Laurens in Laurens County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Laurens County / Laurens Historic District
Erected 1985 by Laurens County Historical Society and Laurens County. (Marker Number 30-6.)
Location. 34° 29.972′ N, 82° 0.862′ W. Marker is in Laurens, South Carolina, in Laurens County. Marker is on West Laurens Street near Laurel Street. Touch for map. This marker is located on the the North East corner
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Watts Mills' World War II Veterans Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Vietnam War (a few steps from this marker); Laurens County Confederate Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Korean Conflict (within shouting distance of this marker); Laurens County World Wars I & II Veterans Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Masonic Lodge #19 / Samuel Saxon (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Laurens County Veterans Monument (about 600 feet away); American Legion Post 25 Veterans Monument (approx. ¼ mile away); A.I. (Gus) Mason Bridge (approx. 0.3 miles away); Watts-Todd-Dunklin House (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Laurens.
Also see . . .
1. Ninety-Six District, South Carolina. Ninety-Six District is a former judicial district in the U.S. state of South Carolina. (Submitted on October 17, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. Laurens County. Historical sketch of Laurens County History provided by the Laurens County website. (Submitted on August 10, 2008, by Ronald Miller of Gray Court, South Carolina.)
3. Wikipedia entry for Laurens County, SC. Laurens County is a county located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. (Submitted on August 10, 2008, by Ronald Miller of Gray Court, South Carolina.)
4. Wikipedia entry for James Adair (Historian). A look at Historian James Adair, a one time resident of Laurens County. (Submitted on August 10, 2008, by Ronald Miller of Gray Court, South Carolina.)
5. Wikipedia entry for Henry Laurens. Laurens was named after the Charleston Statesman Henry Laurens. He had the distinct duty of serving as the President of the second continental congress preceded only by John Hancock. (Submitted on August 10, 2008, by Ronald Miller of Gray Court, South Carolina.)
6. Laurens Historic District. The Laurens Historic District contains 111 contributing properties, most of which were built between 1880 and 1940. (Submitted on September 30, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
7. Laurens County Courthouse. The Laurens County Courthouse represents an excellent example of Greek revival architecture in rural South Carolina. (Submitted on September 30, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
8. Ann Pamela Cunningham. Ann Pamela Cunningham (August 15, 1816 - May 1, 1875) is credited with saving George Washington's beloved home Mount Vernon from ruin and neglect. (Submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
9. Rosemont. Historical marker near Clinton, S.C. dedicated to Ann Pamela Cunningham. (Submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
10. SC Hall of Fame Video: Ann Pamela Cunningham. SC Hall of Fame video honoring Ann Pamela Conningham. (Submitted on October 17, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
11. Young's School. Marker located in Gray Court, S.C., dedicated to a school founded by Dr. Wil Lou Gray. (Submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
12. SC Hall of Fame Video: Dr. Wil Lou Gray. SC Hall of Fame video honoring Dr. Wil Lou Gray. (Submitted on October 17, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
13. SC Hall of Fame Video: Dr. Anne A. Young. SC Hall of Fame video honoring Dr. Anne A. Young. (Submitted on October 17, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
14. Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was the seventh President of the United States (1829–1837). (Submitted on October 17, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
15. South Carolina Governor William Dunlap Simpson. William Dunlap Simpson was born in Laurens District, South Carolina. (Submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
16. William Dunlap Simpson. William Dunlap Simpson (October 27, 1823 – December 26, 1890) was Governor of South Carolina from February 26, 1879, when the previous governor, Wade Hampton, resigned to take his seat in the U.S. Senate, until 1880, when Simpson (Submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
17. South Carolina Governor Robert Archer Cooper. Robert Archer Cooper was born in Waterloo Township (Laurens County), South Carolina. (Submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
18. Robert Archer Cooper. Robert Archer Cooper (June 12, 1874 – August 7, 1953) was Democratic Governor of South Carolina from January 21, 1919 to May 20, 1922. (Submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
1. Laurens Historic District
The town of Laurens is the county seat of Laurens County located in the Piedmont region of South Carolina. The Laurens Historic District contains fifteen buildings of particular architectural or historical significance and seventy-five supporting properties. The historic district is centered on the Laurens Public Square, and extends northwards along Caroline Street to Hampton Avenue, and west along Main Street to Moreland Street. Approximately sixty-five percent of the buildings in the Historic District were built prior to 1925. Most of the buildings were built during a period of rapid growth, from about 1880 to 1925, and retain the architectural characteristics of that era. The majority of the buildings have been kept in continuous
Key properties contributing to the character of the historic district:
2. Governor William Dunlap Simpson House, 726 W. Main Street: 1839, two story frame, weatherboarded building with medium gabled roof and pedimented gables, four interior chimneys, two story Greek Revival portico supported by four large fluted Doric columns. The house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was the home of William Dunlap Simpson, who served as governor of South Carolina between 1879 and 1880.
