Greenville is a mid-sized city located in the upstate of South Carolina. It is the county seat of Greenville County and the principal city in the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley metropolitan area (MSA). As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 56,006 people, and an urbanized area population of 302,194. As of the July 1, 2006 census estimates the Greenville Metropolitan Area (MSA) has a population of 601,986. Greenville is the largest city of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson 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 Upstate". Greenville is located approximately halfway between the cities of Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina along Interstate I-85, and its metropolitan area is further serviced by I-385 and I-185.
Geography and Climate
Greenville is located at (34.844313, -82.385428),
centrally located among Atlanta
(120 miles southwest), Charlotte
(90 miles northeast) and Columbia
(90 miles southeast). This central location contributed to Greenville's selection as a railroad hub.
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 Mountain, 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 U.S. 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
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 Hartwell. Since 1990, Greenville has experienced fewer than 15 noticeable quakes, mostly centered in the Sandy Flats area.
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Law & Government
The City of Greenville adopted the Council-Manager form of municipal government in 1976. It is also the county seat of county government for Greenville County.
As the largest city in the Upstate
, 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.
- Carolina First Center, formerly known as the Palmetto Expo Center, is the largest convention center in South Carolina as well as being one of the largest on the East Coast. It has more than of exhibition space and of meeting and conference space. Many trade shows, conventions, and other events are held here each year.
- Bi-Lo Center , a 16,000-seat arena in downtown Greenville which hosts major concerts and sporting events each year.
- Peace Center, a performing arts center that hosts touring Broadway shows, symphonies, concerts, and civic events. Known internationally for its excellent acoustics, the Peace Center is also home to the Carolina Ballet Theatre, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, and Greenville Chorale.
- Centre Stage, Greenville's Professional Theater is a year-round professional theater that hosts the annual New Play Festival which draws hundreds of submissions from playwrights around the country and abroad.
- The Warehouse Theatre, a black box theater operating for over 32 years, is located in the Historic West End.
- The South Carolina Governor's School For The Arts & Humanities, a state-funded residential high school for the Fine Arts and hosts many performances and exhibits put together by its student population.
- Bob Jones Rodeheaver Auditorium presents weekly religious dramatizations, opera, concerts, and faculty and student recitals. It contains a 1OO rank Pipe Organ built by Zimmer Organs of Charlotte, North Carolina in the early 1970s.
- Furman University presents organ recitals regularly at their chapel on a Fisk Organ. In the McAlister Auditorium is a Walter Holtkamp Organ, which was the last Organ he personally voiced and worked on before his death. (Another Holtkamp Organ is at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Augusta Road, but it can not be said to be Walter's instrument anymore since it has been tampered with.) Furman also hosts concerts and other performances on campus in Timmons Arena, and plays at the theatre in the round called the Playhouse. Meeting space is also available within Furman's Younts Conference Center.
- The Handlebar has had over 2,000 concerts in its Listening Room.
Greenville is the main shopping destination of The Upstate
region. Major shopping centers under construction include The Point (of retail, of office, 420 room hotel on 75 acres new tenants) and Magnolia Park Town Center, a proposed shopping center that will include a Costco
. Downtown Greenville is home to many specialty shops and boutiques.
- Falls Park on the Reedy, a large regional park in the West End with beautiful gardens and several waterfalls. The park is home to the Liberty Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge overlooking the Reedy River.
- Greenville County Museum of Art specializing in American art, frequently with a Southern perspective that dates back to the 1700s. It is noted for its collections of work by Andrew Wyeth and Jasper Johns, as well as a contemporary collection that features such notables as Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keeffe, and others.
- Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery, a collection of religious art, is located on the campus of Bob Jones University.
- Greenville Zoo, in Cleveland Park.
- Roper Mountain Science Center is a resource for area students, and is home to the largest planetarium in South Carolina.
- The Furman University campus features a prominent Bell Tower housing a 61 Bell Carillon, one of the largest in the southeast. The campus also contains an authentic Japanese Garden.
- The former Duke Power building and Greenville Waterworks. located off Highway 123 and Washington Street Downtown. The Duke Power building's lobby contains a custom made chandelier that weighs over 2 tons.
- InnoVenture each March is designed to help Communities of Innovation around corporations, universities, and emerging companies in the Southeastern Innovation Corridor
- ARTISPHERE each April to showcase the arts, reflects the area's international flair and maximizes existing arts programs by providing a diverse menu of experiences that center around the arts.
- St. Francis Fall for Greenville is a major festival held on the 2nd weekend in October. This festival features local cuisine, live performances on several stages, and the Greenville Cycling Classic bicycle race.
- Art in the Park is a major arts festival presented by Upstate Visual Arts and held at Fluor Field at the West End.
- Reedy River Run a 10K race that is held in late February or early March.
- The Red Party an annual dance party, held at the History Museum of the Upcountry, a fundraiser for AID Upstate, an AIDS Service Organization serving Upstate South Carolina (Anderson, Oconee, Pickens and Greenville counties).
