Considered by many to be a suburb of the much larger city of Greenville, the town of Simpsonville has a long and distinct history that dates back to the mid-18th century when the vast area of Greenville County that had been controlled by Native Americans was declared British soil.What began in 1820 as a simple crossroads through what was then known only as the "back country," has grown into one of the fastest growing and livable small towns in the United States.
Near the present site of Simpsonville, the first recorded settlement was by Cherokee Indians who called the area Dry Ridge. Archaeological evidence suggests they lived there on and off for a few centuries before siding with British troops and loyalists during the War of American Independence.These combined forces were defeated by revolutionary troops in 1775 and were chased north by George Washingtons army.The village was abandoned shortly thereafter as they fled into North Carolina and Tennessee, though many artifacts and burial sites remain to this day.
Like many other North American towns, you might think the town of Simpsonville, SC, was named for the founder.That is true in a sense, though the first inhabitant was actually named Thomas Goldsmith.He ran the stagecoach stop, founded in 1820, that would become the site of the first general store and mercantile nearly 20 years later.
The Simpson for whom the town would eventually be named was Peter Simpson -- a blacksmith and farmer who moved to the area in 1838. At that time, the fledgling hamlet was granted a post office under the name Oplain (later, just Plain) for the rolling hills of the Great Smokey Mountains about 50 miles to the north and west.Almost 50 years later, in 1885, the Charleston and Western Carolina (C&WC) Railroad laid tracks through town and built a station they named Simpsonville. That year, the post office was renamed to match and the name has remained since.
During the Civil War, the town was all but deserted while the action of war occurred elsewhere.Not until the 1870s did life begin returning to normal with the founding of the first Baptist church and an influx of recently manumitted slaves. Only 12 miles from the thriving city of Greenville, SC, the town rapidly became more centralized.The first secondary school was founded in the mid-1880s and a real Main Street around the original Old Stage Road intersection began taking shape.
While the pace of reconstruction was slow for Simpsonville as the rest of the former Confederacy, it had not suffered the kind of devastation as some other small towns.It grew slowly until 1885 when the city was actually planned out with surveyed streets and lots on either side of the new railroad line that went through the center of town.These original surveys and roadbeds remain today in the central part of town.While the rail line might have ended the use of stagecoaches in the area, the new method of conveyance ensured the city would continue to thrive.
Industry came to Simpsonville at the turn of the 20th century in the form of the Woodside Cotton Mill that would quickly become the biggest employer in the thriving town for decades to come.Thanks to a mild climate and semi-rural setting, the town continues to have a large industrial base with several thousand people employed in such tasks.The largest employers in Simpsonville today make plastic packaging and electronic components.Unemployment remains low compared with the rest of the state thanks to a healthy manufacturing economy.
In the 1950s, public utilities tied Simpsonville to Greenville and have allowed for a phase of rapid expansion.Even today, many of the newcomers are young families with children, giving the town of especially vital schools and community participation.The Simpsonville housing market leans heavily toward home ownership, with much of the available housing being small homes.While property values in Simpsonville run the gamut from under $100,000 to over half a million dollars, many homes on the market are appropriate for first time home buyers, with a median value of $104,000 in 2000.
Simpsonville is minutes away from downtown Greenville, SC via the Interstate-385 access that was added in the 1970s. Per capita income is rather high for the area, being the second highest in the entire state. For such a small town, there are a particularly large number of public parks and services to take advantage of. As property in Greenville County has become increasingly valuable in recent years, Simpsonville has become one of the fastest growing small towns in the United States, though there are still fewer than 20,000 full-time residents. Simpsonville real estate still retains a country feel with quick access to the bustle, events and festivals of downtown Greenville South Carolina. Simpsonville is a growing town which with festivals and events being added yearly is starting to take on a personality of it's own which compliments it's close neighbor Greenville, SC.
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