SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – In the southeastern part of Greenville County, history lies in the city of Simpsonville.
Established in 1885, Simpsonville is one of three cities along I-385 that is a part of the “Golden Strip” leading to Greenville.
“There were literally four red lights in town. Three on Main Street and one right up there, that’s still there,” Caroline Richardson Mahaffey, an Upstate resident, said.
Caroline Mahaffney is the great-granddaughter of longtime Simpsonville Mayor, L.L. Richardson. She said she lived in the area for most of her life.
“A lot is different than it is now. This shelter was here and there was a swing set and a sliding board where that playground is now. This whole part of the park was somebody’s farm,” Mahaffney said.
From farms to mills, Simpsonville had it all, including a spot to fill up your tank and tune up your car before heading home.
“I can remember when the only mill was the cotton mill. And everybody would come by every Friday and got their gas here,” Simpsonville native, Willis Smith, said.
Smith now kicks back at his son’s shop on Main Street. He shared stories with 7NEWS of the days he used to own his shop nearby.
“I ran a service station straight across the two-lane streets,” Smith said. “That building was a Shell station, and I ran that. I worked there in the late 40s and real early 50s then I came back and bought it in the early 60s.”
When a hard week of work was complete, long-time Simpsonville residents said they gathered to cheer on South Carolina’s Mill teams, a part of the Textile Baseball League.
“They came to town and were just regular old people when they came back,” Mahaffney said.
As the city changes with times, residents said one thing remains the same.
“I think in general we are just a friendly, nice place to be,” Mahaffney said. “We are a city that has always maintained their focus on character while we were growing.”
When asked if he liked living in Simpsonville, Smith responded, “I love it, I love it!”
Learn more about our special guest:
- Ice Cream Station
- First Responder Friday: Simpsonville FD, PD
- Make and Believe Artist
- Mill Town Players
- Oh My Dog! Photography
- Ray’s Upstate Karate
- Simpsonville Area Chamber of Commerce
- Simpsonville Arts Center
- Simpsonville Police Department
- Sully’s Steamers
- City of Simpsonville