Greenville (; locally ) is the seat of Greenville County in upstate South Carolina, United States. With a municipal population of 60,709 and an urban population of 400,492 as of the 2010 census, it has the fourth largest municipality and the third largest urban area in the state. It is the largest city in the Greenville metropolitan area, the largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in South Carolina with a population of 824,112.
Greenville is the largest city of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson Combined Statistical Area (CSA) which in 2006 had an estimated population of 1,203,795, making it the largest CSA in the state of South Carolina. The CSA, an 8-county region of northwestern South Carolina, is known as "The Upstate". Greenville is located approximately halfway between Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina along Interstate 85, and its metropolitan area also includes Interstates 185 and 385.
Greenville is located at (34.844313, −82.385428), roughly equidistant between Atlanta, Georgia (120 miles southwest), and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Greenville is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and includes many small hills. Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina, is in northern Pickens County, which adjoins Greenville County to the west. Many area television and radio station towers are on Paris Mountain, the second most prominent peak in the area, less than 7 miles (11 km) from downtown Greenville. According to the United States Census Bureau, Greenville has a total area of 26.1 square miles (68 km2). 26.1 square miles (68 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it is water.
Greenville sits in the Brevard Fault Zone and experiences occasional earthquakes, though they are usually minor.
Greenville has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with generally mild, short winters, hot, humid summers, warm springs, and crisp autumns. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from in January to in July, with lows around freezing in the former month. Highs reach on 43 days per year, and reach in some years. Winter snowfall is typically light, with a seasonal average of 4.9 inches (12.4 cm). Precipitation is usually well-distributed throughout the year. The record low temperature in Greenville is , which was set on January 30, 1966, and the record high is , set on July 1, 2012.
The city of Greenville adopted the Council-Manager form of municipal government in 1976.
The colony of South Carolina was founded in 1663 by King Charles II, who split the land and gave it to eight nobles. The area now known as Greenville was given to the nobleman King Benjamin Norwood IV. The era of King Benjamin's rule was fraught with corruption. King Benjamin Norwood was a notorious opium addict and had several mistresses. After the mismanagement of colony, the area was reclaimed by the English Crown. The area was part of the Cherokee Nation's protected grounds after the Treaty of 1763, which ended the French and Indian War. No White man was allowed to enter, though some families already had settled just within the boundary, and White traders regularly crossed the area. The first White man to settle permanently in the area was Richard Pearis; he married a Cherokee and was given several tracts of land by the tribe. The City of Greenville and Paris Mountain (named after Pearis), are on part of that land. During the American Revolution, the Cherokee (and Pearis) sided with the British. After a campaign in 1776, the Cherokee agreed to the Treaty of DeWitt's Corner, ceding territory that includes present-day Greenville County to South Carolina.
Greenville was originally called Pleasantburg before an 1831 name change. Greenville County was created in 1786 from Spartanburg District (now Spartanburg County), but was called Greenville District from 1800 until 1868. Greenville may have been named for American Revolutionary General Nathanael Greene, or perhaps for an early resident, Isaac Green.>. Greenville is the mother district to Pendleton District (now Anderson County), Pickens District (now Pickens County) and Oconee District (now Oconee County).
In February, 1869, Greenville's Town Charter was amended by the S. C. General Assembly establishing Greenville, the town, as a City.
In 1917, when Greenville was known as the "Textile Center of the World," Old Textile Hall was designed by the J. E. Sirrine Company as the first exposition facility in the Southeast for textile products and machinery. Textile Hall also served as a civic auditorium. The building was listed on National Register in 1980 before being demolished in 1992.
Greenville served as a training camp center for Army recruits during World War I. This eventually fostered the development of Donaldson Air Force Base, built during World War II, which was very important to the economy of the City of Greenville. Donaldson served as a military base until the early 1960s, when it was returned to the City of Greenville. The former air base has been developed into a business park. It contains military-style barracks which are used now by businesses.
Until the late 1960s, blacks in the area were subject to segregationist restrictions; for example, they were limited to the back of city buses, were not permitted to stay in hotels or motels for whites, had to sit in the balcony of movie theaters, and were not permitted to use the public library, which partially motivated the activism of Jesse Jackson. Jackson, working through the NAACP, organized a sit-in at Greenville's F.W. Woolworth "five and dime" store, and quickly emerged as a civil rights leader. On August 9, 1960, a sit-in at the S. H. Kress store that eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision Peterson v. Greenville (1963), which ruled that private citizens must ignore local segregation ordinances because they violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
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.
Greenville has one of the last Frank Lloyd Wright homes ever built, constructed in 1954.
