The town traces its beginnings back to 1873 when it was established as a flag station along the Atlanta Charlotte Air Line Railroad. Officially incorporated as Greer’s in 1876, the town later became known simply as Greer. The main business avenue stretched out from the railroad depot and quickly became known as Trade Street. Cotton brought in most of that trade and by the early 1900s two new railroads, Southern Railways and the Piedmont and Northern, constructed competing lines through Greer.
Textile industries were expanding rapidly. Within 100 miles there were an estimated 400 mills operating by 1930, including several in and around Greer itself. Warehouses, lumber and fuel production and the manufacture of cotton byproducts such as cotton seed oil and fertilizer were an outgrowth of the proliferation of the textile mills. The streetscape of Greer was transformed as the older wood frame buildings were replaced with brick commercial structures.
Today’s Greer is a snapshot of the early 1900s with the Downtown Historic District stuffed with intact examples of early upcountry commercial architecture. But before we get there our walking tour will begin a block away at the modern city government complex...
City Park/City Hall
301 East Poinsett Street
The three-story brick Greer City Hall and 12-acre City Park were unveiled in 2008. City Hall includes an entire floor dedicated to public space, with a 4,500-square-foot events hall available for conventions, receptions, and galas. Outside, City Park includes a large fountain timed to music, an amphitheater for public concerts and ceremonies, walking trails, a picnic shelter, and a decorative pond.
WALK ONTO RANDALL STREET DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM THE CITY HALL ENTRANCE.
300 Railroad Street
The Greer Depot was designed by Charles Christian Hook of Charlotte, North Carolina, and was constructed around 1913 as a combination passenger station and freight warehouse for the Piedmont and Northern Railway. It is the last surviving depot of the five built for the line. The second story room was also the Greer City Hall until the 1930s. Architecturally unique in Greer, it features a yellow brick exterior set on top of a wider red brick base and is laid in stretcher bond. The red clay tile hip roof is supported by a heavy wood truss and timber plank system.
300-302 Trade Street at southwest corner of Randall Street
This corner has been anchored by this brick Neoclassical two-story building since 1900. It features a hip-and-gable roof with an inset balustrade atop the entablature. The quartet of second-story windows are accented by keystones and arched entrance is highlighted by cast stone. Number 302 was once the Rialto Theatre.
219-223 Randall Street
These attached single-story vernacular brick buildings were constructed around 1900. Each features a different corbeled brick cornice and decorative segmental arched windows, executed in brick headers.
100 Randall Street
D.D. Davenport rose to prominence with the establishment of the town in the 1870s. He was a merchant, financier, real estate entrepreneur and owner of the Greer Oil Mill Company. Considered the town’s first millionaire, among his benefactions was the Greer High School, to which he donated the lion’s share of the $150,000 construction cost. This house was built by the widow of his son, Malcolm Clifton Davenport, in 1921. Clara Merchant Davenport retained the prominent Greenville architects James Douthit Beacham and Leon LeGrand to design this outstanding example of Tudor Revival residential architecture. When Mrs. Davenport died in 1927 her son, M.C. Davenport, president of the First National Bank of Greer, acquired the house.
TURN RIGHT ON MAIN STREET.
First Presbyterian Church
100 School Street at Main Street
The First Presbyterian Church of Greer was originally organized as Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church in 1841. The first little small frame church was located at Bailey’s Cross Roads and was literally rolled into the new town of Greers in 1880 with logs and forty mules.
Greer Heritage Museum
106 South Main Street
This smart little Neo-Georgian brick building wrapped in brick quoins served the community as a post office and later as the town hall. When the city government left in 2008 the Heritage Museum that had been operating in an old hardware store on Trade Street since its opening in 1996, moved in after a $160,000 restoration. More than 2,600 objects were transferred for exhibit; already in the building was a Works Progress Administration mural from the Great Depression depicting rural Southern life.
TURN RIGHT ON POINSETT STREET.
First National Bank of Greer
100 Poinsett Street at Main Street
This two-story brick building was home to the First National Bank of Greer when it opened in 1910. The upstairs operated as a school for a time. Over time some of the doors and windows have been partially filled; on the upper story the original metal cornice with dentils survives on the Poinsett facade.
109-113 East Poinsett Street
This typical one-story Greer brick building finds three individual store components wedded by a corbeled cornice and parapet above. One of the units once housed a post office.
115-117 East Poinsett Street
This two-story brick building with a built-up roof with parapet wall and six bays on the second floor dates to around 1920 and its days as the Elmore Hotel and Cafe.
TURN RIGHT ON TRADE STREET.
Planters Savings Bank
101 Trade Street at Poinsett Street
This two-story wedge-shaped building is a creation of Greenville architects James Douthit Beacham and Leon LeGrand in the Neoclassical Revival style. The duo strung eight arched windows with keystones around the building and capped it with a cornice and balustrade. The facade is laid in Flemish bond brick.
109-111 Trade Street
The ground floor of this 1905 building has been severely compromised but look up - the seven round arched windows remain as does the decorative corbeled cornice and stepped parapet. This was originally the W.M. Thompson hardware store.
Bank of Greer
116 Trade Street
This Neoclassical bank vault that dates to 1920 comes outfitted with a stone water table at its base, brick pilasters and a stringcourse and roman arched windows. This was the Bank of Greer.
201 Trade Street
Mayor T.E. Smith built this two-story brick building in 1915 and named it for his wife Fannie Bailey. It features a stepped parapet wall with brick caps, brick corner pilasters and a concrete stringcourse. The six windows each have a stone lintel.
212-214 Trade Street
This two-story building with a built-up roof and stepped parapet was executed in yellow brick around 1915.
217 Trade Street
Thomas Keating, an upcountry contractor and builder who was responsible for many buildings in Greenville and Spartanburg counties between 1903 and 1915, designed this two-story brick building with a trio of upper-level windows with wide concrete lintels and a concrete string course at sill level.
230 Trade Street
D.D. Davenport operated his emporium at this location beginning in the late 1800s, offering for sale all the new conveniences. In the years since Davenport’s death in 1918 the building, that once had two separate storefront entrances, has been used as a department store, a bank, a furniture company and others.
TURN LEFT ON RANDALL STREET AND CONTINUE TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT.