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Greenville in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Welcome to Paris Mountain State Park

 
 
Welcome to Paris Mountain State Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, June 14, 2009
1. Welcome to Paris Mountain State Park Marker
Inscription.  
About Paris Mountain State Park
What is now Paris Mountain State Park traces its beginnings to an innovative plan by the City of Greenville to protect this fragile mountain watershed while supplying the city with water. Four lakes were built between 1890 and 1905 to meet that goal. Then in 1935, the watershed was turned over to the State of South Carolina. The men of the Civilian Conservation Corps soon built more than 50 structures on the site, many of which remain in use to this day, including the park center and Camp Buckhorn. Paris Mountain State Park, now on the National Register of Historic Places, officially opened on June 1, 1937. Then a welcome trip to the country, the 1,540-acre park has not become a valued retreat for the suburban communities around it, offering biking and hiking trails, boating, fishing, swimming and picnicking, as well as educational opportunities and camping.

South Carolina State Park Service Mission
To encourage people to discover South Carolina's state parks by providing resource-based recreational and educational opportunities that emphasize the conservation, protection
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and interpretation of the state's natural and cultural resources.

Paris Mountain State Park Mission
To provide recreational and educational opportunities emphasizing the cultural and natural resources of the Park and its environs. Special consideration will be given to the important of Paris Mountain State Park's status as a significant urban green space and the preservation of sustainable management of the resources of the park.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Natural ResourcesNotable Places. In addition, it is included in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) series list. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1967.
 
Location. 34° 55.6′ N, 82° 22.15′ W. Marker is in Greenville, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker can be reached from State Park Road. Marker is located on the grounds of Paris Mountain State Park, at the entrance to the parking lot across from the Park Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2401 State Park Road, Greenville SC 29609, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. New Life for Old Bathhouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Come On In, the Water's Fine! (within shouting distance of this marker); "Mom, Can I Have a Nickel?" (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); What's So Special About this Bridge?
Welcome to Paris Mountain State Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, June 14, 2009
2. Welcome to Paris Mountain State Park Marker
(about 400 feet away); Open to the Sky (about 700 feet away); The Dam for Reservoir 2 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Barracks in the Woods (approx. 0.8 miles away); Sulphur Spring (approx. 0.9 miles away); The Original Water Filter (approx. 0.9 miles away); Bull's Eye! (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenville.
 
Also see . . .
1. Paris Mountain State Park. Paris Mountain State Park is a park located north of Greenville, South Carolina. (Submitted on June 21, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Paris Mountain State Park Historic District. Paris Mountain is significant for its association with the establishment and development of a system of state parks in South Carolina. (Submitted on June 21, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Civilian Conservation Corps. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program for unemployed men, focused on natural resource conservation from 1933 to 1942. (Submitted on June 21, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional commentary.
Map of Paris Mountain State Park Historic District image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott
3. Map of Paris Mountain State Park Historic District
sectionheadg>1. Paris Mountain invites Wanderers
By Mike Foley
Greenville News
June 16, 2009

Since 1937, Greenville residents have used Paris Mountain State Park as a playground and swimming hole.

Chances are you've been there several times.

But how much do really you know about the 1,540-acre park? To test visitors' knowledge, and to get even more people on the trails, park officials developed a fun, active quiz to test both mind and legs.

The Wayside Wanderer program encourages visitors to seek “waysides,” that is, the signboards that denote historic facts about locations in the park or nature facts. The 15 waysides are spread across the park, although seven of them are clustered near the Park Center and Lake Placid.

“There's a lot of stories to tell about this park,” said Cathy Taylor, the park's Interpretive Ranger. “But everything that happened here was because of water.”

The streams that criss-cross the park were the source of Greenville's first reservoir, now known as the park's Mountain Lake, built in 1890. In 1898, Lake Placid was built as the city's second reservoir.

In researching information about the park's origins, Taylor said she found a newspaper article at the library that extolled the virtues and benefits of the second lake.

“The
Paris Mountain State Park -<br>Stone Walkway Surrounding the Park Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, June 14, 2009
4. Paris Mountain State Park -
Stone Walkway Surrounding the Park Center
article said the two lakes “‘would provide more water than Greenville would ever need,'” Taylor said. “Within six years, though, they built two more lakes.”

Greenville's unexpected growth outstripped Paris Mountain's ability to provide water, but it led to an unexpected benefit. Table Rock Reservoir was built as a replacement water source, and the water system's land and lakes at Paris Mountain became a state park by June of 1937.

In starting a state park from scratch, the first thing developed was the swimming area at Lake Placid. The Civilian Conservation Corps. built many park structures, including the iconic Park Center, which was originally the park bathhouse.

Taylor said her favorite part of researching park history was interviewing people who were intimately familiar with it.

“I'd call a person out of the blue,” she said, “and end up talking to them for an hour because they had so many stories.”

Many of those stories ended up on the waysides. One wayside near the bathhouse details Lake Placid as a place where Greenville teens hung out, swimming, sunbathing, dancing to the jukebox and enjoying each others' company.

