Greer in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
(Circa 1500-1800 AD)
by Henry Clark
near Frohawk Creek on property
belonging to J.T. Moon. Most likely
used to crack and grind corn and acorns
into meal by a band of Lower Cherokee,
this mortar is highly unusual because
of its massive dimensions, a fact which
suggests the possibility that a permanent
village was once located nearby.
Erected by Greer Commission of Public Works.
Location. 34° 56.233′ N, 82° 13.7′ W. Marker is in Greer, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street (State Highway 14) and Victoria Street on South Main Street. Click for map. Marker is located near the east (main) entrance of the Greer Heritage Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 106 South Main Street, Greer SC 29650, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Tribute to Greer Firefighters (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); 101 Trade Street (about 700 feet away); Worth Barnett Overpass (approx. 0.3 miles away); Indian Boundary Line (approx. 0.4 miles away); Spring-Wood Park AH-1 Cobra Helicopter (approx. half a mile away); Ronnie Eugene Norris Remembrance Fountain (approx. half a mile away); M106A1 Mortar Carrier (approx. half a mile away); All Wars Memorial (approx. half a mile away); Greer Area Veterans Memorial (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Greer.
Also see . . .
1. Greer Heritage Museum. To learn more about the rich history of the Greater Greer area, a visit to the Greer Heritage Museum is a must. (Submitted on May 17, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. Greer Post Office. The Greer Post Office, constructed in 1935, is architecturally significant as an excellent example of a New Deal-era Colonial Revival post office produced by the Public Works Branch of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Submitted on December 4, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
1. Greer Post Office - National Register Nomination Form
The Greer Post Office, built in 1935, is a one-story over basement
The Greer Post Office is roughly square in form and composed of two attached yet distinct components. The southeast oriented front section of the building composes the publically-accessible post office and features a lateral gabled roofline with gabled parapets, and a central, projecting cross-gabled entry pavilion with a parapeted gable that dominates the Main Street facade. The entry pavilion is characterized by a stuccoed veneer that is framed with brick quoins at either side of the
On either side elevation of the projecting entry wing is a single nine-over-nine wood window with a cast stone sill. Flanking the projecting entry wing on either side of the street facade is a single arched twelve-over-twelve wood window with a five-light arched fan transom set within a stuccoed brick blind arch that is punctuated
All four corners of the building's front section are punctuated with brick quoins. A wood modillioned cornice accents the slate-clad roof edge at the front of the building and accommodates an internal gutter and drain system. Copper spouts and concrete drains that take water away from the building are still visible at and near ground level and are still operable. On either lateral gable end a stuccoed horizontal panel or band demarcates the upper gable and corresponds with the cornice and roofline.
Attached to the rear [northwest] of the building is the more utiliarian in form section of the building. Its footprint is stepped in slightly, with the rear corners with quoins of the front part or more public part of the building being visible and readable. The depth of the reveal is approximately two feet on both the southwest and northeast [side] elevations of the building. This segment of the building extends to the northwest [toward
Exterior access stairs to the building's basement are along the northeast lateral gable end wall near the east [front] corner of the building, and at the northwest [rear] elevation between the chimney and the small rear extension. Each stairwell features faux wrought iron safety handrailings around the well, in addition to iron stair handrails. A large window well with faux wrought iron railing, containing two double-hung, multi-light sash windows, is located along the northeast elevation of the rear, flat-roofed building extension.
Even though the building has not been an active post office since 1964, and functioned as Greer City Hall from 1968 to 2008,
To the left of the main entrance and accessed through a paneled wall is a room in which is still intact, near the southern corner of the building, the mural Cotton and Peach Growing, painted by New York artist Winfield R. Walkley [1909-1954] and added to the building in 1940. One of thirteen murals in South Carolina commissioned by the Section of Fine Arts of the United States Treasury between 1938 and 1941, it is a depiction of African American men harvesting cotton and peaches within the setting of the undulating landscape of piedmont South Carolina's field and woodland, a scene familiar to residents of Greer and the surrounding upcountry community. This work of art was left intact but covered with faux-wood paneling during the occupancy by Greer City Hall from 1968 until 2008. During the recent rehabilitation and conversion of the building into the Greer Heritage Museum, the mural was uncovered and is currently displayed as part of the building's features. Despite some water damage suffered during the forty-year interval during which it was covered, the mural is in relatively good and stable condition.
