Historical Greenville Walking Tour, Greenville

Historical Greenville Walking Tour (Self Guided), Greenville

Greenville, South Carolina, is steeped in history. Having evolved throughout the centuries into a prosperous and appealing destination, the city boasts a rich tapestry of historical sites that paint a vivid picture of its past.

Starting with the Museum & Library of Confederate History, visitors are transported to the Civil War era through a collection of artifacts and documents that explore the Southern perspective of the conflict. This museum serves as a reminder of the complex historical narratives that shape our understanding of American history.

Not far from there, the Pettigru Street Historic District and Pettigru Place stand out with their beautifully preserved 19th- and early 20th-century homes. This neighborhood encapsulates the charm of Greenville’s yesteryear, with its tree-lined streets and elegant architecture, showcasing the city’s growth and transformation over the decades.

The spiritual and architectural grandeur of Christ Church Episcopal is undeniable. Founded in 1854, this church not only serves as a place of worship but also as a monument to Greenville's enduring community spirit and its English Gothic Revival architecture.

Springwood Cemetery, another significant site, offers a serene setting that tells the story of Greenville through its resting souls. It is a repository of local history, housing the graves of many notable figures who played pivotal roles in shaping the city.

The Fountain Fox Beattie House and the Kilgore-Lewis House, both preserved antebellum homes, allow visitors to step back in time and admire the craftsmanship and style of earlier centuries. These homes highlight the domestic life and the social customs of their times.

Trinity Lutheran Church and the Earle Towne House further exemplify Greenville’s historical diversity, showcasing different architectural influences and community roles throughout the city’s development.

To truly appreciate the depth and diversity of Greenville’s history, a visit to these sites is essential. Whether you are a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a meaningful way to connect with the past, Greenville offers a compelling array of historical treasures. Come and explore the stories embedded in these walls and walkways, and let yourself be transported to another time in South Carolina’s storied landscape.
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Historical Greenville Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Historical Greenville Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Greenville (See other walking tours in Greenville)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: gabriela
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Museum & Library of Confederate History
  • Pettigru Street Historic District and Pettigru Place
  • Christ Church Episcopal
  • Springwood Cemetery
  • Fountain Fox Beattie House
  • Kilgore-Lewis House
  • Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Earle Towne House
Museum & Library of Confederate History

1) Museum & Library of Confederate History

The Museum & Library of Confederate History serves as an educational hub for history enthusiasts and those seeking to delve deeper into the complexities of the Civil War. This institution fosters a diverse community, welcoming individuals from various backgrounds to engage in discussions and share their perspectives. Here, the emphasis lies not only on the importance of each voice being heard but also on acknowledging the multifaceted nature of historical narratives.

Within its walls, the Museum & Library of Confederate History offers an enriching experience for anyone interested in learning about the Civil War and the Confederacy. The museum boasts an array of exhibits, showcasing a captivating collection of uniforms, weapons, flags, and other historical artifacts. Complementing this, the library houses an extensive assortment of books and manuscripts, catering to researchers eager to delve deep into the annals of the Civil War and the Confederacy. The institution extends an open invitation to all, with free admission ensuring accessibility for all who wish to explore this intriguing facet of history.

Furthermore, the Museum pays tribute to key figures, significant locations, and pivotal events associated with the Confederacy during its brief existence from 1861 to 1865. Visitors have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with a diverse array of individuals who played roles in the struggle for Southern independence, from prominent figures like General Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis to the ordinary soldiers hailing from South Carolina who united against what they perceived as Northern oppression. This unity was forged in response to the election of Abraham Lincoln, who secured the presidency without garnering a single vote from any state south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Pettigru Street Historic District and Pettigru Place

2) Pettigru Street Historic District and Pettigru Place

The Pettigru Street Historic District stands as a testament to the city's architectural heritage, with its tree-lined streets and historic homes dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Home to 88 structures built between 1890 and 1930, the district showcases a diverse range of architectural styles, including Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Bungalow. This variety reflects the evolution of architectural tastes from the Victorian era to the early 1930s, mirroring the growth of Greenville during that period.