7. Babb House, 706 W. Main Street: ca. 1880-90, two story farmhouse variation, medium gabled roof with projecting front gable on the west end of the south elevation. Windows are one over one. Once the home of Robert Babb, who sat as acting associate justice on the South Carolina Supreme Court. It is presently the home of Dr. Willie Kate Baldwin, one of South Carolina's distinguished women. Recognized with many other honors for her work with mentally retarded and exceptional children, she is Professor Emeritus of Glassboro State College and also served as a missionary in Nigeria.
12. Davis House, 560 W. Main Street: a two story frame, weatherboarded residence, built ca. 1896, in the Queen Anne style. The house features a wraparound porch with decorative turnings and brackets. A turret
16. James Dunklin House, 544 W. Main Street: ca. 1812, two story, frame, weatherboarded house with exterior end chimney, medium gabled roof. Windows are nine over nine with louvered shutters. The Dunklin House is one of the oldest in Laurens County and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is presently used as a house museum.
19. Todd House, 530 W. Main Street: Victorian residence, built ca. 1880, has carpenter Gothic influence. The two story frame, weatherboarded house has a medium gabled roof with brackets and a one story flat roofed portico with bracketed cornice that wraps around the front and side of the house. Front projecting second story gable has decorative bargeboard trim. The windows are two over two; interior has exquisite detail with plaster cornices, wainscoting, ornate mantels and overmantels.
21. Augustus Huff House, 520 W. Main Street: Victorian residence, built ca. 1890, shows influence of carpenter Gothic style. Two story frame, weatherboarded house with medium gabled roof and two interior chimneys. There is decorative bargeboard trim. Small second story porch has a bellcast mansard roof. Windows are two over two with louvered shutters.
34. Laurens First Presbyterian Church, Main Street: constructed in 1891, Victorian Gothic Revival, red brick, cross-gable roof, two story mansard roofed tower on east corner, with recessed arches containing the main entrances to the sanctuary. board and batten dormers with round windows and an octagonal broach spire; decorative brickwork including blind corbelled arcades, blind raked arcades, soldier courses set with diagonally placed bricks, brick buttresses with stone caps, shoulders and bases, and brick chimneys with recessed panels and corbelled bands and caps.
45. First United Methodist Church, W. Main Street: ca. 1897, one and one-half stories, Romanesque Revival, red brick, complex roofline with cross-gables, four story tower on the east with stained glass windows and a tall pyramidal roof surrounded with pinnacles, large tripartite stained glass windows under a brick
47. Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 225 W. Main Street: one story red brick church with portico supported by four massively constructed primitive Doric columns, massive arched windows flanking the central entrance, frame belfry, twelve over twelve paned windows. The oldest church building in the city of Laurens, the building was erected in 1846 and is one of the oldest of its faith in the county.
78. Brown Franklin Building, 125 Franklin Street: a three story brick commercial building. built ca. 1890, with decorative brickwork throughout. The first story facade is stuccoed, with three entrance doors alternating with four windows. The building is interlaced with earthquake rods with star-shaped turnbuckles. The second and third floor windows have joined arches with plastered keystones. A cast iron balcony and awning on the second floor are later additions. Brown Franklin was a locally prominent black restaurateur.
