Greenville County Courthouse – Greenville, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Greenville County Photos | Greenville County Courthouse
The old Greenville County Courthouse is located at 130 South Main Street in downtown Greenville. The only example of Beaux Arts architecture in Greenville County, it was built in 1918 and served as the county’s main courthouse until 1950.
This was the fourth courthouse to serve Greenville County. In 1950, the current Greenville County Courthouse was relocated to its present location on East North Street. The old courthouse continued to serve the Family Court until 1991. Today it remains vacant, but was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.
In 1947, this courthouse was the site of the Willie Earle trial which proved to be an important turning point in race relations in South Carolina. Earle, who was young and black, was arrested for killing a white taxi driver. While awaiting trial, 31 white men kidnapped him from his jail cell and murdered him.
Signaling a new intolerance for such actions, the entire lynch mob was arrested and tried for murder and conspiracy. When all the defendants were acquitted, an embarrassingly negative reaction erupted from the international press. It is thought to be the last incident of its kind in South Carolina.
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