of Greenville’s oldest park and the heart of this historic community. The land for the park was bequeathed by W.C. Cleveland – a former mayor and member of the state’s House of Representatives.

This historic district is an excellent example of an early twentieth century suburb, and as you can see throughout these photos, retaining walls accent the hilly topography, mature trees provide shade, and grassy lawns create a park-like setting.”

Home in the East Park Avenue Historic District | Photo by GVLtoday team
Home in the East Park Avenue Historic District | Photo by GVLtoday team

Digs for sale

Want to live in (or close to) this historic district? Check out these homes. (By the way, we know these homes are on the pricey side, but they are all stunners. 😍  Clicking through the listings is procrastination at its finest.)

Historic B+B | 6 BD, 8 BA | $1,475,000

Private drive to your Oakleaf English manor | 7 BD, 9.5 BA | $3,775,000

Who *woodn’t* love it | 6 BD, 5 BA | $885,000

Walkable biz + things to do

Stone Avenue Nursery (Don’t blink or you might miss this quaint secret garden.)

We Took to the Woods (A cozy, seasonal shop “that celebrates the changing of seasons, most often apparent in the woods.”)

McPherson Park (Bring your own ball + club for a free mini golf course that’s fun for all ages. There are also walking trails, tennis courts, picnic shelters, and playgrounds.)

jī-rōz (Traditional, and delicious, Greek food. They also have the One Eyed Donkey food truck.)

Stone Pin Company (Boutique bowling alley with six lanes and tasty eats + premium cocktails.)

Universal Joint (Neighborhood restaurant with a dog-friendly, and very large, patio.)

Two Chefs Cafe and Market (“A cafe and market built on fresh ingredients. Crafted by chefs. Made for you.”)

Drift Float & Spa (Float, Infrared Sauna, Lucia Light, and Oxygen Bar.)

Blossom Shoes & Such (Stylish accessories to complete any fashionable look.)

Dahlia A Florist (Creative + detailed floral designs.)

Heritage Historic District

One of our New Year’s resolutions in 2021 is to bring you a new installment of Greenville’s seven historic districts every month. So, we’re proud to say that, so far, we’ve stuck to at least one resolution. Without further ado, it’s on to the Heritage Historic District, which was designated as a local preservation overlay by city council in Dec. 2001. (And, boy oh boy, do we have a cool tidbit of history to share with y’all about this neighborhood.)

Heritage Historic District (circled)
Heritage Historic District (circled)

History time

The majority of the 126 structures in this historic district were built in the bungalow style in the 1920s. Prior to the neighborhood’s construction, the area was home to a large vineyard and a dairy. For several years, when the neighborhood and agricultural endeavors coexisted, the residents of the Heritage Historic District worked in these two industries. Now on to that bit of fun history we mentioned. 

Located at 307 Townes St. is a building that has been a synagogue, church, photo studio, and, now, private residence. The structure was completed in 1929 and originally functioned as the old Beth Israel Synagogue – the home of the first local Jewish congregation in Greenville. Former Greenville Mayor and local celebrity (in our eyes anyways) Max Heller was a member of this congregation and attended services in this building for many years. (You can even see the Jewish Star of David in the top right corner of the building.) To learn how the building has been transformed over the years, click here. And to get a sneak peek of what the interior of this incredible home looks like now, click here.

Private residence at 307 Townes St. | Photo via Darrohn Engineering
Private residence at 307 Townes St. | Photo via Darrohn Engineering

Digs for sale

Want to live in (or close to) this historic district? Check out these homes. (Like everywhere else in Greenville, homes in this neighborhood are hot, hot, hot. Thus, why you only see one listing.)

NOMA City Terrace | 2+ BD, 2.5+ BA | Pricing begins in the mid $500s

Home in the Heritage Historic District | Photo by @gvl_digs
Home in the Heritage Historic District | Photo by @gvl_digs

Walkable biz + things to do

There are a lot of great things close to the Heritage Historic District. Here are some we recommend. 

St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (Completed in 1995 + the home of our favorite Greek Festival. Learn more about the church’s history here.) 

HeadQuarters Day Spa and Salon (Intimate salon and spa offering a positive and personal experience.) 

The Cook’s Station (The recently opened Cook’s Station is right around the corner. Read more about all they have to offer and their Olivelle olive oil bar here.) 

Heritage Green (The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Upcountry History Museum, Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville Theatre, Sigal Music Museum, and Hughes Main Library.) 

Buttercream Bakehouse (Sweet treats, wedding cakes, and cafe eats.) 

The Bohemian Cafe (Brunch at The Bo is a must for any Greenvillian.)  

Horizon Records (Attached The Bohemian Cafe + your go-to local spot for vinyl.)

Liability Brewing (Local brewery with rad beer names + cans.)

Coffee on Stone (The second location of the original Coffee Underground of downtown Greenville with a full coffee menu plus shakes, frappes + gelato.)

World Piece Pizza (Local pizzeria featuring Chicago deep dish and brick oven pizza.)