- United States Road Race Cycling Championships - held in early September and brings professional cyclists to vie for the crown as the United States National Road Race Champion and Time Trial Champion.
- Foodies find culture and cuisine during Greenville's Southern Exposure from Friday, September 14 - Sunday, September 16, 2007. Highlights include celebrity-chef demonstrations, tasting events, select wine pairing and music by platinum selling musician Edwin McCain, among others.
- Greek Festival is held in May by Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Greenville, and features Greek food, music, and dancing.
- Centre Stage, Greenville's Professional Theater New Play Festival (NPF) receives hundreds of submissions from playwrights around the country and abroad. This week-long national event presents the four finalists in readers theater format. Playwright finalists typically attend the festival, which is keynoted by a guest playwright of national stature. Previous festival keynote playwrights have included Lee Blessing and Arlene Hutton. All NPF events are free and open to the public.
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 von 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 a mixed-use project of shops, restaurants, and offices, which in turn encouraged residential use of vacant upper stories and former church classrooms.
However, a major drawback of downtown Greenville remains that the majority of residents live in the suburbs. Considering the lack of ample public transportation for a city of its size, downtown Greenville's success relys on people driving from the suburbs to visit downtown using I-385.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded Greenville with the Great American Main Street Award in 2003.
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 Reedy.
Greenville has a total of 16 official public high schools in the general county:
Greenville is also home to many private schools as well, including:
Greenville is 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 for BMW
outside of Germany. Recently, the International Center for Automotive Research
(ICAR) has been created by a consortium including Clemson University
, and the Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE). Surrounding ICAR along Interstate 85 a large office park, The Millennium Campus, has been built to attract more investment by large companies and their headquarters. Among the first to locate on the campus is Hubbell Lighting, Inc., a major manufacturer of commercial lighting systems. Lockheed Martin Aircraft & Logistics Center
is a large aircraft maintenance facility located in Greenville at Donaldson Center Industrial Air Park
, a former U.S. Air Force base. Donaldson Center is also home to 3M, Honeywell, and Stevens Aviation.
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, and with five campuses, including Patewood Memorial Hospital, it 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 Airport (GSP) is also the busiest in the state and is served by most major airlines. The Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU), capable of landing private jets, helicopters, and other aircraft, is the third-busiest in the state. Greenville serves as a freight hub for Federal Express, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and British Airways.
Amtrak's Crescent train connects Greenville with the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans. The Amtrak station 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. In preparation for the future, 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.
Greenville has hosted several minor league sports teams:
- Greenville Drive, a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The Drive started their first season in their new downtown ballpark on April 6, 2006, which, prior to the start of the 2008 season, was renamed Fluor Field at the West End.
- Greenville Grrrowl, a minor league hockey team in the ECHL. Ceased operations in July 2006.
- Greenville Braves, a minor league baseball team that played there from 1984 until 2004. Moved to Pearl, Mississippi for the 2005 season.
- Greenville Groove, a minor league basketball team in the NBA D-League. Ceased operations in 2003.
- Greenville Griffins, a rugby union team that competes in USA Rugby South Division II
- Carolina Rhinos, Arena football team that began in 2000, and in 2002, left Greenville and became the Carolina Cobras
- The Furman Paladins of Furman University. 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 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 pools.
Yachting and boating are also popular in Greenville. Although the city itself is landlocked, nearby Lakes Jocassee, Keowee, Hartwell and others 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, NC and Warner Robins, GA, are the finalists to receive the Southeast Regional Headquarters that was originally located in Gulfport, FL.
Greenville has a thriving arts community, with a number of venues to support performances. The Bi-Lo Center, constructed in 1998, brings national tours of many popular bands to downtown, and the Peace Center for the Performing Arts provides an excellent venue for orchestras and plays.
A number of local artists operating studios and galleries in the city, especially the West End area of downtown. Greenville also contains some notable fine arts museums:
- The Greenville County Museum of Art, home of the Andrew Wyeth Collection, was founded with a significant contribution from local industrialist, Arthur McGill. Today it attracts art scholars from all over the country, and contains pieces by Jackson Pollack, Jonathan Greene, Georgia O'Keeffe and native South Carolinians such as Jasper Johns and William H. Johnson.
- The Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery contains one of the finest collections of European masterworks in the United States and is especially strong in the French and Italian Baroque. The collection includes more than 400 paintings from the 14th to through the 19th centuries, period furniture, and a notable collection of Russian icons. Included are works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Tintoretto, Veronese, Cranach, Gerard David, Murillo, Mattia Preti, Ribera, van Dyck, and Doré. Seven very large canvases, part of a series by Benjamin West called "The Progress of Revealed Religion", are displayed in the War Memorial Chapel.
Greenville has an active music scene, with frequent live performances in the downtown area by local Jazz, Country, and Rock bands.
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
. Centre Stage, Greenville's Professional Theater
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. 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.
The Beat: Greenville's weekly alternative newspaper. Formerly the award-winning MetroBEAT, the Beat is a locally owned paper published in oversized journal format that provides coverage and opinions on local politics, arts and entertainment, and business as well as comprehensive reviews for CDs, books and even houses of worship.
