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.
We Arrived on April 30, 1980
On a cool spring day in 1980, April 30 to be exact, a young family arrived in the mountains of North Carolina. After a long drive from Florida in a UHaul and a pickup truck, they were about to begin their lives' work in an old general store. In this short video blog, you'll hear what their first impressions were ... in Faye's own words.Read More
Boredom Buster #3
Who's ready for another diversion or two? By now, our new routines are, well, routine. Get up, make coffee, fix breakfast, send the students to school in one corner of the living room and set up the office on the kitchen table. We don't know about you, but it sure is hard to get the 250 steps per hour now because the coffee pot is a lot closer (and so is the restroom). This week's Boredom Busters will revisit a skill that many of us have let slip in the days of GPS (but it's still important), offer up a few podcasts for your enjoyment, and send a jigsaw puzzle or two your way.Read More
Grab a Bite at the Store
Back 40 years ago, you couldn't grab a bite to eat in the Valle. It meant a drive to Boone or to Banner Elk or to Mountain City over in Tennessee. That is until John and Faye Cooper decided to open the Mast Store Deli. Sandwiches and soups were served in the back of the store. Here's a little of that story, including a bit of it in Faye's own words.Read More
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.