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Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville is a city located in Greenville County in South Carolina, a state of the United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,002, with a metro population of 962,441. It is the county seat of Greenville County. With its historic homes and modern office towers, Greenville is where "Old South" meets "New South." Greenville is largest city of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson metropolitan area. It is the main city of "The Upstate", an area with a population near 1 million that includes the counties of Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, Cherokee, and Oconee in the northwestern corner of South Carolina.



The area was part of the Cherokee nation's protected grounds after the treaty of 1763 ending the French & 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, who settled at the falls of the Reedy River sometime after 1770. Paris Mountain, the mountain overlooking the city, is named for him.

During the Revolution, the Cherokee (and, incidentally, 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 County was created in 1786, but was called Greenville District from 1800 until 1868. The area is named for General Nathaniel Greene, who led Revolutionary troops in the Carolinas.


Greenville is located at 34°50'40" North, 82°23'8" West (34.844313, -82.385428)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city 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. The total area that is 0.23% water.


As the largest city in the area, Greenville offers many activities and attractions. Greenville's theatres and event venues regularly host major concerts and touring theatre companies. Four independent theatres present several plays a year.

Event Venues

  • BI-LO Center, a large arena in downtown Greenville, hosts several major concerts each year.
  • The Peace Center performing arts center hosts touring Broadway shows, concerts, and civic events. The Peace Center is also home to the Carolina Ballet Theatre, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, and Greenville Chorale.


  • Falls Park on the Reedy, a large regional park with beautiful gardens and home of the Liberty Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge. It is located on the Reedy River just south of Downtown Greenville.
  • Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery is located on the campus of Bob Jones University, and is widely acclaimed as the finest collection of religious art in the Western Hemisphere. It features Italian, Spanish, French, English, Flemish, Dutch, and German sacred art from the 14th through the 19th centuries, from artists such as Rubens, van Dyck, Reni, Tintoretto, Le Brun, Cranach, Ribera, and Murillo, as well as period furniture, sculpture, tapestries, and porcelains.
  • Greenville Zoo, in Cleveland Park, is home to many examples of the world's wildlife.

Annual Events

  • Fall for Greenville is a major festival held on the 1st weekend in October. This festival features local cuisine, live performances on several stages, and the Greenville Cycling Classic bicycle race.
  • First Night Greenville is the New Year's Eve street party in the streets of downtown.
  • Arts in the Park is a major arts festival that takes place in Reedy Falls Park near downtown Greenville.


Greenville and Greenville County are served by the Greenville County school district.

Greenville is not a college town, but the students of both Furman University (in Greenville) and nearby Clemson University enjoy Greenville's downtown area for weekend entertainment.

Greenville is home to several colleges and technical schools:

  • Bob Jones University
  • EPI College of Technology
  • Furman University
  • Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  • Greenville Technical College
  • ITT Technical Institute
  • North Greenville College
  • University Center of Greenville, a consortium of 7 senior universities (Clemson University, Furman University, Lander University, Medical University of South Carolinaa, South Carolina State University, University of South Carolina, and University of South Carolina Upstate).
  • Webster University


Since the Civil War, Greenville's economy has been based largely on textile manufacturing. Low wages and favorable tax benefits have lured foreign companies to invest heavily in the area: Greenville is the North American headquarters for Michelin and BMW (who also built a major manufacturing plant just east of Greenville). These companies, and others such as General Electric, have contributed to the area's sustained growth. Recently, Clemson University, BMW, IBM, Microsoft, and Michelin have combined to create an International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) in the Greenville area.

Greenville is the regional medical center, with the extensive Greenville Hospital System, Saint Francis Hospital, and Saint Francis Women's & Family Hospital as the main facilities. Many pharmaceutical companies have offices and facilities in the area.


Greenville is located on the Interstate 85 corridor, linking it to Atlanta and Charlotte, and near Interstate 26, linking it to the Midwest. It also is located at the northern terminus of Interstate 385, and other freeways includes Interstate 185 and U.S. Highway 123 (Calhoun Memorial Highway). Greenville is close to these destinations:

In downtown Greenville, Main Street is the main dining and shopping thoroughfare.

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, the state's busiest, serves the region.

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.


The Greenville News is city's only daily newspaper and also the Upstate's largest daily newspaper.

Greenville is part of the much greater Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson-Asheville television market which is the nation's 35th largest.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 56,002 people, 24,382 households, and 12,581 families residing in the city. The population density is 829.4/km² (2,148.0/mi²). There are 27,295 housing units at an average density of 404.2/km² (1,046.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 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. 3.44% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 24,382 households out of which 22.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.7% are married couples living together, 15.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% are non-families. 40.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.11 and the average family size is 2.90.

In the city the population is 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $33,144, and the median income for a family is $44,125. Males have a median income of $35,111 versus $25,339 for females. The per capita income for the city is $23,242. 16.1% of the population and 12.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 22.7% of those under the age of 18 and 17.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

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Last updated: 05-22-2005 16:06:36