Stepping into the Wayback Machine and turning the dial to 300 years ago, you would see herds of buffalo, elk, and deer wandering without a care through dense forests and sipping cool water from pristine streams. In the days before the American Revolution, this was Cherokee Territory, and only the most intrepid made their way into the foothills.
First known as Pleasantburg, its name was changed to Greenville in 1831. With ample water resources and rail service, Greenville became the center of textiles in the state. Between 1880 and 1903, there were some 13 mills opened in the Greenville area utilizing water power from the Reedy and other rivers. Some mill owners provided housing and stores for their employees. Within these mill villages developed something else…baseball teams.
Recruited to play for the Brandon Mill team at 13, Joe Jackson probably made more playing baseball on Saturdays ($2.50) than he did all week pulling a 12-hour shift each day. Jackson went on to play in the bigs and currently has the third highest lifetime batting average (.356) in major league history.
Along about the same time that Joe was swinging Black Betsy, a store on Main Street, Meyers-Arnold was making a name for itself. From offering clothing for women and children, the store diversified to include all matters of goods from toasters to towels and shirts to shoes. Employees of Meyers-Arnold were asked to cater to their customers and to take care of their needs. Gosh, that sounds familiar…and that’s not the only thing you’ll find from a by-gone era at 111 North Main Street in Downtown Greenville.
Our Greenville location had humble beginnings as a shoe and dry good store. As the city grew, so did the need for diversity in what your favorite store carried. In the early 1900s, the building at 111 North Main Street became Meyers-Arnold Department Store. It was locally owned and very customer service oriented. On opening night for Mast Store, many members of the family attended the special event and shared some really poignant memories.
*Photo Courtesy of the Greenville Historical Society, The Coxe Collection.