Originally belonging to the Boyce and Rowley families, the land was divided into lots at the turn of the century, leading to increased development and the addition of new streets. Notably, the district became the residence of prominent businesspeople and mill owners, adding to its historical significance. In 1982, the Pettigru Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, recognizing its architectural and cultural importance.

Among the district's notable properties is Pettigru Place Bed and Breakfast, located on Pettigru Street. This charming retreat welcomes guests with an English garden and the grandeur of a Georgian Federalist home built in the 1920s. Featuring beautifully appointed common rooms and six luxurious guest rooms with private baths, the bed and breakfast offers a serene escape just steps away from Greenville's vibrant Main Street. With its historic charm and warm hospitality, Pettigru Place invites visitors to experience the rich heritage of the Pettigru Street Historic District firsthand.
Christ Church Episcopal

3) Christ Church Episcopal (must see)

Christ Church (Episcopal) holds a significant place in the city's history, standing as the oldest organized religious body and the oldest church building still in existence. Consecrated in 1854, this Episcopal church has retained its architectural splendor over the years, with its distinctive brick Gothic design captivating visitors and locals alike. The church and its courtyard are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, preserving its cultural and historical significance for future generations.

Originally constructed with a nave that measured 80 feet long and 39 feet wide, Christ Church featured a peaked ceiling towering at 65 feet tall. The interior was adorned with exquisite stained glass windows, including a unique circular window depicting the Holy Trinity and a triplex window in the chancel portraying Christ, Saint John, and Saint Peter. Over the years, the church underwent several expansions and renovations, with additions such as a balcony in 1875 and the construction of the south transept in 1880, enhancing both its architectural grandeur and functional capacity.

In 1914, a notable stained glass window depicting the Last Supper was installed in the chancel, crafted by Franz Mayer & Co. in Munich. This window serves as a tribute to Ellison Capers, a Confederate general and former rector of the church, who later became the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. Further modifications were made in 1968, including the addition of the north transept to complete the Gothic cruciform design and the incorporation of an undercroft. In 2000, the church underwent another enhancement with the enlargement of the balcony and the installation of a Goulding and Wood organ, enriching its musical offerings and ensuring the preservation of its architectural legacy for generations to come.
Springwood Cemetery

4) Springwood Cemetery

Springwood Cemetery stands as a testament to the rich history of Greenville, nestled in the heart of the city's oldest neighborhoods. Dating back to 1829, this historic cemetery offers a glimpse into the past, with its serene landscape and ornate monumental tombs adorned with intricate sculptures. As one wanders through its pathways, they are surrounded by the memories of generations past, with many prominent residents of the town laid to rest within its hallowed grounds.

The cemetery's beauty lies not only in its well-manicured gardens and towering trees but also in the stories etched into its gravestones and memorials. Each monument serves as a tribute to a life lived and a legacy left behind, providing a poignant reminder of the city's diverse and storied past. From influential civic leaders to beloved community members, the tombs of Springwood Cemetery pay homage to the individuals who helped shape Greenville into the vibrant city it is today.

Springwood Cemetery also bears witness to the diverse cultural heritage of Greenville, with a dedicated section for African American tombs. As visitors explore the grounds of Springwood Cemetery, they not only honor the past but also gain a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of Greenville's past, present, and future.
Fountain Fox Beattie House

5) Fountain Fox Beattie House

The Fountain Fox Beattie House stands as a historical landmark in Greenville, with a rich and storied past dating back to its construction circa 1834. Originally built by merchant and banker Fountain Fox Beattie for his bride, Emily Edgeworth, the house served as a testament to their love and prosperity. Despite the challenges of the Reconstruction era, Beattie flourished, and subsequent generations of his family continued to call the house home well into the 20th century.