Statement of Significance
The Greer Post Office, constructed in 1935 and located on South Main Street in downtown Greer, a community
The Greer Post Office is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C as an excellent example of a New Deal-era Colonial Revival post office produced by and under the supervision of the Public Works Branch of the United States Department of the Treasury. The building exemplifies designs of small post offices and federal buildings coming out of the Supervising Architect’s Office, as it was reorganized in 1933 within the Treasury Department as the Public Works Branch
(1) of simple governmental character in consonance with the region in which they are located and the
surroundings of the specific sites;
(2) [of] materials…as to require no excessive maintenance; and
(3) …of sufficient capacity to reasonably meet the needs of the Federal Government as may be
anticipated for a ten-year period.3
The building has a “freshness of view,” although paradoxically “a sort of wisely conservative experimental quality,” much as New York architect Aymar Embury II, member of the Advisory Committee on Architectural Design for the Public Works Branch, observed when describing the work of the Supervising Architect’s office once Simon became the “sole responsible official” in 1934.4
Developmental history/additional historic context information
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Industrial Recovery Act, under which the Public Works Administration spent nearly $36 million in South Carolina between 1933 and 1939, including the building of highways, schools, courthouses, and post offices.5 Congress had allocated $80,000 for a new Greer post office, but the funds were later redirected for other uses. One official explanation was that Greer’s annual postal receipts of less than $20,000 did not merit a new post office. Greer officials continued to lobby the state’s Congressional delegation for a new post office and eventually succeeded.6 In June 1934, funds for the new Greer Post Office were allocated as part of a $110,000,000 appropriation for over 600 federal buildings nationwide, including Aiken, Columbia, Greenville, Conway and Ware Shoals in South Carolina.7 New York architect Donald G. Anderson, under the direction of Louis A. Simon, Supervising Architect of the United States Treasury, prepared the plans for a Colonial Revival style post office for the town of Greer. Construction began in the Spring of 1935 under the direction of Greensboro, North Carolina, building contractor Lloyd B. Gallimore, and R.E. Moore, construction engineer. The building’s foundation and basement level were essentially complete by May 1, 1935. Although the building’s construction engineer changed in August to E.H. Somers, work progressed so that by August 31, 1935, the building's exterior was essentially complete. The building was ready to occupy in November 1935.8
Postmaster William B. Smith presided over the new post office for the balance of his postal career until his retirement on September 15, 1961.9
Louis Adolphe Simon (1867-1958), Supervising Architect of the United States Department of the Treasury, directed at least sixteen South Carolina post offices and federal buildings between 1931 and 1940, including those in Dillon, Ware Shoals, York, Walterboro, Winnsboro, Bamberg, Greenville, Kingstree, Chesterfield, Summerville, Anderson, Batesburg, Woodruff, Bishopville, Easley and Greer.10 A native of Baltimore and a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Simon joined the Supervising Architect's office as early as 1896, and became Chief of the Engineering and Drafting Division in 1915. In this position, which he held until 1934, he was responsible for the designs of federal government buildings throughout the nation because the Acting Supervising Architect, James A. Wetmore, a lawyer, was really only an administrator who set policy and tone for the office's designs and design oversight. Simon was appointed SupervisiArchitect in 1934 and held that position in the newly-created Public Works Division of the United States Treasury until 1941 when he retired in favor of prominent Philadelphia architect George Howe and Lescaze, designers of the famed Philadelphia Savings Fund Society (PSFS) Building.11
The designing architect for the Greer Post Office was in fact New York architect Donald G. Anderson, who also designed the 1935 Georgian Revival post office in Petersburg, Virginia, a Colonial Williamsburg style composition reflecting architectural elements of both the Capitol and Governor's Mansion reconstructions in Williamsburg, Virginia.12 Anderson was a junior partner at one time of New York architect Samuel Edgar Gage, designer of a number of branch bank buildings for the New York Corn Exchange Bank.
The Greer Post Office reflects the designs favored by the Treasury Department at the time, exhibiting a restrained Colonial Revival style with minimal ornamentation. The new post offices in South Carolina built during this era reflect the "dignity" and "economy" observed in new public buildings by Treasure Secretary Henry Morganthau, Jr.13
Winfield R. Walkley’s mural Cotton and Peach Growing, was added to the post office in 1940. Walkley was a native of New York who studied at the Pratt Institute Art School and the Art Students League. During the 1930s he produced work for the Treasury Relief Art Project. Walkley’s mural at the Greer Post Office depicts African-Americans harvesting cotton and peaches from area fields and orchards, two crops that were plentiful in and around Greer. Walkley wanted to portraa “sympathetic interpretation of the Negro” laborer that did not offend white sensibilities but at the same time conveyethe “industry of his race.”14 Despite some water damage and being covered by paneling at one time, the mural is in relatively good condition. Walkley’s Greer mural is in keeping with the pervasive themes of agriculture and labor in manyof the works of art in the other New Deal-era post offices and federal buildings constructed in South Carolina. Other art works featured whites and blacks cultivating rice (in the lowcountry) or tobacco (in the Pee Dee region), but collectively the works focused on the common themes of showing the nobility of ordinary laborers and the state's predominantly agricultural economy that was a point of pride in the early twentieth century.
By the early 1960s Greer was in need of a larger postal facility, and a new post office was dedicated in September 1964.15 The City of Greer purchased the New Deal-era post office on July 14, 1964, and by the summer of 1968, the building had been renovated to serve as the Greer City Hall.16 Adaptive reuse of the old post office allowed the city to triple the amount of space available in the previous city offices.17 The new City Hall included offices for the Mayor, the Business Administrator, Zoning, Codes, Clerk of Court, and the Director of Finance. Council meetings were also held there, and the basement was used for storage of police files.
Since 1935 the post office building at 106 South Main Street has retained its place as a significant building helping definthe historic and architectural character of downtown Greer. It has given years of service to the city of Greer as federal property, then as city hall, and presently as home for the many items that have been given to the Greer Heritage Museum by citizens and former residents of Greer. The Museum was incorporated on April 28, 1994, and opened on Trade Street in 1996. On March 23, 1999, the Greer City Council voted to lease to the Greer Heritage Museum the City Hall build106 South Main Street; the contract was signed in early 2009. State funds, obtained by the city through local state Senator Lewis Vaughn, were used to rehabilitate the building. Later in 2009, after city government offices movednew municipal complex adjacent to the old post office, the Greer Heritage Museum moved into the facility. The rehabilitation removed many of the changes made during the city hall era to reveal a number of features of the post office era.
— Submitted December 5, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
Categories. • Landmarks • Native Americans •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,058 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 10. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.