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gs3

Greenville in the 80's

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gs3    26

I've seen lots of historic photos of Greenville's downtown from the early 1900's, 1920's, 1950's etc. What I haven't seen are photos of downtown from the 1980's and early 90's just prior to the start of it's rebirth. Does anyone have photos from these more recent era's they could post? We talk about before and after photos.....I'd love to see photos of downtown from the late 80's, when it was closed up and dead. Would be great to see for comparison sake to the vibrant downtown we know now.

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mallguy    49

I've seen lots of historic photos of Greenville's downtown from the early 1900's, 1920's, 1950's etc. What I haven't seen are photos of downtown from the 1980's and early 90's just prior to the start of it's rebirth. Does anyone have photos from these more recent era's they could post? We talk about before and after photos.....I'd love to see photos of downtown from the late 80's, when it was closed up and dead. Would be great to see for comparison sake to the vibrant downtown we know now.

How depressing! I lived in Greenville then but didn't go downtown much because there was really nothing there, apart from church on Sundays and the Hyatt for high school proms and the like, along with a few restaurants. Didn't take pictures because there wasn't much of anything to take pictures of but here is a description.

South of Broad Street, there was absolutely nothing but the Greenville News building and some old, run-down buildings that weren't really used for much. I think the Peace Center site was a parking lot.

North of Broad Street, the Hot Dog King was there, and City Hall and that white building next to it was there, but the Poinsett Hotel was mostly closed (except for a run-down coffee shop in the bottom- Darrell Floyd's- and some senior citizen housing) and and run down. There was a vacant Belk's next to the Poinsett, then the current Carolina First office. On the other side of the street there was the old Chamber of Commerce building, still there, and Kimbrell's and Carpenter Bros. drug store but nothing else.

North of that block there were just some run-down stores, including the vacant Kress building, a Belk outlet that closed sometime in the early 1980s, and not much else. North of that block, until the block where the Hyatt is, there were mostly closed stores; there was a vacant JC Penney, a Woolworth's that held on until the early 1990s, and a few mall-type stores that closed in the early 1980s, but not much else. The vacant stores were like the Woolworth's building is now: dated-looking and closed; not even a nice style of vacant like the stores at Greenville Mall are.

The block where the Hyatt is had the most activity and was most similar to how things are now but still there wasn't much. The Ivey's building was mostly vacant and run-down but I think there were one or two mall-type stores in the bottom that somehow held on.

East and west of Main Street were even more parking lots than there are now, such as where the bus station is and where some of the newish office and condo buildings are west of Main.

Worst of all was the area where Riverplace is now. There was really absolutely nothing there. The West End was just run-down and vacant, and Bell Tower Mall was dying, with tenants such as a Baskin-Robbins and a laundromat.

Thus when I walk around downtown now I at least get hope that awful things can be transformed! If you want to imagine what downtown was like in the 1980s, walk though some of the not-yet-reborn areas of the West End, and then walk past Woolworth's. Or visit downtown Spartanburg or Anderson. That's how it looked.

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gs3    26

How depressing! I lived in Greenville then but didn't go downtown much because there was really nothing there, apart from church on Sundays and the Hyatt for high school proms and the like, along with a few restaurants. Didn't take pictures because there wasn't much of anything to take pictures of but here is a description.

South of Broad Street, there was absolutely nothing but the Greenville News building and some old, run-down buildings that weren't really used for much. I think the Peace Center site was a parking lot.

North of Broad Street, the Hot Dog King was there, and City Hall and that white building next to it was there, but the Poinsett Hotel was mostly closed (except for a run-down coffee shop in the bottom- Darrell Floyd's- and some senior citizen housing) and and run down. There was a vacant Belk's next to the Poinsett, then the current Carolina First office. On the other side of the street there was the old Chamber of Commerce building, still there, and Kimbrell's and Carpenter Bros. drug store but nothing else.

North of that block there were just some run-down stores, including the vacant Kress building, a Belk outlet that closed sometime in the early 1980s, and not much else. North of that block, until the block where the Hyatt is, there were mostly closed stores; there was a vacant JC Penney, a Woolworth's that held on until the early 1990s, and a few mall-type stores that closed in the early 1980s, but not much else. The vacant stores were like the Woolworth's building is now: dated-looking and closed; not even a nice style of vacant like the stores at Greenville Mall are.

The block where the Hyatt is had the most activity and was most similar to how things are now but still there wasn't much. The Ivey's building was mostly vacant and run-down but I think there were one or two mall-type stores in the bottom that somehow held on.

East and west of Main Street were even more parking lots than there are now, such as where the bus station is and where some of the newish office and condo buildings are west of Main.

Worst of all was the area where Riverplace is now. There was really absolutely nothing there. The West End was just run-down and vacant, and Bell Tower Mall was dying, with tenants such as a Baskin-Robbins and a laundromat.

Thus when I walk around downtown now I at least get hope that awful things can be transformed! If you want to imagine what downtown was like in the 1980s, walk though some of the not-yet-reborn areas of the West End, and then walk past Woolworth's. Or visit downtown Spartanburg or Anderson. That's how it looked.