86. Laurens County Courthouse, Public Square: ca. 1837-38, additions in 1911 and 1940, masonry construction stuccoed and scored to resemble stone, raised basement, octagonal
101. Mary Whitner House, 225 Caroline Street: ca. 1896, one and one-half story frame, weatherboarded residence with Victorian additions, medium gabled roof has two projecting dormers with imbricated shingles and bargeboard trim, tower on one side of building; constructed by Columbus White, a black contractor who built Bethel A.M.E. and St. Paul Churches.
104. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 234 Caroline Street: ca. 1910, Romanesque Revival, one story red brick church; features a tower on each end of the facade with brick buttresses with stone caps and shoulders, pyramidal roofs, and multi-paned windows beneath flat and segmental brick arches; the tower at the north end of the facade has stained glass windows. The center of the facade features a gable roof with raked corbelling and a semi-circular quadrapartite stained glass window in the gable, and a shed roofed porch supported by brick pillars and with a simple brick balustrade. The church was constructed by Columbus White, a black contractor. Bethel, organized in 1868, is one of the earlier black churches in Laurens. Two A.M.E. bishops have come from Bethel.
112. Saint Paul First Baptist Church, Corner of Caroline and Hampton
Containing some 90 properties, the Laurens Historic District includes the public square with the courthouse and surrounding commercial buildings, and extends to the north and west to include significant residential sections of the town of Laurens. The district is an unusually intact collection of buildings of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century vernacular architectural design. Historically, the growth and development of Laurens in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries reflect the impact of the expansion of the railroad into the upcountry agricultural areas of South Carolina. Most of the governmental commercial, residential, and religious buildings in the Laurens Historic District were built between 1880 and 1925 and are a visual record of the economic prosperity and growth which followed the construction of several railroads through Laurens in the 1870's and 1880·s.
Laurens County, named in honor of South Carolina Revolutionary patriot Henry
With the construction of several railroad lines through the town in the late nineteenth century, however, Laurens, like numerous other South Carolina upcountry towns, experienced a period of rapid economic growth and. development. An improved transportation system made these towns more useful and popular markets for area farmers. A railroad from Laurens to Newberry, which had been constructed in the 1850's but had gone bankrupt, was rebuilt in the 1870's, and two other railroads through Laurens had been completed by 1886. An 1888 business directory of Laurens reported that as a result of the construction of the 1874 railroad, "the town was enthused with new life and as a consequence the log-cabins
In the late nineteenth century,Laurens County was primarily an agricultural county with cotton as the major crop, and the prosperity of the town of Laurens, which was a trading center for the surrounding area, was closely tied to cotton. The acreage in the county planted in cotton increased and cotton was marketed and shipped by rail from Laurens during this period. An 1889 map of Laurens by the Sanborn Map and Publishing Company depicts several cotton platforms and warehouses along the railroads, a cotton gin, and a cottonseed oil company. The number and size of these types of businesses increased as the nineteenth century came to an end. Also, by 1906 Laurens had two cotton mills, the Laurens Cotton Mills, with 1290 looms, and the Watts Mills, with 712 looms. Numerous substantial residences, commercial buildings, and churches were constructed in Laurens during the 1880's, 1890's, and the early years of the twentieth century. By 1910 the rapid growth in population had begun to subside. Between 1900 and 1910 the population of Laurens only grew from 4029 to 4818.
The Laurens Historic District reflects the several stages of architectural growth and development in Laurens. The oldest buildings in the district represent the antebellum agrarian community; the James Dunklin House is typical of the Piedmont farmhouse type. The Greek Revival style is represented in Laurens by the Simpson House, and by the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, which exemplify the interpretation of high style architecture by vernacular builders.
The majority of the buildings in the Laurens Historic District date from the affluence of the post-railroad era. The Augustus Huff House and the Todd House belong to the Carpenter-Gothic style. The Queen Anne style is represented by the Davis House. Victorian polychrome Gothic Revival is evident in the Laurens First Presbyterian Church, which makes use of contrasting materials, multiple textures, tall proportions, and Gothic traceried windows for its effect.
