The Cradle of Greenville
Source of Power, Growth, Inspiration, Love & Good Clean Fun
The Reedy River, named for the reeds which once grew close around its banks, flows from travelers Rest southward for almost sixty miles. In the middle of Greenville, it tumbles into steep, narrow falls, and then meanders toward Conestee before joining the Saluda River at Lake Greenwood. Greenville's Main Street is located at its shallow ford. Its shoals and falls have been a source of power and growth, fun, inspiration and love. Legend has it that a Cherokee brave threw himself over the falls because of unrequited love. The subject of at least five published poems and several noted paintings, the falls became the favorite trysting place for young lovers as well as a resort for visitors and families. Dams above and below the falls created pools where children swam in the summer and skated in the winter. Ministers performed baptisms in there and entrepreneurs established bath houses (with separate entrances for ladies and gents; towels and soap supplied for twenty-five cents) making use of the clear river water. Beginning in the late 1700's, water-powered industries clustered along the Reedy River: trading posts, grist and corn mills, a sawmill, an ironworks, the Gower, Cox and Markley Coach Factory, a paper-making factory and an armory. A century later, Greenvillians established textile and apparel mills along its banks. Regrettably, the Reedy began to suffer from the spoils of progress. But in the late 1960's, following years of neglect, Greenville began to turn its attention back toward its historic birthplace. Twenty-six acres around the Reedy River Falls were reclaimed and plans were put in place for an historic park. Seeds for Falls Park on the Reedy were planed long, long ago. Now it is in full bloom. One again the falls have become the cradle of Greenville.