Exactly! I would like to see photos of this era. In such a short time, Greenville's downtown went from depressing and run-down to vibrant, upscale and full of life. I would love to see photos from the past for comparison as is speaks volumes about what remarkable things Greenville has done. Since I've lived in Greenville these few shorts years, downtown has been wonderful! I never knew it any other way. Just curious. I think to show before and after photos would be great tributes to the people of Greenville! :thumbsup:

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mallguy    49

Maybe a book in the local section of the Open Book or Barnes & Noble would have some pictures? Based on memories of Main Street in the '80s, I'd guess that retailers stopped updating their stores in the 1960s or early 1970s and then downtown just languished until 1980, when the main stores that were left fled to Haywood, leaving a few mall-type stores and a bunch of empty, dated storefronts. There are a few pockets of this stuff left, such as K-Wig Fashions and those urban stores north of the Woolworth building. That's what it was like, at best.

Main Street in Columbia now (or at least 2-3 years ago) seems like Greenville in the '80s- odd, since in the '80s downtown Columbia had a lot more retailers, at least. Or Augusta, GA's downtown is similar.

So hopefully you can picture this in your mind at least.

Ugh.

I'd guess this is kind of like my interest in dying shopping centers?

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Spartan    682

Or visit downtown Spartanburg or Anderson. That's how it looked.

To be fair, Spartanburg does not presently look anything like your description.

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Skyliner    37

And neither does Anderson by a long shot. These two cities have many years to go, but they have both begun to reinvest in their downtowns at least. Downtown Greenville is obviously in a different league today, but not too long ago it served very little purpose as a retail, restaurant, and residential center - basically it did not carry many of the qualities we admire most in a city's urban core. It is extremely exciting to witness the snowball effect happening to the level of public and private interest in downtown today. I see nothing keeping Greenville from exceeding its vision for 2025, unless it be perhaps some unforseen economic disaster.

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mallguy    49

Apologies to Anderson and Spartanburg; I last visited those downtowns a few years ago and my views must be outdated. I retract my comments about those two downtowns.

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upstategeek    0

I've seen lots of historic photos of Greenville's downtown from the early 1900's, 1920's, 1950's etc. What I haven't seen are photos of downtown from the 1980's and early 90's just prior to the start of it's rebirth. Does anyone have photos from these more recent era's they could post? We talk about before and after photos.....I'd love to see photos of downtown from the late 80's, when it was closed up and dead. Would be great to see for comparison sake to the vibrant downtown we know now.

Sorry no links, but I've done research on this in the County Library. One of the oddest shots is of Piazza Bergamo...it had these ugly wood panels around the sides and look horrible.

A great "overview shot" is also on the ninth floor of City Hall. They have several birdseye views of downtown in the 1970s and 1980s. For somewho didn't live here at the time, it's interesting to see County Square as a mall; the old Memorial Auditorium, railroad tressels in downtown, and so much vacant land where Carolina First, Elliott Davis are located.

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gs3    26

A great "overview shot" is also on the ninth floor of City Hall. They have several birdseye views of downtown in the 1970s and 1980s. For somewho didn't live here at the time, it's interesting to see County Square as a mall; the old Memorial Auditorium, railroad tressels in downtown, and so much vacant land where Carolina First, Elliott Davis are located.

Thanks upstategeek! I'll have to check this out next time in city hall.

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Skyliner    37

Just visit greatergreeville.com (The City) and go to the downtown development page. They have an outdated aerial photo of downtown which could have easily been taken in the '80s. This is very disturbing, considering most people learning about Greenville outside are directed to the City's own website, but there is so much old information and not enough current. At least put a few new shots of downtown up! :blink:

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upstategeek    0

Just visit greatergreeville.com (The City) and go to the downtown development page. They have an outdated aerial photo of downtown which could have easily been taken in the '80s. This is very disturbing, considering most people learning about Greenville outside are directed to the City's own website, but there is so much old information and not enough current. At least put a few new shots of downtown up! :blink:

I forgot about that picture. Very outdated shot of downtown. Surpised no one has changed it on there.

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Greenville    31

I don't like aerial shots of Greenville. It makes the downtown look very unimpressive from that angle. Since we don't have much room for error there, it underscores the importance of using a current photo! Come on, Greenville!

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gs3    26

I don't like aerial shots of Greenville. It makes the downtown look very unimpressive from that angle. Since we don't have much room for error there, it underscores the importance of using a current photo! Come on, Greenville!

OK, so one of us UPer's need to go up in a helicopter, snap some photos and submit to the city. Anybody know any local helicopter pilots? I vote for RT or NYT to do they job as they are the best photographers! :thumbsup: Oh yeah, and as added publicity for UP, the helicopter could pull one of those banners like they have at the beach, that reads "City photos courtesy of Urban Planet".

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At least once a week, WYFF has a cool evening shot of downtown Greenville from Sky-4 at the end of their telecast. You'd think the city could ask to send a pro up with them to take some photographs, too?

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janrey    0
I've seen lots of historic photos of Greenville's downtown from the early 1900's, 1920's, 1950's etc. What I haven't seen are photos of downtown from the 1980's and early 90's just prior to the start of it's rebirth. Does anyone have photos from these more recent era's they could post? We talk about before and after photos.....I'd love to see photos of downtown from the late 80's, when it was closed up and dead. Would be great to see for comparison sake to the vibrant downtown we know now.

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Wow - and the Riverplace Festival was where RiverPlace is located today, too. Geesh did things look a little different back in '86 without the Peace Center and the Wyche Pavilion renovated...and obviously, without RiverPlace being there. WOW, WHAT A DIFFERENCE A COUPLE OF DECADES MAKES!!! :lol:

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