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

The Touchstone House "Falls Cottage"

 
 
The Touchstone House "Falls Cottage" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, January 4, 2010
1. The Touchstone House "Falls Cottage" Marker
Inscription.  
Multi Use House
The two-story stucco-covered brick house overlooking the Reedy River falls was built by W.E. Touchstone between 1894 and 1896. It was located in the "West End," a rapidly developing residential and commercial area across the river from Greenville's earliest development. Used as a rental property for about twenty years, by 1918 when the West End was fast becoming the city's first "motor mile," the house became Curry's Gasoline Station. Later it was People's Service Station. In 1972, the Carolina Foothills Garden Club acquired the property, renovated it and named the home Falls Cottage.

Carolina Foothills Garden Club
Restoring Greenville's Birthplace
The Carolina Foothills Garden Club, beginning in 1967, spearheaded efforts to reclaim the long neglected site of Greenville's birthplace and to preserve its natural beauty. The City of Greenville endorsed the project and resolved to establish and maintain a park. Furman university, whose campus was once located nearby, donated the original six acres, followed by other land grants from adjoining property owners. Over the next two
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decades the Garden Club, in partnership with the city, continued to develop the area. In 1975, the small house known today as Falls Cottage, was acquired and restored. A master development project was begun in 1990 with city and garden club funds as well as support from foundations, corporations and individuals. The park, listed on the National register of Historic Places, encompasses 26 acres with trails, gardens, scenic overlooks, textile mill ruins, and historic information plaques. Love of history, appreciation for nature and a desire to preserve it all for public enjoyment have motivated the work done here. This is a place restored to life!
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Natural ResourcesNotable Buildings. A significant historical year for this entry is 1894.
 
Location. 34° 50.667′ N, 82° 24.133′ W. Marker is in Greenville, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker can be reached from South Main Street. Marker is located southeast of the cottage, on a walking path leading to the south overlook. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 615 South Main Street, Greenville SC 29601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Touchstone House (within shouting distance of this marker); Chicora College (within shouting distance of this marker); Wilson Cooke (within shouting distance of this marker); Restoration and Development
The Touchstone House "Falls Cottage" Marker -<br>Multi Use House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, January 4, 2010
2. The Touchstone House "Falls Cottage" Marker -
Multi Use House
(within shouting distance of this marker); History of Falls Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Harriet Smith Wyche (within shouting distance of this marker); Tate Plaza (within shouting distance of this marker); Liberty Bridge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); McBee's Mills (about 300 feet away); Reedy River Falls (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenville.
 
Also see . . .
1. Mary's at Falls Cottage. Located in Falls Cottage since 1995. (Submitted on January 30, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Reedy River Falls Historic Park and Greenway. The Reedy River Falls are not only the geographical but also the historical center of Greenville. (Submitted on January 30, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Falls Park, Greenville, SC. Official website of Falls Park. (Submitted on January 30, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

4. Carolina Foothills Garden Club. Official website of Carolina Foothills Garden Club. (Submitted on January 30, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
The Touchstone House "Falls Cottage" Marker -<br>Carolina Foothills Garden Club image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, January 4, 2010
3. The Touchstone House "Falls Cottage" Marker -
Carolina Foothills Garden Club
 
 
Additional commentary.
1. Falls Cottage
W.E. Touchstone and his wife Matilda built this two-story brick residence for their family to occupy in 1893.Touchstone was the superintendent of Camperdown Mills and in 1894 resigned and left for Alabama. His family remained in Greenville and his wife was made owner of the home. In 1897 Matilda Touchstone sold her home and eventually it was turned into a filling station by K.S. Conrad who bought the property in 1920. In early 1990, the house underwent renovations and opened as a combination art gallery and restaurant. (Source: Greenville County Historic Sites: Driving Tour by Greenville County Library System, pg 8.)
    — Submitted January 30, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

2. Touchstone
One of the most charming buildings still surviving in the West End business district is the home found on the bend of South Main Street called the Touchstone house. The two-story stucco-covered brick house overlooking the Reedy River Falls was built in the last decade of the nineteenth century by W.E. Touchstone and his wife Matilda shortly after Chicora College was built across the street. Touchstone was the supervisor of the Camperdown Mill
The Touchstone House "Falls Cottage" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, January 4, 2010
4. The Touchstone House "Falls Cottage" Marker
across the river, so the home's location was very convenient. The majority of other Camperdown workers lived in the mill village housing off Falls Street. Camperdown Mill closed just as his home was built and he moved to Alabama while his family stayed in the home for three more years. Right next to the home, Furman University students would cut over to Main Street for many years on a path that led up the hill from the school.

In the first decade of the twentieth century, Camperdown reopened and the Touchstone house had people moving in and out. A.R. Black lived in it from 1899-1900, I.C. Newton from 1901 and 1902 and G.W. Charlotte lived in the house in 1903. By the second decade of the century the house became Curry's Gasoline Station when auto-related businesses were taking over the majority of commercial buildings in the West End. Later is was People's Service Station.

In he mid-1970s plans were put in motion to begin revitalizing Falls Park as well as the touchstone cottage. The Carolina Foothills Garden Club took over the house in a state that would be unrecognizable today. Later the house was renovated to what is believed to be near its original look and housed the Metropolitan Arts Council. When the beautification of Falls Park was underway, the Touchstone house was an integral part of the plan as a "gateway" to the historic park site. The home is now
Falls Cottage -<br>Northwest Corner image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, January 4, 2010
5. Falls Cottage -
Northwest Corner
known as Falls Cottage and for years has operated as a successful and charming restaurant with perhaps the best view of Falls Park. (Source: A Guide to Historic Greenville, South Carolina by John M. Nolan (2008), pgs 36-37.)
    — Submitted January 30, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
 
Falls Cottage -<br>Northeast Corner image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, January 4, 2010
6. Falls Cottage -
Northeast Corner
Falls Cottage -<br>South Overlook from Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, May 26, 2008
7. Falls Cottage -
South Overlook from Park
Falls Cottage -<br>South Overlook image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, January 4, 2010
8. Falls Cottage -
South Overlook
Reedy River Falls Park -<br>From the South Overlook image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Scott, August 24, 2008
9. Reedy River Falls Park -
From the South Overlook
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on January 30, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,295 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on January 30, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

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Feb. 22, 2024