The architectural design of the Fountain Fox Beattie House reflects the elegance and simplicity of its time. The two-story structure features one-story wings, with a flat roof on the central portion and a balustraded roof on the wings. A distinctive one-story piazza, supported by six pairs of columns, adds to the grandeur of the house, offering a welcoming entrance for visitors. The main entrance, marked by a set of double doors, invites guests to step into a bygone era and explore the rich history contained within its walls.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, the Fountain Fox Beattie House has become more than just a private residence—it has become a beloved tourist attraction. Visitors are drawn to its architectural beauty and the opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of Greenville. As they wander through its halls and gardens, they are transported back in time, gaining a deeper appreciation for the individuals and families who helped shape the city's identity.
Kilgore-Lewis House

6) Kilgore-Lewis House

The Kilgore-Lewis House stands as a testament to the region's rich history and architectural heritage. While the exact origins of the house are shrouded in some mystery, historical records suggest that it was likely built around 1838 by George Boyle, who subsequently deeded the property to Josiah Kilgore. Kilgore, in turn, gifted the house to his daughter, Mary, in 1855, marking the beginning of its storied history. As one of the oldest surviving structures in Greenville County, the Kilgore-Lewis House holds a significant place in the area's cultural landscape.

Constructed in the Palladian style, the farmhouse exudes an air of elegance and distinction, setting it apart from other farmhouses of its time in the Upstate region. Originally located on Buncombe Street in downtown Greenville, the house remained in the Kilgore family for an impressive 130 years before taking on a new role as a Sunday school building for a nearby church. However, as the years passed, the house faced the looming threat of demolition, a fate all too common for many historic structures in the area.

Fortunately, the Greenville Council of Garden Clubs intervened, recognizing the historical significance of the Kilgore-Lewis House and its architectural charm. In 1974, the house was relocated to a five-acre lot in McPherson Park, where it was lovingly restored and preserved for future generations to enjoy. Today, the Kilgore-Lewis House serves as both a living testament to Greenville's past and a vibrant event venue, welcoming visitors to step back in time and experience the elegance and grandeur of a bygone era.
Trinity Lutheran Church

7) Trinity Lutheran Church

Trinity Lutheran Church stands as a testament to the growth and establishment of the Lutheran presence in Greenville. Established in the fall of 1909 by a small group of Greenville Lutherans meeting in the Masonic Hall, the congregation quickly gained momentum. By September 12 of the same year, they had officially organized and welcomed twenty-seven members into the church, marking the beginning of Trinity Lutheran's journey.

Located in the heart of downtown Greenville on Main Street, Trinity Lutheran Church is a prominent landmark in the city. The church building, constructed of stone, exudes a sense of grandeur and tradition. Its striking architecture includes a large staircase leading to a porch adorned with arched entrances, inviting both members and visitors alike to step inside and experience the warmth of the congregation.

The Trinity Lutheran campus, spanning almost an entire city block, encompasses not only the Sanctuary but also an Education Building and Activities Building. This expansive space provides ample room for worship, learning, and community engagement. Additionally, the Trinity Outreach Center, situated adjacent to the main campus, serves as a hub for various local ministries and human service agencies, including Lutheran Hospice, BeWell Services, Mental Health America, and Safe Harbor.
Earle Towne House

8) Earle Towne House

The Earle Towne House, nestled in the Earle Street Historic District of Greenville, stands as a remarkable example of 19th- and early 20th-century residential architecture. While long believed to have been built around 1810 for Congressman Elias T. Earle, historical records suggest a different origin. Constructed more likely between 1829 and 1834 by Samuel Green or Elias Drayton Earle, the house boasts a rich history intertwined with Greenville's past.

Over the years, the house changed hands, each owner leaving their mark on its legacy. From James A. David, a prominent merchant and essayist, to Mary Chevillette Simms Oliphant, granddaughter of renowned novelist William Gilmore Simms, the house witnessed various renovations and transformations. Oliphant, in particular, undertook extensive renovations in the 1920s, restoring the house to its original Federal style while preserving its unique features, including hand-hewn timbers and a hand-carved mantelpiece.

Today, the Earle Towne House stands as a testament to Greenville's architectural heritage, listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1969. Its story reflects the evolving landscape of Greenville, from its early days to the present. Visitors can explore the house and gain insight into its rich history, offering a glimpse into the lives of those who called it home over the centuries.

Walking Tours in Greenville, South Carolina

Create Your Own Walk in Greenville

Create Your Own Walk in Greenville

Creating your own self-guided walk in Greenville is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Greenville Introduction Walking Tour

Greenville Introduction Walking Tour

Greenville, South Carolina, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, seamlessly combines rich historical heritage with vibrant modern attractions: unique architectural landmarks, monumental buildings, parks, and picturesque places with waterfalls.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles