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Old 04-30-2014, 11:57 PM
470 posts, read 425,296 times
Reputation: 867


Having been raised in the local area and now bumping age 60, I find the enthusiasm on this forum entertaining and fascinating, as well as sometimes enlightening. It quickly becomes apparent that some of the discussions are among relative newcomers. Now...Don't get me wrong... there are amazingly few negatives associated with having enthusiastic newcomers around. Fresh ideas come from fresh new faces, even if all of the fresh ideas don't pass muster with everyone.

I say all of this in order to point out that many of the discussions look at the local area "as it is now" without any point of reference as to what it was like "before". I've watched the evolution happening and saw some of the "whys" that are considered confusing today. Keep in mind that I'm only coming at this from a vantage point of the early/mid 1960's and forward.

A few examples.....
Choose a main thoroughfare, in the local area, and then try to imagine it only being two lanes and rural.

Laurens Rd, was an early upgrade to 4 lanes. It was anchored in Mauldin at the intersection of Bulter Rd. by a hardware store, Calvin Kellett's Shell Station, an Esso Station and a Sinclair station, each of which still had 3 restrooms. (keep the times in context before going crazy). Dukes Mayonaise, JD Hollingsworth, Macshore Classics and a couple of auto junk yards populated what was a fairly barren drive until you reached Parkins Mill rd. (at Verde rather than at Fowlers) Much of the north side and a good portion of the south side of 276, from Dukes to Parkins Mill, was owned and by John D Hollingsworth.... even back then. (John was our local answer to the reclusive Howard Hughes)

Where Woodruff road meets Laurens rd was once a pretty sketchy zone. Bishops was a large very dirty automotive junkyard and repair shop, situated where PepBoys, Carlton Mercedes and a couple of other business now sit. This location was shared with a fish camp / beer joint (sawdust on the floor) that kept local county law enforcement gainfully employed. Several small well worn low rent trailer courts also added to the flavor of the place.

1960's Woodruff Rd was two lanes to nowhere, unless you worked at Fiber Industries or were acrually bound for Woodruff. 5 forks was a minor junction of 5 roads that led to Scuffletown, Pelham, Woodruff, Reidville and Simpsonville via hwy 14. Woodruff was still basically a two lane rural road until the late 80's early 90's. Haywood and Greenville Malls came along later. Woodruf road land was still cheap, until the purchase and quick profitable resale of the land where Bi-lo sits at Mauldin rd. Word quickly spread and Woodruff road took off.... some might say explosively so. It certainly caught many by surprise.

Civilization picked up on Laurens Rd, along about Haywood and steadily grew as one approached downtown. Mc Alister Square, University Ridge and Wade Hampton were the only Malls. 291 / Pleasantburg Dr. were the preferred areas for retail locations and pulled some well established businesses way from what was a badly deteriorating Main street. Seeing the Daniel Building rise above a Main street, previously dominated by the Poinsett Hotel and Scott Towers, was both a bit of a shock and a source of pride that Greenville was beginning its coming of age.

Haywood Rd was a narrow two lane in 1973 that terminated at Pelham rd. Hudson rd was the only route to the Esatside, unless you knew the Butler Springs secret. Howell connected Edwards and Haywood while I was spending my 4 years with the USAF. The only things on Haywood, back then, were Eastern Business Forms and a small Juke joint. I worked as a pressman at EB before doing the USAF the favor of my personal presence.

White Horse Rd was a country road, as was Poinsett hwy and Wade Hampton. Wade Hampton Blvd did offer the Belmont Drive in theater, where Texas Road house now sits. Many areas around Greenville were still known by the dominant mill in the area. The mill village where you grew up also served, to some extent, your public identity. Some of the less reputable were best avoided if you were a stranger. Greer and Travelers Rest were more whistle stops than destinations.

Powdersville was defined by a small country store and a school with the strange name of "Concrete". It was a totally agrarian area. It was also where my Grandfather raised 7 children, farming for depression dollars and working full time 3rd shift at Judson Mill.

Greenville was once home to Donaldson Army Air Field, later renamed Donaldson Air force Base. The base closed in 1963, leaving a large hole in a small town economy. The base payroll went quite a ways toward supporting many small businesses and property owners, all of which struggled or failed when the base closed. Sadly, the area was heavily populated with cheap housing ranging from prefab homes to cheap trailer parks where could be afforded by badly paid enlisted airmen.

You could still find those terribly shabby prefabs sitting on lake lots around lake Hartwell for a decade or more. Let's just say that when they went to auction, if you even appeared to make bid, you probably left owning one. It took years for the area to shake off the rough patina, but developing the Donaldson Industrail center proved a pretty good bet.

Greenville learned a lot of hard lessons during those lean days. Just as things had reached somewhat of an equilibrium, The textile industry began its death spiral. Once again Greenville was seeing an unwanted economic and employment slump. Even today those harsh lessons tend to temper the local government's willingness to borrow, if a pay as you go approach is at all possible.

Luckily, a few far sighted individuals took up several fights that have proven amazingly prophetic. Recruiting non textile jobs became top priority, Roger Milliken fought against strong opposition to put the "Jet Port" way out in the boondocks, on the county line. Much to the confusion of those who preached bigger is better, Main street revitalization began with reducing it to 2 lanes with angled parking and planting trees. Definitely a case of counter-intuitive thinking, at the time, but an idea that proved to be pure genius.

This rambling commentary could easily become a book, and I've left out a whole litany of anecdotal information from old timers who shared their memories with me, over a life time. Ty Cobb's liquor store or working with Shoeless Joe are tales for other times

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Old 05-01-2014, 04:54 AM
Location: Travelers Rest SC
745 posts, read 1,923,344 times
Reputation: 500
Thanks for the local viewpoint. I would buy that book, should you decide to write it. The area we came from in FL developed much the same way, only a couple decades earlier. The sad news is that all of the growth and development will lead to miles and miles of suburban sprawl. The picturesque farm you love to see on your drive to work will someday sprout condos, probably soon.

From my decidedly casual observation, there doesn't seem to much of an overall comprehensive plan for the area. Growth is good; uncontrolled, unplanned random growth- not so much.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:51 AM
Location: On a Farm & by the sea
1,081 posts, read 2,434,351 times
Reputation: 920
Hey, Cedge1 - if you get serious about writing that book, call me. I'm a homegrown writer with interest...we can get it done. I'm thinking it could be expanded into a documentary as well.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:55 PM
Location: Upstate SC
276 posts, read 171,216 times
Reputation: 329
Very cool.

Speaking of, where exactly was the Cherrydale house before they moved it to Furman? Was it exactly where the Ingles is now?
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:30 PM
470 posts, read 425,296 times
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Mr Bruce..
It was adjacent to the Stone Manufacturing facility, approximately where the Cherrydale Ingles is located now.

Thanks for the gracious offer, but at the present time, important grandfatherly activities are higher on my list of priorities.

I've never quite been able to come to terms with how to fairly balance the rights of an owner to sell or develop private property, against local governmental agencies continually trying to limit those rights. One of several reasons for divesting real estate holdings over the past few years.

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Old 05-01-2014, 04:13 PM
Location: Dallas, TX
5,681 posts, read 9,675,206 times
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WOW... Thanks for this thread/post! As someone who lived in the area for 13 years until last year, I find your memories and insights fascinating. Best of luck if you decide to write that book!
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:22 PM
470 posts, read 425,296 times
Reputation: 867
Random memories...

Public swimming pools were popular, since only rich folk had them at home. There were several flavors available and most were either stream or spring fed. Water was simply filtered through beds of sand. Frogs, tadpoles, and the odd snake were accepted as part of the experience

Pine Grove Pool was located on East North st and was the exception to the rule. It was also the most modern of the available choices. It was a fancy masonry pool with fairly modern water treatment. The lake is still there, but the pool facility was demolished when the property was sold to a developer. Greenville recreation ran buses to and from outlying areas like Mauldin, T.R., Simpsonville and possibly Greer, so that we kids had weekly access to Pine Grove, during those scorching hot, non air conditioned summer days.

Woods Lake was located on Woods Lake Rd (near the downtown airport) and was pretty primitive by today's standards. It was sandy bottomed with masonry walls and boasted a water slide that was the nemesis of many a young lad. The unwritten rule was the ladder was one way only. If you climbed up to the top, it didn't matter how terrified you were, you had to slide down or bear the shame of crawling back down the ladder. The other cool feature was a floating top that would hold a dozen or more kids. It was spun by walking and then running on the surface. At some point all the kids were flung back into the water by the forces of applied physics. The lake is now over grown and sits behind an apartment complex. The last time i checked, part of the slide was still standing.

Chick Springs was located between Wade Hampton and Main street in Taylors. It is still somewhat visible, hiding down in a low place just past St Mark Rd. This lake was not one I ever visited, since Mauldin was a LONG way from Taylors. It was built along the same design parameters as Wood's Lake, complete with the manhood testing water slide.

These places were the oasis of our childhoods and part of a much more innocent time. We lost that innocence to a deadly disease, one that was eventually tamed. Public pools of the era were deemed to be a potential Polio danger and were shut down for the public good. After witnessing kids condemned to life in an iron lung, or struggling to walk with cumbersome iron and leather leg braces, the loss of a swimming hole seemed pretty minor.... even to us kids.

A Civil Defense air raid siren was mounted atop the Poinsett hotel and was tested on a periodic basis. I can recall being downtown with mom, at about 4 or 5 years old when they decided to test it. I've probably been more frightened at some point in my life, but none of those events came close to as vivid a memory. It could be hear all the way to mauldin if the wind was right. That sucker was bone aching loud if you were downtown.

There used to be a large Steam Mill Whistle atop the building, where J.B. Lachers Jewelers is located, on Pleasantburg dr. J.B.had it placed there and would often blow it using compressed air. It was stolen one night and the crime was only discovered when JB decided to sound the lunch whistle. Sadly it was a crime that was never solved.

Just down the parking lot from Lachers was the Ugly Biscuit. This place made huge buttermilk biscuits (4" x 6" was the average) with an artery choking slice of country cured ham. Nearly 40 years later, I still mourn their passing every time I drive by. Between Shoney's weekend breakfast buffet and the Ugly Biscuits, during the week, one was never at a loss for refreshed cholesterol levels.... something else we had never heard of, back in the day.

Dragging Main. We're gonna go drag Main, then grab a six pack at the 24 hour store. Meet you at the rock on Paris Mountain. Three things you can't be do in Greenville, circa 2014.

Taking your car to main street and cruising was also a right of passage, all the way into the 80's. It was where we all went to see who was doing who and what the cool kids were up to. It was hot rods and clunkers, Dads buick along with a few stripped and chopped motorcycles for added spice. Cool parents could be convinced to take a car load of young kids to drag main, giving every kid in the car bragging rights at school the next day. Now that we have a beautiful downtown, the powers that be made it illegal to drive through it more than once. Now kids are under curfew due to fighting... go figure.

Paris Mountain and the rock... the place where many a conception that didn't occur at the local drive in theater, happened. Something in the air, according to local lore...(grin)

The 24 Hour store was located at Main and Stone ave, across from the funeral parlor. It was the one place in Greenville that would sell you beer or smokes, around the clock. ID checks were minimal and few questions were asked. Many were the trips from outlying areas to replenish supplies of both. If you didn't know a friendly local bootlegger, an extra $10 at the 24 hour store would score you a case of beer on Sunday, if you knew how and whom to ask.

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Old 05-02-2014, 12:49 PM
36 posts, read 35,608 times
Reputation: 37
Originally Posted by Cedge1 View Post
Haywood Rd was a narrow two lane in 1973 that terminated at Pelham rd. Hudson rd was the only route to the Esatside, unless you knew the Butler Springs secret. Howell connected Edwards and Haywood while I was spending my 4 years with the USAF. The only things on Haywood, back then, were Eastern Business Forms and a small Juke joint. I worked as a pressman at EB before doing the USAF the favor of my personal presence.
That is interesting about Haywood road ending at Pelham. Hard to envision that stretch of haywood to north street not being there.

I've always been surprised you dont' see more traffic to/from Greer on the Haywood-Howell-Edwards route.

Butler Springs Road is def. not a secret anymore because they have massive speed bumps every 200 yards or so on that road. I'd probably want to deal with the occasional speeder on the road than those speed bumps if I lived off of it.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:24 PM
Location: Mauldin, SC
76 posts, read 216,242 times
Reputation: 90
Default Thanks for sharing ...

To the OP, thanks for the great insights to some history of this great town! Please keep them coming as time allows. I have been here since the mid-1990's and it's great to hear some of Greenville's history from someone who has lived it. I totally get the importance of your grandfatherly activities but if you decide to write that book sign me up for a few copies! Thanks again!
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Old 05-03-2014, 12:41 AM
Location: Greenville, SC
1,229 posts, read 2,550,857 times
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I moved here with my wife and kids in '08, and have struggled to picture what Greenville looked like 30-60 years ago. Upstate, NY, is where I'm from and she's from Columbia.

While in the service, a buddy from Gaffney told me a lot about Upstate, SC, and the problems which happened when the textile industry collapsed. Greenville did a great job of cleaning up the downtown, and as I say "got the jump" on that whole deal, cities making their downtowns attractive. I'm impressed, too, by the economic development here.

I can see why folks would be concerned with all this growth, though. Sprawl is a problem, here, although like most places in America there's no motivation on the part of local powers-that-be to do anything about it.

We love it, here, and on a personal level I like hanging out at the older and established local gin mills/bars where great conversation takes place, and networking happens. I can relate with the folks who remember the dominance of the textile mills, it was the same where I come from, people worked for the same company their entire work life, and often times family members worked at the same places.
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