After a treaty was struck with the Cherokee Nation in 1753 European settlers, primarily Scotch-Irish, began trickling into this area from Pennsylvania and Virginia in the late eighteenth century. Almost unimaginably, here, far from the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia and Boston and Williamsburg, some of the most influential battles of the American Revolution would be fought.
In the impenetrable woods on King’s Mountain 160 Loyalists were killed and 760 more were taken captive by American woodsmen. Several months later more seasoned armies clashed on land used to winter cattle known locally as Hannah’s Cowpens. American general Daniel Morgan broke his badly outnumbered Continental force into three lines of defense and were able to completely rout the British. The fighting at Cowpens lasted barely one hour, but British losses were staggering: 110 dead and over 700 captured and wounded. Morgan lost only 12 killed and 60 wounded in a victory as complete as any in the Revolution. The Continental Congress awarded only 14 medals during the American Revolution, and three, including Daniel Morgan, were given for heroism at Cowpens.
Once the war ended, settlements sprang up in and around the area, and the new district began to take shape by forming its own government. Following the construction of a new courthouse, the town was named Spartanburg after the Spartan Regiment that had represented the area in Daniel Morgan’s army.
In 1831 the town incorporated and would become known as the “Hub City” as many railroads connected into the town. Between the late 19th century and early 20th century the textile industry dominated the economy in Spartanburg. Nearly 40 textile mills were built during this time period. Camp Wadsworth, located west of the city, became a second home to over 100,000 men as they trained for World War I. Then, during World War II over 200,000 men trained at Camp Croft located south of the city.
Spartanburg remains an important manufacturing center today but the streetscape is much changed from a hundred years ago. Some 19th century buildings remain, most are gone. Corporate headquarters and modern buildings have arrived to take their place in some cases, in some cases not. Daniel Morgan has watched it all since his statue was erected in the center of town in 1881 on the Centennial anniversary of his landmark Cowpens victory. And that is where we will begin our walking tour...
Daniel Morgan Monument
Morgan Square; Magnolia and Main streets
The Daniel Morgan Monument, erected in 1881 to commemorate the centennial of the American victory at the Battle of Cowpens and its hero, General Daniel Morgan, is located on a pedestrian island at the intersection of Main and Church Streets. John Quincy Adams Ward, a nationally known sculptor, modeled the heroic bronze statue that tops the monument. The statue stands on a columnar granite shaft on an octagonal base designed by eminent Charleston architect, Edward B. White. The pedestal is one of the last designs by White. Ward was nine months in creating the statue. Congress voted some $23,000.00 to pay for the work, and the city and county of Spartanburg shared the cost of the base and labor.
WALK EAST ON MAIN STREET (THE DIRECTION GENERAL MORGAN’S BODY IS FACING; HE IS LOOKING NORTH).
113-115 West Main Street
This commercial block on the south side of West Main Street contains stores built mostly between 1890 and 1910. The Palladian Building, named for its two shapely second store windows, was constructed in 1890.
115 East Main Street
During the 1920s, throughout the South, the S. H. Kress Company built many stores notable for their decorative brick and terra-cotta detailing and cornice dentils. Spartanburg’s Kress Building is a fine example of this Art Deco-inspired tradition with its multi-colored facade and decorative features. The upper facade remains intact, although the storefront has been altered.
Prices’ Store for Men
196 East Main Street
New York-born Harry Price established his Price’s Clothing Store in 1903, an ‘outsider” who built a thriving trade with the quality of his merchandise and more importantly, his gracious service. From its first days, Price catered to the boys coming off the farm to attend Wofford College, no doubt providing many a young man his first suit of clothes. Prices’ Store for Men continues to be family-owned after more than a century in business.
