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Old Greenville County Courthouse – Greenville, South Carolina


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The old Greenville County Courthouse is located in downtown Greenville. The only example of Beaux Arts architecture in Greenville County, it was built in 1918 and is the fourth courthouse to serve Greenville County. In 1950 the current Greenville County Courthouse was built on its present location on East North Street. The old courthouse continued to house Family Court until 1991.

Old Greenville Courthouse

Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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.

Steven Faucette of Williamston, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Today a bookstore occupies the former courthouse as well as offices. It is a landmark in downtown Greenville, as is its next-door-neighbor, the Poinsett Hotel, seen in the photo below.

Greenville County Courthouse SC

Stephen Brenton of Ladson, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The Old Greenville County Courthouse is listed in the National Register:

(Greenville Family Courts Building) The Greenville County Courthouse, the fourth building employed in this capacity, is significant as an example of early twentieth century public architecture on a monumental scale in the piedmont South, for the high quality of its design and construction, and for its association with a prominent architect, and is also important to the history of Greenville and Greenville County as the seat of law and local government. The primary architect was Georgia architect Phillip Thornton Marye. The supervising architect for the building was H. Olin Jones; J.A. Jones of Charlotte was the contractor. The courthouse is the only existing public Beaux Arts style building in Greenville County. The building is divided into two sections. The eastern section faces Main Street and is three stories in height; each story is 3900 feet in area. Behind it lies an eight-story tower; each story is 2600 square feet in area. A concrete structure with exterior walls of cream colored brick, the building is ornamented with terra cotta trim and details which are representative of the era and the Beaux Arts style. The building served as the courthouse for Greenville County until 1950 when the court was moved to a new building. The Family Court of Greenville County was located then in the building and remained there until 1991.



Old Greenville County Courthouse Info


Address: 130 South Main Street, Greenville, SC 29601
GPS Coordinates: 34.848775,-82.400358

Old Greenville County Courthouse Map



Old Greenville County Courthouse – Add Info and More Photos


The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Old Greenville County Courthouse, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


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The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!



2 Comments about Old Greenville County Courthouse

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
November 20th, 2013 at 9:25 am

Hi, Lauren. Here is a link to the city website: http://www.greenvillesc.gov/ We hope this helps, and good luck!

Lauren CoxNo Gravatar says:
November 19th, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Is there any way I could get the floor plans of this building? I am doing a project for my architecture history class at Clemson and I picked the Old Greenville County Courthouse to draw in Autocad. I can do the elevation, but I need floor plans as well.





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