Alan and I had planned to take our boats out for a quick Saturday morning paddle. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating, so we had to fall back to Plan B. Alan is as much of a rambler and photographer as I am, so we decided to hit a couple of places locally that he knew about. The quick trek to us to some interesting remnants of Greenville.
We started the morning discussion talking about hidden and forgotten cemeteries in town. That might be worthy of a blog post/exploration all on its own. Alan mentioned on just off of Haywood Road. We were able to find it in Google Maps, right next to the distinctive lavender building that houses The Trophy Club strip joint. I’m sure the original owners of the cemetery would be appalled at the disruption to eternal rest. 🙂 We decided to check it out (the cemetery, not the strip club.)
Finding the cemetery was easy. It’s not on a major traffic route, but it is right there in the middle of everything. It’s hard to miss if you’re looking in the right place. Unfortunately, the grounds were surrounded by chain-link fencing topped with barbed wire with locked gates. Any observing we were going to do would have to be done from outside.
The headstones appeared to be fairly common. I didn’t spot any older signature stones from this vantage point.
It wasn’t until I got back and checked the Greenville County Property Map that I found that the cemetery belonged to Laurel Baptist Church, located nearby at the intersection of Laurens and Haywood Roads. Makes sense. I guess at one time the church own all of this property, but as businesses developed, it made economic sense to divest itself of some of the land.
The proximity of the cemetery to the strip club wasn’t the last time the church had a brush with vice. Laurel Baptist mounted strong protests when Hooters planned a restaurant across the street.
They could prevent the restaurant, but at least they got them to reduce the size of their sign.
Not far from Laurel Baptist is another remnant of religious property. Alan and I both jokingly refer to Eastlan Baptist Church as “Mount Olympus Baptist Church” because of its prominent location on a hill across from Greenville Tech.
However, the church had much humbler beginnings. Eastlan Avenue is a tiny street that loops around through a very modest neighborhood across from the Pleasantburg Shopping Center. At the corner of the northern intersection of Eastlan and Laurens Road is the former church building, although you wouldn’t recognize it as such. It now houses Brooks Office Supply.
As many times as I’ve driven past here, I never realized this was a church. The original building has been added onto, but one can make out the original church windows that have been bricked up.
We explored a bit of the Laurens Road area heading down to Cleveland Park. Alan pointed out another remnant of old Greenville. He had taken his students on one of the Poverty Tours sponsored by United Ministries. In the neighborhood surrounding the park one can find the “Great Wall of Greenville.” This wall once separated the lower income housing of Nicholtown from the upper income homes around the park. With gentrification of the area, the boundary is now a bit more nebulous, but parts of the wall remain.
We cruised around a bit more a took a few photos, but the rain really didn’t allow for good exploration. Still it was interested to stumble across these remnants of Greenville.