The work of Columbus White, a black Laurens contractor, also dates from the late nineteenth century. The Bethel A.M.E. Church and the St. Paul First Baptist Church are both brick interpretations of the
The central business district of Laurens developed around the county courthouse in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Brown Franklin Building, one of the oldest and finest of Laurens' commercial buildings, has decorative brickwork with contrasting cement trim. The old Palmetto Bank Building shows the influence of the Italian Renaissance Palazzo in American commercial buildings -- an influence especially prominent in bank buildings. The rusticated masonry of the ground floor, the severe brick facade of the two upper floors, and the massive overhanging cornice identify the style.
Many buildings in the public square area have plate-glass display windows on the first floor and decorative brickwork with corbelled cornices on the second floor. Other prominent buildings in the Courthouse Square area include the Georgian Revival city hall and the Parker Furniture Building, a brick building with an arcaded frieze and hip roof.
Most of the buildings in the Laurens Historic District are still used for their original purposes and have been kept in good repair. The district has admitted growth but retains integrity as a district. (Source: National Register nomination form.)
2. Laurens Historic District Extension
Although originally lined by antebellum residences (only two of which remain intact) on multi-acre lots, West Main Street experienced two periods of major development, as these tracts were subdivided and the houses replaced or modernized. The first period was from ca. 1885 to ca. 1915 and the second occurred between World Wars. These buildings display a wide range of architectural styles. The area is also characterized by its large trees, well-kept yards, and granite retaining walls.
7) Martin-Dial House, 806 West Main Street (pre-l883): Two-story, weatherboarded residence with a hip roof. The house was renovated ca. 1903 in the Georgian revival style. Notable features include the monumental, Pedimented. portico with balcony; Palladian window in the tympanum; denticulated cornice; single story, side porches with Doric columns; and turned balustrades.
9) Wright-Easterby House, 780 West Main Street (ca. 1925): Two-story, stuccoed masonry residence constructed in Spanish colonial revival style. The building, designed by Greenwood, South Carolina, architect James C. Hemphill, is the sale example of this style in Laurens and is notable for its red tile roof, wide eaves with modillions, flat-roof porch with stuccoed pillars,
10) Balle House, 774 West Main Street (1911): One-and-one-half-story, frame residence built in the Craftsman style. The building has a gable roof and is sheathed in wood shingles. Notable features include an elaborate, gabled dormer with flower box and tripartite window; shed-roof porch with paneled, brick pillars and simple balustrade; and exposed rafters.
19) John Calvin Owings House, 787 West Main Street (ca. 1896): Two half-story, frame residence milt in the Queen Anne style. The muse has a slate roof with cresting and is sheathed in weatherboarding, board-and-batten, and wood shingles. The wraparound porch and large balcony display elaborate, Victorian-era, ornamental features. The house, designed by George F. Barber, has a round, three-story, conical-roof tower and an octagonal, tent-roof oriel at the corners of the facade.
26) Gelder-Roper House, 831 West Main Street (ca. 1917): One story, gambrel-roof residence with wrap around porch and porte-cochere supported by brick pillars. The house is sheathed in brick veneer on the first story and in wood shingles on the upper story. A long, shed-roof dormer with paired and tripartite windows dominates the facade. Most windows have twelve-aver-one lights.
The Laurens Historic District Extension expands the ability of the Laurens Historic District
On an 1845 plat of the town of Laurens, the first two blocks of West Main Street are identified as Republican Street. At its intersection with what is now Church Street, the road became the "Old Greenville Road," a name which appears on many nineteenth century deeds. By 1883 the entire street had become known as Main. A map of the town in that year shows a concentrated residential area of about fifteen houses in the first two blocks, and about sixteen buildings in the area being nominated. One building shown on the 1883 map remains in the nominated area--the Martin-Dial House. As Laurens grew during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the large tracts of land on which the old residences were located were subdivided into smaller, city-size lots. The old houses were renovated or were destroyed, either by fire or demolition. This gradual development left West Main Street with an array of residences, spanning a period of more than a century. Among the architectural styles represented in the Laurens Historic District Extension are the Queen Anne (John Calvin Owings House, Georgian revival
Throughout its existence, West Main Street has been a prominent address in Laurens, and many of the city's most influential families have resided there. The area included in the Laurens Historic District Extension contains the homes of Albert Dial and Ernest D. Easterby, prominent local industrialists. These two men were partners in Laurens Glass Works, a major industry and employer in Laurens. Dial served as president from 1913 to 1928, and Easterby from 1928 to 1968.