203 East Main Street
Jerry Richardson, a Wofford College graduate, was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the NFL and began his professional football career catching passes from Johnny Unitas. After two years, however, Richardson and the Colts couldn’t come to terms on a new contract for the want of $250. So Richardson retired. In 1961 he invested in his friend’s Hardee’s Hamburger restaurant on Kennedy Street, the first one in Spartanburg. That would lead to ownership of more than 600 Hardee’s and Quincy’s Steak House restaurants and, by 1987, Denny’s. In 1990, Richardson arranged for the construction of this dynamic 18-story office tower on the site of the old Franklin Hotel. The new skyscraper would be nearly twice as high as Spartanburg’s reigning high-rise, the ten-story Montgomery Building and help trigger a rebirth of the downtown area. The tower looks down on Denny’s Plaza to the west and Richardson Park across Converse Street to the east. In 1993, Richardson realized a career-long goal when his investment team was awarded the 29th franchise of the NFL – The Carolina Panthers.
First Baptist Church
250 East Main Street
The assembly traces its beginnings back to a log meeting house in 1836. Three years later, 25 charter members formally organized the today’s First Baptist Church. The current brick sanctuary is the congregation’s fourth.
TURN LEFT ON DEAN STREET.
Georgia Cleveland Home
162 North Dean Street
First steps toward a public hospital in Spartanburg County were made in 1904 when city council voted an appropriation of $50 a month for six months to aid the Spartanburg Hospital. In 1907 some $25,000 in capital was allocated and a building was erected here. It changed hands in 1921 when Spartanburg General Hospital was chartered. John B. Cleveland bought the structure and transformed it into a residential facility for elderly ladies. He named it after his wife, Georgia Alden Cleveland. Today it does duty as the St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic.
St. Paul The Apostle
161 North Dean Street
The first Catholics moved into the Upstate around 1850. At that time, Spartanburg was part of a large mission territory that was served from St. Peter’s in Columbia. In 1882, Rev. John J. Monaghan was appointed pastor of St. Mary’s in Greenville. He quickly raised the money to build St. Paul’s Church and the cornerstone was laid October 14, 1883. It can still be seen at the southwest corner of the building. The building was enlarged in 1937 to include a new sanctuary and additional seating. Of note are the stained glass windows depicting six of the seven sacraments and the handsome marble altar imported from Italy, representing Holy Eucharist.
RETURN TO MAIN STREET AND TURN LEFT. TURN RIGHT ON ADVENT STREET.
The Episcopal Church of the Advent
141 Advent Street
Spartanburg was merely a village in 1848 when the Church of the Advent was formed with fewer than a dozen founding members. The church building was begun in 1850, but struggles with contractors departing, debts, lawsuits, and a Civil War kept it from being completed and consecrated until 1864.
TURN RIGHT ON KENNEDY STREET.
Spartanburg High School
East Kennedy Street between Converse and Dean streets
The history of the old Spartanburg High School began in 1897 when the Board of Trustees had erected the building known as the Converse Street High School. This six-classroom structure cost $10,000. The faculty numbered ten and the student body was less than 200. In 1921, the Dean Street wing was added and the school was renamed in honor of Dr. Frank Evans, Superintendent.
TURN RIGHT ON CONVERSE STREET. TURN LEFT ON MAIN STREET. TURN RIGHT ON CHURCH STREET.
187 North Church Street
When it was completed in 1924 the Beaux Arts-style skyscraper rendered in light brick was the highest building in Spartanburg at ten stories. And it would remain so for more than 65 years. Its other claim to fame was the inclusion of the Carolina Theatre, designed by the Lockwood and Green architectural firm and described, when built, as “The Finest Theatre in South Carolina.” Elvis Presley would play a show in the 600-seat hall in 1956. Its days as a city showcase long behind her, the Montgomery awaits a restoration.
Central United Methodist Church
233 North Church Street
The oldest congregation in Spartanburg, Central UMC had its beginnings on January 25, 1837, when nine local Methodists constituted themselves as trustees and acquired property on which to build a church. (One of those original trustees was Benjamin Wofford, who later would leave $100,000 for the founding of Wofford College.) In 1848 the church became a “station,” that is, a church whose minister served that congregation only. The name “Central” came in 1889. Three buildings have occupied the spot where the present sanctuary sits. The first structure, completed in 1838, proved to be inadequate almost from the beginning, and a new building in 1854 had four big columns and a steeple. But the congregation quickly outgrew that space, and in 1885-1886 that building was razed. The present sanctuary dates from that time with several major renovations and enlargements since. The transepts were added in 1909, the social hall and education building in 1930, and the Cannon Chapel and office suite in 1953.
