The Berea, South Carolina Historic Society

The Berea, South Carolina Historic Society The purpose of this page is to review past history of the Berea Community Culture,. Berea, SC just outside of Greenville,SC.

Spotlight On Berea's PastStudents At Evelyn’s Drug Store and Soda shop

Spotlight On Berea's Past

Students At Evelyn’s Drug Store and Soda shop

All Time Coaching Records Berea High School(1962 to 2019 season)1962 -1970 Liston, John 9 seasons 36 -521971 -1973 Jenni...

All Time Coaching Records Berea High School
(1962 to 2019 season)

1962 -1970 Liston, John 9 seasons 36 -52

1971 -1973 Jennings, Buddy 3 seasons 15 -12

1974 -1980 Batson, Harold 7 seasons 45 -27

1981 -1984 Good, Tom 4 seasons 19 -22

1985 Neal, Jimmy 1 season 4 -6

1986 -2017 Green, Wayne 18 seasons 101 -95

2000 -2002 Buffamoyer, Mark 3 seasons 12 -21

2003 -2007 Batson, Dean 5 seasons 16 -35

2008 -2011 Davis, Bryan 4 seasons 19 -24

2012 Kyle Bishop. 1 season 1 -9

2013 Cole, Robbie 1 season 1 -9

2014 -2017 Wayne Green 4 seasons 11-34

2018 -2019 Prince, Julius 1 season 2 -11

Armstrong school photo 1915-1916 provided by Jo Ann Whitaker

Armstrong school photo 1915-1916 provided by Jo Ann Whitaker

Photo of Armstrong school provided by Janette Harden who hand wrote the names. The date is sometime after 1923 while the...

Photo of Armstrong school provided by Janette Harden who hand wrote the names. The date is sometime after 1923 while the actual date is unknown.

Janette Harden's great grand-father J.B. Hester's obituary Mr. Hester was born April 10 1863 son of William and Louise (...

Janette Harden's great grand-father J.B. Hester's obituary
Mr. Hester was born April 10 1863 son of William and Louise (Whitmire) Hester.

Janette Harden allowed us to post this photo of her mom Rose Aiken standing near her parents store ( Sam Aiken and Minni...

Janette Harden allowed us to post this photo of her mom Rose Aiken standing near her parents store ( Sam Aiken and Minnie Mae Hester Aiken ) Aiken Grocery was located at the corner of Old White Horse Road and Old Hunts Bridge Road.

I have websites where I've displayed thousands of historic images, some in the public domain, some not, photos from the ...

I have websites where I've displayed thousands of historic images, some in the public domain, some not, photos from the early 1800s to just a few years ago. Most of these images came from places like government works e.g. government hired photographers, military photographers, national archives colleges and universities to digital library archives, etc.

The photos that haven't been posted in the public domain are those that have no real historic story behind them or cannot be verified. It's great to see old historic photos but it's even better if they have a story behind them like a building on Main Street that says from the 1920's is good but when there are people and business stories attached it makes them greater because it gives the beholder a vested interest.

The same is true when it comes to historic Berea photos by having family stories or other documents allows Berea to build an historic family tree. The next time you decide to post a photo add the story behind them the best you can.

A people without the knowledge of their past history origin and culture is like a tree without roots.

The best moments in reading history are when you come across something a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else in photos and writings, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.

Photo of Armstrong school provided by Janette Harden who also hand wrote the names. circa 1923.

Photo of Armstrong school provided by Janette Harden who also hand wrote the names. circa 1923.


Most of you are graduates of Berea Elementary and Berea High schools, many of you along with your mother and father, and even your grandparents.

Many of you are members of families like the Farr's for whom Farrs Bridge road is named or maybe one of these longtime resident families like Mullinax, Willimon, Huff, Burdine, Bynum, Berryhill, Hawkins, Bayne, Blakely, Hunt, Stowe, Riggins, Lollis, Vaughn, Looper, Galloway, Osteen, just to name a few among many more illustrious families that are synonymous with the building of the Berea community..

Many of your families have called Berea home since its founding. We all have many fond memories of the old halls, the creaking floors of the school house and your alma mater. Some of your families built the elementary school that stood on that corner. Many of you still remember with fondness of setting the flag a flight on the flag pole in the mornings as a school crossing guard, and gently taking it down in the evening. The school’s history is deeply embedded in your families history, and I’m sure it is for many of you in the community, too. But, I do not write to you because of your family history in the community, but rather the future of the Berea community.

From a community planning perspective, Berea suffers from the blight of temporary commercial development. For too long, civic leaders, developers and planners involved in Berea’s making have lacked imagination, strategic thinking, and solutions for long-term sustainability and growth. Development has been driven by a race to the bottom approach, which has now left the community in peril, and with little hope.

Today in Berea there is a vacant big box in about every strip mall, empty shelfs of two former grocery stores and a defunct K-mart. Just up the street is the empty former-Blockbuster video store now a senior community center that will never produce enough revenue to sustain a community in desperate need for revenue.. With so many boarded-up businesses and commercial vacancies, Berea seems faded, worn and abandoned; it has the feeling of a ghost town.

County plans for Berea have provided only short term solution for long term problems where the question is how to best sustain the health and well being of your community for families, and businesses that call it home.

Unlike the communities of Traveler’s Rest, Easley, or Pickens. Berea unfortunately, was never developed around a “main street.” It lacks a civic core which might encourage community redevelopment, and bring people together for shopping, dining, or recreation–the kind of infrastructure that has made urban renewal in upstate towns of a similar size so appealing.

One could easily argue that the old Berea Elementary site, alongside Berea Shopping Center must be the oldest commercial development in the area and is the closest the community has to creating a civic core. The Berea Shopping Center has managed over the years to preserve itself. Wilson’s Five and Dime remained opened for well over 30 years.

During its life as a school, the playground and basketball court at Berea Elementary served as a much needed park for local youth and a place where many of you gathered in the evenings and on weekends to play football in the field, and run wild on the slides and swings. In fact, there is no other Greenville County Park nearby, only Westside Park to the south and Poinsett Park to the north, both of which are approximately six miles or more away.

While it may have prove to be too costly to maintain the old school buildings as they existed had several significant attributes and elements that could have been salvaged, retrofitted, and reconsidered that would have add value to the community.

It was my and may of your sincere hopes that we could have found a way to preserve the integrity and purpose of the old Berea Elementary site so that it could have continued to advance the community in the same spirit and function that it did for the many who passed through its halls. Its history was apparent, and though it may have been somewhat tarnished from the many years of neglect, the old Berea Elementary site was a symbol of what makes a community great: the investment in our young people, the investment in our future, and the pride of place that transforms a set of random houses on a street into a neighborhood, and a civic family. Help The Berea, South Carolina Historic Society restore hope to your community.

There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals. When individuals and communities do not govern self, they risk being ruled by external forces that care less about the well-being of the community. Let's build a community that allows hard questions and honest conversations so we can stir up transformation in one another.

A community needs a soul if it is to become a true home for human beings. You, the people must give it the soul it needs. Real heroes don't leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they don't wear capes. They bled, and they get bruised, and their superpowers can be as simple as listening, doing, or loving. Real heroes are ordinary people who know that even if their own lives are impossibly knotted, they can untangle someone else's. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back and if enough of us act who knows Berea could be a great place to live again.

Old Berea School - Berea, SC Remembered  Legacy demolished the old buildings in November of 2017 to construct a new scho...
Old Berea School - Berea, South Carolina

Old Berea School - Berea, SC Remembered

Legacy demolished the old buildings in November of 2017 to construct a new school with a façade substantially the same as the old elementary school, which Legacy founder and Board Chairman William Brown had said is not economically feasible to keep. To date no new construction has begun on the site as promised.

A group of Berea residents fought since 2015 to save the old school after a Florida developer proposed rezoning the property and building a commercial development. The Works Progress Administration completed the school in 1939. It served as a campus for Greenville Technical College before its current Northwest campus was built on White Horse Road.

The community of Berea, which sits at the base of Parris Mountain, opened its first school in 1885 on White Horse Road. The two-room building served students in


Have You Ever Asked Yourself What does a Historical Society do?

Originally, these societies were created as a way to help future generations understand their heritage. A nonprofit historical society should be an organization that collects researches interprets and preserves information or items of historical interest. Generally a historical society focuses on a specific geographical area such as a county or town or subject. They preserve historic architecture and maintain period structures. Many historical societies publish journals or maintain museums to showcase their community, town or state.

Our historic places create connections to our heritage that help us understand our past, appreciate our triumphs, and learn from our mistakes. Historic places help define and distinguish our communities by building a strong sense of identity. In simple terms, historic preservation means safeguarding the existence and appearance of historic elements of the community. Although historic preservation most commonly refers to the preservation of physical places, it can also apply to aspects of cultural heritage.