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. In response, the City started a downtown renewal project.
City leaders initially focused on improving the streetscape along a portion of Main Street in the Central Business District. This included narrowing the street from four lanes to two lanes; installing angled parking spaces, trees, flowers and light fixtures; and creating parks and plazas throughout the central core of downtown. Initial planning began in the 1970s and under Mayor Max Heller, an Austrian immigrant who wanted to implement some of the urban features he had seen in Europe. 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 relocation to downtown (examples include the Greenville Commons/Hyatt Regency hotel). 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 adjacent to the West End Historic District into a thriving performing arts complex that incorporated historically significant buildings. It then stabilized the stagnant historic district with the transformation of an abandoned cotton warehouse into the West End Market, a mixed-use project of shops, restaurants, and offices, which in turn encouraged adaptive reuse of several other historic buildings throughout downtown. The city's initiative to invest in its blighted urban center at a time when such revitalization was unpopular, not only successfully encouraged private investment, but also eventually garnered recognition from municipalities across the United States.
Although the majority of Greenville-area residents live outside of the central urban core, the last decade has brought a significant increase in downtown living and working as new luxury condos, apartments and lofts go up and more businesses are moving their offices to the now thriving downtown.][
The National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded Greenville with the Great American Main Street Award in 2003 and 2009. Since then it has been featured in numerous publications, including Southern Living Magazine and the U.S. Airways Magazine (March 2010).
Downtown Greenville has attracted a wide variety of locally-owned and regional and national chain stores and restaurants, ranging from Mast General Store to Anthropologie and Staples to local retailers such as Rush Wilson Ltd. The Upstate's first Brooks Brothers is scheduled to open in downtown Greenville in 2013.
The Greenville County School District is the largest school district in the state of South Carolina and ranked the 49th largest district in the United States, with 14 high schools, 18 middle schools, and 50 elementary schools in the district. With a budget of $426 Million, the district employs 5,200 teachers, 63.1% of which hold a Master's degree or higher. In addition to traditional public schools, Greenville's downtown area is home to the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities, a boarding school for young artists.
In addition to public schools, Greenville county has a number of private and religious schools, including Camperdown Academy(for students with learning disabilities), Christ Church Episcopal School (a college-preparatory Episcopalian school with an American school outside of Germany certified by the Bavarian Ministry of Education), Shannon Forest Christian School (an evangelical Christian school), and Saint Joseph's Catholic School.
Public four-year institutions:
Public two-year institution:
South Carolina-based Private Institutions:
National Institutions with Greenville locations:
Religious and Theological Schools:
Greenville's economy was formerly based largely on textile manufacturing, and the city was long known as "The Textile Capital of the World." In the last few decades, favorable wages and tax benefits have lured foreign companies to invest heavily in the area. The city is the North American headquarters for Hubbell Lighting, PerceptIS, and Michelin, and has offices for BMW. In 2003, the International Center for Automotive Research was created, establishing CUICAR as the new model for automotive research. The Center for Emerging Technologies in mobility and energy was opened in 2011, hosting a number of companies in leading edge R&D and the headquarters for Sage Automotive.
When the former Donaldson Air Force Base closed, the land became the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center, and became home to a Lockheed Martin Aircraft and Logistics Center, as well as 3M and Honeywell.
Caterpillar Inc. has a diesel engine manufacturing plant and engineering operations here. Also, General Electric company has a gas turbine and wind energy manufacturing operation here. O'Neal, Inc. a project planning, design, and construction firm, has its headquarters in Greenville.
The Thomas Creek Brewery was founded on Piedmont Hwy in 1998.
Greenville has two main health systems. Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, which includes St. Francis Downtown; St. Francis Eastside; and 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 Health System is a non-profit academic medical center which, with five campuses, including Greenville Memorial Medical Center, North Greenville Long Term Acute Care Hospital and ER, Hillcrest Hospital, Greenville Memorial Hospital Patewood Campus, and the newest Greer Memorial Hospital. It is one of the largest employers in the region. It was recognized for 2010-2011 as a top provider of Cardiac and Gastroenterology Care by U.S. News & World Report. GHS also boasts the only Children's Hospital in the Upstate region of South Carolina, with the majority of Pediatric Specialties represented for inpatient and outpatient care. GHS hosts a full four-year branch of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. There are numerous residencies for training physicians at GHS including Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Family Practice, OBGYN, General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery and fellowships in Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics and Vascular Surgery.
