Located in the picturesque foothills of the Upstate region of South Carolina, Greer enjoys a distinguished past, from its days as a hallowed hunting ground for local Cherokees, to its settlement by hardy and adventurous pioneering families in the 1700’s, to the advent of the railroad in the 1800’s. Today, Greer possesses a rare combination of small-town charm with big-city opportunities, attracting a wide variety of businesses and people from across the country and the world.
The area now known as Greer was once part of the “Domain of the Cherokees” prior to the Revolutionary War. In 1777, the area was added to the State of South Carolina. Development toward the birth of the town occurred in 1873 when the Richmond and Danville Air Line Railway (now the Norfolk Southern Railway) established a line between Atlanta and Charlotte. A station was built on land that belonged to James Manning Greer, and was named Greer’s Station. The first post office was located in the new depot, Greer’s Depot. When the town was incorporated in 1876, it was named Town of Greer’s. One hundred years later, the name was officially changed to the City of Greer without an “s” on the end.
Merchants, blacksmiths and physicians set up shop in what is now the downtown area of Greer. In 1900, Greer’s first bank, The Bank of Greer’s, opened. Piedmont and Northern laid a second railroad line through Greer in 1914. With two active train lines, Greer became an attractive site for commerce. The railway meant big business for local farmers, enabling them to ship their crops, mainly cotton and peaches, out of state. Greer also became a textile-manufacturing center, with flourishing mills that included Victor, Franklin, Apalache and Greer Mills. The communities that grew up around the mills were as close-knit as the outlaying farming communities.
After WWII, the city began to grow and diversify its industrial base. A new hospital and high school were built. People came to downtown Greer from Spartanburg and Greenville to shop. In the early 1960’s, Interstate 85 was opened as well as the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. The fellowship that had begun in the mill villages held Greer in good stead when foreign imported derailed the textile industry in the 1970’s and threatened to turn Greer into a ghost town. Undaunted, the citizens of Greer rallied and worked together to recruit new industry.
Greer has experienced some incredible changes in recent history, from the decline of the textile industry to the opening of the BMW Manufacturing Plant (1994). While the industrial landscape of Greer is changing, it still retains its historic small town charm and continues to be a highly livable and prosperous community.