The City of Greenville’s most celebrated mayor was Max Heller, a Holocaust survivor. He served the city from 1971 to 1979 and was actually quite integral in the movement to revitalize Greenville into the beautiful city it is today. Heller is responsible for changing fabulous Main Street from a four lane road to the present day lovely two lane, tree lined street. Max was very community oriented and quite philanthropic. His efforts set the tone for Greenvillians today. Greenville is a very involved community of volunteers and there is an immense pride for the city. There is a statue of Max on Main Street across from Noma (North Main) Square to commemorate his dedication to the City of Greenville. His wife, Trude, still lives in the city he loved so much.
Greenville was once known as “The Textile Capital of the World.” At one time, there were 18 operating textile mills, all within 3 miles of downtown. Mill Villages were built around the mills for the workers to live and have easy access to their work. The Reedy River, which is now a main attraction to our downtown, was used by the mills. There are still remnants of many of the mills as well as the small village homes. Several of the mills have been converted to condos or shared workspaces. Mill’s Mill (on Mill Street) is one that has been beautifully transformed. Ironically, Max Heller met Mary Mills in Vienna in the 1930s. When Max first came to Greenville, he started a shirt company that he later sold. The upstate is now home to over 240 international businesses because as the textile industry began to leave the area, Max looked to bring other businesses in. The area has a very diverse population as many engineers from other countries call it their home.
The City of Greenville population is roughly 67,000 and counting. The County of Greenville population is just under 500,000 and counting. Greenville County is about 795 square miles and includes the towns of Greer, Travelers Rest, Simpsonville, Mauldin, Fountain Inn and Taylors as well as the city itself. We do not use the term “suburbs” here but the towns surrounding the City of Greenville are growing at a rapid pace as the City itself does. New construction can be seen in every area of the county. Those who live in the actual City of Greenville are said to live “downtown.” There are highly coveted neighborhoods that are near downtown and because of their ease to getting to all that downtown has to offer, homes are a tad more expensive. There is a free trolley that runs down Main Street as well as into some of the nearby neighborhoods. We have North Main, the Augusta Road Area, and Cleveland Park within walking distance. The West End, near Greenville’s ball park, home of the Greenville Drive, is undergoing a transformation. The Village of West Greenville has become an artist’s community and is also seeing some changes and new uses for historic buildings, such as the Flatiron. The East side is desirable for its schools and its accessibility to I85.
Travelers Rest has a population of roughly 5,000. It is the first town just north of Greenville, headed towards the mountains and Asheville, NC along Poinsett Highway. Businesses along Its Main Street have grown exponentially and George Hincapie, an Olympic cyclist, has made it home to his Hotel Domestique, which attracts serious cyclists from around the world, because of the Swamp Rabbit Biking and Hiking Trail. Once a railway corridor, the trail is 22 miles and traverses along the Reedy River. There are currently plans to extend the trail both further north and further south.
Taylors is north east of the City of Greenville. The population is roughly 21,000 and growing due to its convenience to downtown via Wade Hampton Blvd.
Greer is further north east of the City of Greenville. Its population is growing towards 30,000, almost doubling since the year 2000. It is home to the Greenville-Spartanburg airport as well as the South Carolina Inland Port. Several large companies, such as Michelin and BMW.
Simpsonville and Fountain Inn are south of Greenville. Fountain Inn is partially in Laurens County. The population of Simpsonville is roughly 22,000. It is a very popular area due its relative affordability and family friendly reputation. They are close to the Woodruff Road shopping area which has much of the popular shopping sites such as Target and Trader Joes.
Mauldin is very convenient to downtown Greenville with a population of roughly 26,000. It is also very convenient to our beloved Greenfield Bagels.
There is not one specific area in Greenville County where the Jewish population has settled. It is estimated that there are roughly 700 Jewish families in the area. There is the Conservative Congregation Beth Israel in Greenville’s North Main neighborhood downtown. The Reform Temple Israel is on the East side of Greenville. We also have Chabad in the south Greenville/Simpsonville area.
There are so many things to see and do in Greenville. The Liberty Bridge over the Reedy River at Falls Park, the Swamp Rabbit Trail, the Peace Center, the Greenville Drive Ball Park, to name a few.
Please reach out to Erin Halperin, Realtor with Coldwell Banker Caine, if you would like more information about homes in the Greenville area or would like a tour.
Resources for more historical information about Jewish Greenville:
Info about Greenville and Things to Do: