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Old Posted Jul 16, 2021, 7:23 PM
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Greenville, SC: Cool and Refreshing, Like a York Peppermint Pattie

Once upon a time when I was but a boy, either our dogs got out or the neighbor's dogs got out as they were wont to do, and set about the task of slaughtering my family's chickens. It had snowed recently and the ground was still covered. My mother was taken by surprise by the dogs' sudden attack and went charging out of the trailer at them with the old broomstick we used to measure the level of kerosene in our tank. Her intention was to whack her the shit out of some dogs, and she ran out without taking the time to put on a coat or even to put on shoes, because every second you allow a dog to slaughter chickens unmolested is very likely another chicken lost. Along the way she lost first one, then the other of the ratty old pink bedroom slippers she had been wearing and after an indeterminate time spent beating the hell out of dogs she returned, gathering her slippers along the way.

I asked her how that had felt, to be running around in the snow beating dogs with a broomstick, barefoot.

"It was cool and refreshing," she snapped, "like a York Peppermint Pattie."

Cool and refreshing. That was the idea my husband and I had when we set out to take photos of downtown Greenville, where we're living these days. The problem with Greenville though, is that there are only three months of the year when you can reliably count on temperatures to be cool and refreshing, and July is not one of them. Most of the time, Greenville is recording temperatures between five and ten degrees warmer than Asheville, up in the mountains, and the higher humidity down here adds another five to ten to how it feels outside. It's quite common to check the temperature and find that what with one thing and another, a temperature of 80 feels like 92.

We thought we would beat Greenville at its game, and take pictures early in the morning, before it got "too hot." We thought to walk around in the morning might be cool and refreshing, like a York Peppermint Pattie.

Spoiler alert: It was not cool and refreshing.

But we got nice photos out of it.

As always, apologies for the bullshit YouTube wants you to watch before you can access appropriate theme music...

Video Link


...and it is quite appropriate. Greenville was a city of mills and remains a city of industry today.

The heart of downtown Greenville is Main Street.













Greenville's current tallest, the Landmark Tower, aka the Windstream Building:



Springwood Cemetery:

























A statue of Max Heller, the mayor who started downtown Greenville's turnaround from abandoned slum to an urban area that regularly garners national recognition:







Discussion question: What is a car with a license plate from Medellin, Colombia doing on West North Street?

Discussion question: Why is there a West North Street?













































Greenville is currently hosting an art exhibition by a notable Mexican artist, called Wings of the City. It's the first city east of the Mississippi to host it.















Greenville is a bit like San Antonio in that it has managed to make a middling little ditch of a river into a serious attraction. Part of that success is that Greenville is absolutely obsessed with celebrating that river with more fountains than you could shake a kerosene-stinking old broomstick at. Greenville could not be more pleased with the presence of water in the central business district.





Here's one of those old mills, the Huguenot Mill, which also housed the headquarters and production plant of the Duke's Mayonnaise company starting in 1917.





























Unlike San Antonio, part of what makes Greenville's middling river pretty special after all is the waterfall:































The Medusa Tree -- seriously. That's how it's even labeled on Google Maps.











There are at least two sets of old mill ruins in Falls Park, in the heart of the city. According to this historical marker for this set of ruins, a 27-acre mill village once surrounded the site of this textile mill. Residents rented their homes from the mill that employed them at a rate of $.50 per room per week. The village was destroyed in the 1950's.

That's the Grand Bohemian Hotel rising in the background, by the way.

















































This building on Spring Street is important because according to the Green Book, it used to house one of the only restaurants in Greenville where Black people were allowed to eat in the 1950's.





By early afternoon we were melting, and retreated home. We thought perhaps if we returned downtown even earlier the next day, perhaps we would find it cool and refreshing, like a York Peppermint Pattie. Imagine our delight when the next morning dawned overcast! Surely it would feel cool and refreshing!

Spoiler alert: It was not cool and refreshing.





This is Greenville's new federal courthouse.





















Christ Episcopal Church:



The cemetery behind Christ Episcopal Church. Two interesting things happened in this cemetery. The first was that I found a clump of probable relatives buried here, and the second was the gravestone of a woman named Vashti, who died in 1919. You have to wonder what sort of journey would bring an Indian woman to Greenville, South Carolina in that era, and how her life had been married to the man who was buried beside her. What sort of life would a woman like that have lived in a place like that, in a time like that?