“This was the place for teenagers then,” Taylor said.

Another details a sulphur spring where the water was bottled around 1900 and sold as
Paris Mountain State Park -<br>Park Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, June 14, 2009
5. Paris Mountain State Park -
Park Center
From the National Register nomination form: Constructed by the CCC in 1936, it is rectangular in plan and one story in height with its front elevation facing the lake. It is a frame building sheathed in rough rubble masonry, with a solid concrete foundation. the roof is a lateral gable type with a shed roof extension that covers an open porch running the full length of the front elevation. The porch roof is supported by large rough cut native stone pillars.
a medical tonic. And another gives the true history of the firetower once located along the Firetower Spur Trail.

While park attendance has spiked upward in recent years, Taylor wants to encourage more people to visit Greenville's back yard.

“This is another excuse to get out on our trails,” she said about the Wayside Wanderers challenge. “Some people will be able to get to them all in one visit, but I expect it to take most people a few trips.

“I hope this will become as popular as ‘Mice on Main.'”

WANT TO WANDER?
Download a map and find the 15 Wayside Wanderer questions that can only be answered by visiting Paris Mountain State Park's historic and natural markers at: pmspf.org/new/pdf/WaysideQuestions.pdf.
    — Submitted June 21, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

2. About the Paris Mountain State Park Historic District
Paris Mountain State Park is located on the outskirts of the City of Greenville in the Piedmont of South Carolina. The 1,275 acre park is heavily forested, and dominated by the steep hillsides of Paris Mountain and by the waters of Mountain and Buckhorn Creeks. The majority of the park's contributing resources were developed by the Civilian conservation Corps (CCC) and are expressive
Paris Mountain State Park -<br>Lake Placid Swimming Area image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott
6. Paris Mountain State Park -
Lake Placid Swimming Area
of the rustic style of park architecture and landscape design. Buildings and structures in the park were built using local materials, such as rubble stone and rough hewn logs, in a matter than harmonized with the natural environment. Indigenous construction techniques were typically used by the CCC and the park designers in order to evoke a romantic pioneer past. Roads, paths, and buildings were all designed to blend into, rather than stand out in, the natural landscape. Curvilinear and low horizontal lines dominate construction. Whenever possible, the CCC removed ornamental non-native plant species and replaced them with native plants in a technique known as landscape naturalization.

The CCC structures are grouped into three main areas, all surrounding or close to lakes. The most concentrated development occurs along the south side of Lake Placid. This section of the park includes picnic spots, the bathhouse, swimming area, amphitheater, athletic field, and park administrative buildings. The area around Sulphur Springs and Mountain Lake includes trails, picnic areas, and the archery range. Hidden deep within the park is the Buckhorn organized group camp, which consists of a lodge and camper cabins. All of these areas are joined by park roads, which serve to unify the overall park design.

In general, the historic appearance of the park remains largely unaltered.
Paris Mountain State Park -<br>Lake Placid image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, July 4, 2008
7. Paris Mountain State Park -
Lake Placid
From the National Register nomination form: Lake Placid is the man-made feature that forms the core of the park's design. It is one of three lakes in the park that were constructed by the Paris Mountain Water Company and used as reservoirs for the city of Greenville. Lake Placid was originally built as "Reservoir #2" between 1888 and 1898. The Lake Placid complex includes the stone dam, the CCC built lakeside nature trail, and a diving platform.
Of the seventy extant man-made elements of the park, approximately seventy percent were constructed during the period of significance. Only three of the original buildings have been moved. Most alterations to the buildings are limited to enclosures, porch additions, and roofing material changes. Non-contributing buildings constructed after the period of significance are located mainly in areas separated from previous development.

The landscape of Paris Mountain State Park is clearly distinct from that of the surrounding area. While suburban development has grown up outside the boundaries of the district, the park remains predominantly undeveloped, essentially a natural area. because the parks design generally faces inward, outside development has not harmed the integrity of the historic district. (Source: National Register nomination form.)
    — Submitted June 21, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
 
Paris Mountain State Park -<br>Mountain Lake image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, July 4, 2008
8. Paris Mountain State Park -
Mountain Lake
Greenville's first reservoir, Mountain Lake was built between 1888 and 1904.
Paris Mountain State Park -<br>Sulphur Springs Trail image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, July 4, 2008
9. Paris Mountain State Park -
Sulphur Springs Trail
From the National Register nomination form: Paris Mountain State Park includes a number of features designed by the CCC specifically for outdoor recreation. These include two lakeside trails, three hiking trails (Mountain Lake, Camp Buckhorn, and Sulphur Springs trails), a fire ring, bonfire, and stone picnic table at Sulphur Springs, an athletic field, and an archery range. All of these features are contributing resources, with the exception of the archery range, which has deteriorated. During the course of a field survey the archery range could not be precisely located, and should be considered altered.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 21, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 4,152 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 21, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   3. submitted on June 28, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on June 21, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

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