Additionally, Greenville's Shriners Hospital for Children 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 the second busiest in the state and is served by most major airlines. SCTAC (former Donaldson Air Base)has undergone significant moderization and is the site of the new S.C. National Guard Helicopter Base and proposed Super General Aviation Center. Greenville serves as a freight hub for FedEx Express. The Greenville Downtown Airport, is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina with nearly 80,000 take-offs and landings annually and more than 245 based aircraft.
Public transit in Greenville was handled by the Greenville Transit Authority (GTA). However in 2008 the City Of Greenville took over operation of GTA and changed the name to Greenlink. Greenlink runs a bus system that serves the Greenville area and much of Greenville County. 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 Greenlink bus routes.
Greenville has an Amtrak station, which is part of Amtrak's Crescent, connecting Greenville with the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans. Additionally, Greenville is a part of the proposed Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor, which will run from Washington, DC to Birmingham, AL. Freight railroad service is provided by CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, and the Carolina Piedmont Railroad. The former Greenville and Northern Railway line to Travelers Rest has been abandoned and converted into a hiking and biking trail.
Interstate 3 is a proposed freeway that would begin in Savannah, GA run to Augusta, GA and then possibly to Greenville before reaching Knoxville, TN. Greenville is not along the original I-3 route; however, there are several alternative routes, including one in which Greenville is a major destination along the highway.
Greenville has hosted several minor league sports teams:
Bob Jones University
There are at least 4 stadiums for football and baseball located 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 swimming pools.
Lake Jocassee, Lake Keowee, and Lake Hartwell within 50 miles (80 km) of Greenville accommodate boating and other water sports.
The Olympic Torch has passed through Greenville several times, and the city is an active participant in the Special Olympics.
Greenville has been named one of the "Top 100 Arts Small Towns in the United States." 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 a venue for orchestras and plays. A planned multi-million dollar renovation to the center's main concert hall lobby and riverside amphitheatre began in the Spring of 2011.
A number of local artists operate studios and galleries in the city, especially the Village of West Greenville near downtown. The Metropolitan Arts Council and Upstate Visual Arts provide a number of public events that focus on the visual arts, including the First Fridays Art Walk, Greenville Open Studios, and the West Greenville Arts Festival. Greenville also provides some notable fine arts museums:
Greenville's music scene features live performances by local Jazz, Country, and Rock bands.
Lynyrd Skynyrd played their last concert with all original members in Greenville, on October 19, 1977.
The city is home to the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville County Youth Orchestra, Carolina Youth Symphony, and the Carolina Pops Orchestra. The Boston Symphony Orchestra regularly performs at the Bi-Lo Center. Greenville Light Opera Works (GLOW) is a professional operetta company in residence at Centre Stage Theatre in Greenville where they produce a summer festival season of Musical Theatre, Operetta and Comic Opera.
The Palmetto Statesmen Barbershop Chorus and Quartets perform barbershop harmony and a cappella singing at various locations throughout the Upstate. The Palmetto Statesmen Chorus is a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Greenville is also the home of the Greenville Chorale, a 160-voice choral group.
There are a eight comedy venues in Greenville featuring stand up comedy, sketch comedy, ventriloquists, as well as experimental and non-traditional comedy.
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, but a similar production is performed by International Ballet Academy, another popular dance company in the area. Centre Stage, Greenville Little Theater, South Carolina Children's Theater and the Warehouse Theatre are the major playhouses in the area. These theaters offer a variety of performances including well-known works, such as Death of a Salesman and Grease, and plays written by local playwrights. During the Spring and Summer, the local Shakespearean company performs Shakespeare in the Park at the Falls Park Amphitheater.
Greenville is part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson-Asheville DMA which is the nation's 36th largest television market. See the box below for the local television stations:
Greenville is part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson Arbitron Metro which is the nation's 59th largest radio market with a person 12+ population of 813,700. See the box below for the local radio stations:
Greenville is the largest principal city of the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Greenville, Laurens, Anderson and Pickens counties and had a combined population of 824,112 at the 2010 census.
Since South Carolina law makes annexing the urban area around cities difficult, Greenville's population is larger than what it is said to be. The 2010 city population is 61,674 while the total urban area population is 400,492.
As of the census of 2010, there were 61,674 people, 24,382 households, and 12,581 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,148.0 inhabitants per square mile (829.4/km²). There were 27,295 housing units at an average density of 1,046.9 per square mile (404.2/km²). The racial composition of the city was 62.12% White, 31.54% Black or African American, 3.44% Hispanic or Latino, 1.27% Asian, 0.14% Native American, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.37% of other races, and 1.11% of Two or more races.
There were 29,418 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.