Greenville, South Carolina, is one of those quaint Southern cities that manages to surprise and delight despite its small size. The city might not appear on most people’s list of must-visit destinations, but once they’re here, they fall in love. That’s because Greenville offers a noteworthy blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and a thriving restaurant and retail scene. It’s also home to a bustling industrial and business sector. And while a large portion of our city’s growth has taken place over the last 50 years or so, the history of Greenville, South Carolina, is at the heart of the city’s development.
The History of Greenville, South Carolina
In the Beginning
Located between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, Greenville is a mere drop on the map. But in 1770 when the first Western settlers set up residence in this scenic strip, it was the land’s natural beauty that captured their attention. Nestled near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville is located in the heart of upcountry. And according to the Greenville Visitor Center, the wooded and lush landscape served as a hunting ground for Cherokee Indians for centuries.
By the late 1700s, Western settlers moved into the area and established residence near the Reedy River. And by 1786, as the town’s population continued to grow, Greenville County was officially created. Brickyards and gristmills popped up along the river and established Greenville as a hub of manufacturing and agriculture.
The history of Greenville, South Carolina, would not be complete without appreciating the role agriculture played in the city’s growth. But by the mid-1800s, the city’s economy shifted. The founding of Furman University in 1826 shifted the city’s focus to higher education. Today, Furman University is still a central part of the Greenville community. With 2,800 students, the private college was ranked the #1 liberal arts university in South Carolina by U.S. News & World Report.
By the 1980s, Greenville had become a hub of manufacturing. French tire manufacturer Michelin chose Greenville as its North American headquarters, and BMW followed not long after. Once those two industry giants began calling Greenville home, other manufacturing operations followed suit. Today, more than 250 international firms have offices in Greenville. With representation from 26 countries, Greenville has the most foreign investment per capita in the U.S. And Greenville County boasts more than 650 manufacturers. On top of that, some 40 Fortune 500 companies call Greenville County home.
As the city continues to grow, the history of Greenville, South Carolina, is still evident today. And much of the city’s restoration efforts are geared at highlighting the area’s Southern traditions, history, and natural attractions.
To learn more about Greenville and the Southern hospitality that has made this area well known, check out our blog. You might be interested in our posts about free activities in Greenville, and the numerous activities for seniors around town.
One of our goals at Waterstone on Augusta, is to connect our residents with area activities so they can enjoy their golden years surrounded by the natural beauty our area has to offer. If you’re interested in joining our premier assisted living and memory care community in downtown Greenville, South Carolina, check out Waterstone on Augusta. Our welcoming community is relaxing and elegant. We strive to enhance the quality of life of the seniors we serve through teamwork and unity. To learn more about our amenities and to view our lovely community, please schedule a tour, or call us today at 864-605-7236.