Upstate Link magazine The Upstate's premiere young reader (20s-30s) newsweekly. The weekly publication began in January 2004.
Greenville is part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson-Asheville DMA which is the nation's 36th largest television market. It is served by the following major network television affiliates:
Greenville is part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson Arbitron Metro which is the nation's 60th largest radio market with a person 12+ population of 813,700. It is served by the following major radio stations:
Greenville is also home to WMXP-LP, 95.5 FM. WMXP is a low power (LPFM) community radio station owned by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. It was constructed with the help of almost 200 volunteers from around the state and nation at the eleventh Prometheus Radio Project community radio barn raising.
Greenville is the largest principal city of the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Greenville, Laurens, and Pickens 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.
- Kevin Garnett, professional basketball player from Mauldin, SC.
- Lucas Glover, professional golfer.
- Jay Haas and Bill Haas, professional golfers.
- Gary Player, golf legend who recently moved his company's headquarters to Greenville.
- Charles Warren, professional golfer.
- George Hincapie, professional cyclist, Paris-Roubaix runner up.
- "Shoeless Joe" Jackson (1889-1951), Major League baseball player with the third-highest career batting average in history.
- Tommy Jones, professional bowler.
- Phil Blackwell, Professional Blind Golfer and President of the USBGA, former national champion
- David T. Morin, Professional Bowler.
- Browning Bryant, singer-songwriter.
- Chris Sligh, American Idol Season 6 contestant.
- Peabo Bryson, singer.
- Keith Lockhart, noted performer and conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra.
- Edwin McCain, pop/rock singer-songwriter.
- Sarah Reese, singer in the Boston Opera under Sarah Caldwell, a pioneer female orchestra conductor.
- Aaron Tippin, country music star.
- Josh White (c.1915-1969), folk, blues, and gospel singer and guitarist.
- Mac Arnold, living Blues Legend, born in Pelzer, SC.
- Karl Sanders vocalist/guitarist for the Egyptian-themed death metal band Nile.
- Emile Pandolfi, pianist
- Jesse "The Devil" Hughes, vocalist/guitarist for the Eagles of Death Metal.
- Dan Forrest, composer, teacher, and winner of numerous composition prizes, including the John Ness Beck Award for his music.
- Jon Crocker, singer-songwriter.
- Lil Trapp, Rapper, Producer,
- The Shoes, Post-British invasion rock&roll band; famous for onstage antics and incessant drug use.
- Austin White, noted avant-garde bassist
- Trey Francis, vocalist/guitarist out of the college scene of University of South Carolina
- Mike Carroll, vocalist/guitarist for popular "shoegaze/emo" group Autumns Jones
Religious and Political Figures
- Jesse Jackson (1941-), two-time presidential candidate, civil rights activist, and Baptist minister.
- Robert Reynolds "Bob" Jones, Sr.(1883-1968), evangelist, founder of Bob Jones University.
- John Piper (1946-) Theologian, minister, and author of several books including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist,spent most of his youth in Greenville, where he graduated from Wade Hampton High School.
- Jim DeMint (1951 - ) U.S Senator from South Carolina
- William H. Perry, (1839 - 1902) was a United States Representative from South Carolina.
- Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina who now lives in Los Angeles area.
- Cat Bauer, author of Harley, Like a Person and Harley's Ninth who now lives in Venice, Italy
- Nicholas Sparks, author. Message in a Bottle was written in Simpsonville.
- Ashley Warlick, author of The Summer After June and The Distance from the Heart of Things
- Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, author of Dancing with My Daughter and three other books of poetry
- Mindy Friddle, author of The Garden Angel
- Melinda Long, author of When Papa Snores and other children's books
- Jamie Langston Turner, (1949-) educator and novelist, author of six books including the Christy Award Winning novels, "Winter Birds" and "Some Garden to Keep", published by Bethany House Publishers.
- Raven Magwood, author of Double-Sided and Authorhouse bestseller On to Victory! The Winning Edge.
Actors and Journalists
- Jane Robelot, Anchored CBS This Morning from August 1996 until June 1999.
- Frank Blair (1916-1995), anchor of NBC's Today Show from 1953 to 1975. Formerly worked at WFBC-TV (now WYFF) in Greenville.
- William M. Campbell, named president of Discovery Networks U.S. in May 2002.
- Tyler Florence, Food Network Chef, cookbook author.
- Bo Griffin, Actress and television host.
- Ingrid Sthare, Actress, writer
- Tim Brosnan, Actor, playwright, composer
- Orlando Jones, actor.
- Jeffrey Doot, JDD Productions, Music Video Editor and Producer.
- Wallace Merck, television and cinema actor and engineer.
- Joanne Woodward, Academy Award-winning actress and wife of Paul Newman.
- Norvin C. Duncan Jr., (1917 - 2003) South Carolina Radio and Television Pioneer. Formerly worked at WFBC Radio & WFBC-TV (now WYFF).