The district contains several residences constructed during the period 1936-39. These properties qualify as exclusions to the fifty-year criterion because they are integral parts of the natural development of the neighborhood, which came to a halt with the advent of World War II. (Source: National Register nomination form.)
— Submitted October 10, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
3. Laurens County Courthouse
Designed by architect Thomas C. Veal and built by Dr. John Wells Simpson, residents of Laurens, the central portion of the Laurens County Courthouse was constructed in 1837-38. Primary construction materials were granite ashlar and brick. The original projecting porticoes in the front (NW) and rear (SE) have four Corinthian columns and two simple pilasters supporting entablatures consisting of boxed cornices, modillions, dentils, and simple medallions upon the frieze. In 19ll carved granite balustrades replaced the wrought iron grill enclosing the flat roofs of the porticoes. Originally the porticoes were mounted upon an arcaded basement which has since been hidden by the addition of Palladian stairways in 1911.
The initial construction involved a simple cruciform plan with a low gabled roof. In the center of each gable is a circular louvre. The roof line is emphasized by boxed cornices with heavy dentil work. The motif of returning cornices in the gables is accented on the front (NW) and rear (SE) facades by eight triangular pediments supported by consoles over pairs of sash windows with mullions. The original second story pairs of windows with mullions, which were triple hung sash (4/4/4) windows, were replaced in 1911 by shorter single light over single light sash windows with transom bar
The original plan called for wings to the northeast and southwest which were added in 1858. The parapets of the wings incorporate&the portico entablature design of dentils over simple medallion The original wings form the central portion of the present wings. The original northeastern and southwestern facades, covered by additions in 1911 each contained one pair of mullion windows with triple sash (4/4/4).
Accenting the horizontal roof line were granite shelves supported by consoles over each window. The northwestern and southeastern facades of the 1858 wings are still visible. Four Tuscan pilasters support the entablature and separate three mullion windows, which were initially like other second story windows. Originally a long shelf extended over all three pairs of windows, again accenting the horizontal roof line of the wings. String course separating the first and second stories was continued in the 1858 additions and contained pairs of triglyphs with guttae at regular intervals and pedimented shelves supported by consoles over two first floor entrances. Transoms with vertical and diagonal mullions repeated over these doorways.
In 1911 further
Laurens County is one of several counties carved out of the Old-Ninety-Six District of South Carolina by an act of The General Assembly in 1785. The Courthouse stands on a portion of the four acre tract which was deeded to the county in 1792 and was the site of two earlier courthouses between 1792 and 1838. The present courthouse has served as the political hub of Laurens County for the past 144 years. The Courthouse contains the office of the first woman (Miss Jeannie V. Culbertson) to be publicly elected to a governmental position in the state of South Carolina.
The Laurens County Courthouse represents an excellent example of Greek revival architecture in rural South Carolina/ The massiveness and the decorative elements attest to the affluence of pre-Civil War South Carolina. The Courthouse is the focal point of a town that is historically important but where visual history has been neglected until recently. The Courthouse is an important part of Laurens
— Submitted October 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
Categories. • Notable Buildings • Political Subdivisions •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 10, 2008, by Ronald Miller of Gray Court, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 6,095 times since then and 16 times this year. Last updated on August 11, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. Photos: 1. submitted on August 10, 2008, by Ronald Miller of Gray Court, South Carolina. 2. submitted on August 12, 2008, by Ronald Miller of Gray Court, South Carolina. 3, 4. submitted on October 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 5. submitted on August 10, 2008, by Ronald Miller of Gray Court, South Carolina. 6. submitted on October 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 7. submitted on November 29, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 8, 9. submitted on August 10, 2008, by Ronald Miller of Gray Court, South Carolina. 10, 11, 12. submitted on September 30, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 13. submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 14, 15, 16. submitted on October 17, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 17, 18. submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 19. submitted on October 17, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 20. submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 21. submitted on October 17, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 22. submitted on October 4, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 23. submitted on October 5, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 24, 25. submitted on October 17, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 26, 27. submitted on October 9, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.