That sort of thing is why I like to spend time in cemeteries.





















The Pettigru Historic District:































The Rock Quarry Garden, south of the Pettigru district, on the southeast edge of downtown. True to its name, this was indeed a rock quarry prior to the Civil War. After the war it lay abandoned until the Greenville Garden Club got itself in a snit in 1930 and turned it into a park. They did such a good job at that endeavor that they won second prize in a national competition held by Better Homes and Gardens magazine for best urban renewal project in America.

They were robbed. They easily deserved first prize.





























And then we walked back to where we'd parked by the new courthouse.













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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947

Last edited by hauntedheadnc; Jul 16, 2021 at 7:56 PM.
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2021, 9:21 PM
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Downtown Greeneville is a great place to spend time, but perhaps my opinion is tainted heavily by the fact that I've only been there in October, November, and December?

Reedy Falls and the associated park system is an absolute gem.

The Pettigru district looks wonderful. The times we've been there, we've wandered the Heritage and Earle historic districts, but oddly not the other side of downtown.

So did you wear pink slippers for your excursion? If not, perhaps that's why it wasn't cool and refreshing?

Great thread of a place that from the freeway could easily be described as the epitome of all that is wrong with this country, but has so much more to offer.
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2021, 10:42 PM
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My folks lived in Florence for 13 years. Love me some Greenville!
Glad to see you guys are enjoying your new city
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2021, 8:07 PM
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thanks for posting, i need to get back there, it's been almost five years. i'm only on the other side of the state but it still feels so far away thanks to this pandemic.

and yes, it's too hot in the summer. i remember my July 2012 expedition while my wife and in-laws saw theatre and i was melting.

this is cool, i need to get back and see this in person:
https://app.photobucket.com/u/haunte...e-1ed51434b297

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Old Posted Jul 19, 2021, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plinko View Post
Downtown Greeneville is a great place to spend time, but perhaps my opinion is tainted heavily by the fact that I've only been there in October, November, and December?

Reedy Falls and the associated park system is an absolute gem.

The Pettigru district looks wonderful. The times we've been there, we've wandered the Heritage and Earle historic districts, but oddly not the other side of downtown.

So did you wear pink slippers for your excursion? If not, perhaps that's why it wasn't cool and refreshing?

Great thread of a place that from the freeway could easily be described as the epitome of all that is wrong with this country, but has so much more to offer.
I keep meaning to stroll around in the historic districts north of downtown, and do all the murals along nearby Stone Avenue. There's a really good pizza place on Stone as well. I was there last night. There are other historic districts in Greenville as well, though. There are at least four giant old mill complexes that I can think of off the top of my head, which have been restored as apartment buildings or shopping complexes, which have been declared historic along with their surrounding mill villages. There's also a secondary downtown area in West Greenville Village that attempts to be Greenville's answer to West Asheville but isn't there yet, sadly.

I also need to hit up the historic downtown areas in Travelers Rest, Greer, Simpsonville, and Fountain Inn, as they're all quite nice.

And, rather than pink bedroom slippers, I'll likely do it wearing the same ratty Skechers I wore to walk around downtown Greenville.
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Old Posted Jul 19, 2021, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Wigs View Post
My folks lived in Florence for 13 years. Love me some Greenville!
Glad to see you guys are enjoying your new city
I remember you mentioning that one time when I actually did a photo thread on Florence. Florence has really come around in the past ten years. Their downtown used to be almost entirely abandoned, and now it's almost entirely restored.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Jul 19, 2021, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by LSyd View Post
thanks for posting, i need to get back there, it's been almost five years. i'm only on the other side of the state but it still feels so far away thanks to this pandemic.

and yes, it's too hot in the summer. i remember my July 2012 expedition while my wife and in-laws saw theatre and i was melting.

this is cool, i need to get back and see this in person:
https://app.photobucket.com/u/haunte...e-1ed51434b297