TURN LEFT ON ARCHER STREET. TURN LEFT ON MAGNOLIA STREET.
Donald S. Russell Federal Building
201 Magnolia Street at Walnut Street
This monumental Classical Revival building was completed in 1930 at the cost of $420,000 for use as a United States post office and government building. Behind the entrance of six engaged Corinthian columns, the building still does service as a federal building.
Cleveland Law Range
171 Magnolia Street at St. John Street
The most influential American architect of the second half of the 19th century was Henry Hobson Richardson of Boston, whose brawny, rough-hewn designs became especially popular for large-scale civic buildings. The dominant distinguishing feature of a Richardson building would be broad Romanesque-inspired arches. Examples of the style were rare in the South since his period of greatest influence came during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War when most towns had very little money to spare for high style architecture. The Cleveland Law Range is one of the few remaining examples of Richardson Romanesque architecture in the South. It is an imposing three-story brick building with attic built 1898-99 as an office building. The design pattern is established with the use of five arched bays on the ground floor of the front elevation with rhythmic fenestration repeating the bay arrangement on the second and third floors. All three gables have a Dutch gable treatment and incorporate chimneys into the design. The building has been used as offices for men of both national and statewide significance. Three governors of South Carolina maintained offices in the Cleveland Law Range. The most famous occupant was James F. Byrnes who served as member of Congress, U. S. Senator from South Carolina, Secretary of State under President Harry S. Truman, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Governor of South Carolina.
TURN RIGHT ON ST. JOHN STREET. TURN LEFT ON DANIEL MORGAN AVENUE. TURN LEFT ON MAIN STREET.
189 West Main Street
The Herald-Journal traces its beginnings to 1842 when Asa J. Muir printed the first issue of his weekly Spartanburg Journal. The Spartanburg Herald purchased the Journal and the Carolina Spartan in 1914 and the Journal became the afternoon paper. Charles E. Marsh of Texas bought the newspapers and in 1947 donated them to the Public Welfare Foundation, which he had founded. The Spartanburg Herald merged with the Spartanburg Journal and became the Spartanburg Herald-Journal on October 1, 1982.
190 West Main Street
This Neoclassical Masonic Temple, built in 1928, is regularly used by two active groups of Ancient Free Masons, including the Spartan Lodge No. 7, chartered in 1849, and the St. John’s Lodge #333. In 2010 the ground floor was renovated as a community bookstore.
Spartanburg Town Clock
Morgan Square; Spring and Main streets
On the town’s 50th anniversary this Seth Thomas clock was purchased for a cost of $1010.00, including shipping. It was to be located in a tower of the new Opera House that was constructed on the site of today’s Masonic Temple. The 700-patron theater actually only occupied the second floor; on the ground floor were the town offices, post office and guard house. The clock was at the very peak of the tower and mounted above the bell. In addition to striking the hors, the bell also doubled as a fire alarm by signaling the location of all fires via a special code. In October 1906 the town council sold the city hall and opera house for $12,123 and the building was demolished. The clock and bell were spared and transferred to the courthouse tower where they did service until it too was razed in 1958. Stored away for twenty years the venerable bell and clock were brought out for this restored tower to greet the 21st century.
Pink on Main
156 West Main Street
This ornate commercial block has a lineage back to the 19th century, having been constructed in 1882. It is topped by a decorative Second Empire mansard roof over #156.
Citizen & Southern National Bank
148 West Main Street
The Citizen & Southern National Bank building of pale yellow brick with Neoclassical elements was built in 1905. It replaced the First National Bank, the first bank in Spartanburg that was established in 1871. After housing several banks since the turn of the century it was closed in 1990. Of late it has been refitted as a restaurant.
YOU HAVE NOW RETURNED TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT ON MORGAN SQUARE.