-
Yeah, you gotta come around... And yes, it is too hot. Greenville has finally broken me, in that when we moved into our house it came with a sprinkler system that I loathed. I loathed it because no one in Asheville has a sprinkler system, and I felt having one at this place in Greenville restricted me in my plans for gardens -- it's hard to reforest your property when it sits atop more infrastructure, networks of pipes and sprinkler heads, than is found beneath Grand Central Terminal. However, the heat down here is vicious, and it seems like it never rains. We finally broke down and set up the sprinkler system to do what it does three times a week. I can't even borrow a fuck to give about the grass, because I hate bare lawns, but it was either use the sprinkler system, or drag out the garden hose every evening to water the trees, the flower bed I planted, and the fern garden.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Jul 19, 2021, 8:26 PM
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Beautiful!
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2021, 10:31 AM
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Beautiful!
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed.
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2021, 3:39 PM
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Wonderful tour! I like the photo of the Poinsett Hotel...great angle.
I've contributed to the 'shine' on the wild boar's nose. It's hard to resist when walking by. The next trip I hope to spend more time on the downtown walking/biking trail. The small section I walked was great.
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2021, 4:07 PM
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Wonderful tour! I like the photo of the Poinsett Hotel...great angle.
I've contributed to the 'shine' on the wild boar's nose. It's hard to resist when walking by. The next trip I hope to spend more time on the downtown walking/biking trail. The small section I walked was great.
By the next time you come, I'm sure they'll be farther along on Unity Park. You can do the greenway all the way from Travelers Rest to Lake Conestee Nature Park except for one part where the south and north sections aren't connected. Downtown though, you can go from Unity Park through downtown past the falls, and keep going to the zoo and Cleveland Park. In the future they're planning to connect the two sections of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, plus a developer is going to build a massive, almost secondary city, on the old Union Bleachery. Part of that project includes extensions of the greenway to Paris Mountain State Park.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2021, 4:32 PM
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I remember you mentioning that one time when I actually did a photo thread on Florence. Florence has really come around in the past ten years. Their downtown used to be almost entirely abandoned, and now it's almost entirely restored.
Indeed! My folks just moved back to Canada last year. Glad I was able to see Florence's downtown transformation in that time from derelict to boutique hotel, new museum, new little theater, performing arts center, craft brewery and trendy restaurants.

Is your husband from there originally?
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2021, 5:20 PM
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Indeed! My folks just moved back to Canada last year. Glad I was able to see Florence's downtown transformation in that time from derelict to boutique hotel, new museum, new little theater, performing arts center, craft brewery and trendy restaurants.

Is your husband from there originally?
He's originally from Connecticut, right outside New York City (like, literally just over the line), but his parents were from Sumter and he has a lot of family in that area.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2021, 5:21 PM
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SC seems to have a lot of hidden surprises. my husband and i drove up to laurens last year and it was quite a cute downtown, larger than expected. still have got to make it up to greenville sometime.
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2021, 6:03 PM
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He's originally from Connecticut, right outside New York City (like, literally just over the line), but his parents were from Sumter and he has a lot of family in that area.
Interesting. When I'd visit my parents we went a few times to Sumter to walk around Swan Lake/Iris Gardens. Neat spot with every type of swan and other birds, gardens, and the black water swamp part
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2021, 8:39 PM
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If one cannot feel cool and refreshing, like a York Peppermint Pattie, then at least one's photographs can engender that quality, as here.

Greenville looks wonderful--lots of fine landscaping, great water features (I love, love, love waterfalls), and high quality brickwork. I hope to visit someday.
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2021, 12:59 AM
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That waterfall looked cool and refreshing, actually. Can one go into the water? (Without getting arrested and ticketed?)

Nice thread, it's an underrated city for sure (rather, a not-even-rated city, that would be more accurate).
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2021, 10:10 AM
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If one cannot feel cool and refreshing, like a York Peppermint Pattie, then at least one's photographs can engender that quality, as here.

Greenville looks wonderful--lots of fine landscaping, great water features (I love, love, love waterfalls), and high quality brickwork. I hope to visit someday.
Thank you! And by all means, please do come visit... The big waterfall of the Reedy River gets all the press, but I think the smaller falls farther down the river, plus those of the two little creeks flowing nearby, elsewhere in the park and in the Rock Quarry Garden, are pretty special as well. Greenville also isn't far from the real waterfall country of Western North Carolina. Transvlvania County, NC is the capital of that, with with than 250 of them. There's also a 400-ft waterfall up in Rutherford County, NC. Greenville makes a good base for day trips to places like that.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Jul 22, 2021, 10:23 AM
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SC seems to have a lot of hidden surprises. my husband and i drove up to laurens last year and it was quite a cute downtown, larger than expected. still have got to make it up to greenville sometime.
Sorry to have missed out on responding faster. Definitely wasn't trying to ignore this comment. What was it that took you to Laurens?
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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