Basic Job Description:
Research, analyze, record, and interpret the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, interviews, films, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters and in post historic markers where something of historic significance once stood.

Job Duties and Tasks for: The Historic Society
1) Organize data, and analyze and interpret its authenticity and relative significance.

2) Gather historical data from sources such as archives, court records, diaries, news files, and photographs, as well as collect data sources such as books, pamphlets, and periodicals.

3) Trace historical development in a particular field, such as social, cultural, political, or diplomatic history.

4) Conduct historical research as a basis for the identification, conservation, and reconstruction of historic places and materials.

5) Teach and conduct research in colleges, universities, museums, and other research agencies and schools.

6) Conduct historical research, and publish or present findings and theories.

7) Speak to various groups, organizations, and clubs in order to promote the aims and activities of historical societies.

8) Prepare publications and exhibits, or review those prepared by others in order to ensure their historical accuracy.

9) Research the history of a particular country or region, or of a specific time period.

10) Present historical accounts in terms of individuals or social, ethnic, political, economic, or geographic groupings.

11) Determine which topics to research, or pursue research topics specified by clients or employers.

12) Organize information for publication and for other means of dissemination, such as use in CD-ROMs or Internet sites.

13) Research and prepare manuscripts in support of public programming and the development of exhibits at historic sites, museums, libraries, and archives.

14) Advise or consult with individuals and institutions regarding issues such as the historical authenticity of materials or the customs of a specific historical period.

15) Translate or request translation of reference materials.

16) Collect detailed information on individuals for use in biographies.

17) Interview people in order to gather information about historical events, and to record oral histories.

18) Recommend actions related to historical art, such as which items to add to a collection or which items to display in an exhibit.

19) Coordinate activities of workers engaged in cataloging and filing materials.

20) Edit historical society publications.

A community that respects its history respects itself. The preservation of that history can help a community realize its strengths and use them to improve the lives of all its residents.

Are you remotely concerned about your communities history? If so The Berea, South Carolina Historic Society needs your help through donations and volunteer work contact them today. Your Community Needs You.


Berea Gets something positive in a new Community Center the first positive thing that's happened to Berea in years other than county rezoning, land grabs so that others outside the community can profit at the expense of the residents, this also includes free clinics, and Section 8 HUD low income housing that turns to slums over the years due to landlords who refuse to maintain the property.

The good old days were mostly good, believe me. The good new days are today, and better days are coming tomorrow. Berea's greatest songs are still unsung.

As you wait for better days, don't forget to enjoy today, in case they've already started in the form of a new community center.

If you were a quitter you would have given up on life a long time ago. The fact that you're still here proves that you're a fighter with hopes of better days.

Have faith in tomorrow, for it can bring better days. Never wish for yesterday, for it has gone its separate ways. Believe in today, for it’s what you’re living now. The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.

"It's the spirit that makes the community better - the spirit that gives us a place like this," said Willis Meadows, Gre...

"It's the spirit that makes the community better - the spirit that gives us a place like this," said Willis Meadows, Greenville County Councilmember, District 19.

Greenville County Rec and nonprofit SeniorAction! got a $350,000 grant to transform this former Blockbuster store into the Berea Community Center.

It's a multipurpose space with room to gather for things like senior citizen fitness classes and a $6 lunch catered by Meals On Wheels.

Grand Opening Berea Senior Action Community CenterDate: July 31st, 2019Time: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PMAddress: 6 Hunts Bridge R...

Grand Opening Berea Senior Action Community Center
Date: July 31st, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Address: 6 Hunts Bridge Rd
*Refreshments Available


PO Box 14333
Greenville, SC


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Armstrong School - after June 1923 exact date unknown
I asked myself what good is a historic society when nothing historic is left to save. After giving it much thought I came to the conclusion that historic preservation isn’t always about saving buildings. Long ago, a Roman statesman named Cicero summed up what I’m essentially about to say. “History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illuminates reality; vitalizes memory; provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity.” For the reasons stated by Cicero, I believe that the efforts of a few people genuinely infatuated with history benefit everyone, and that is why I commend the Berea Historical Society, and their efforts to preserve and record Berea’s history. Let us take a moment to consider Berea's history. We know that long ago the land in which you now live was nothing more than rugged hills, plains and rivers that was Cherokee Indian territory at the time. The Cherokees were usually friendly, although at times they were hostile. These first settlers of the Piedmont region mostly Scotch-Irish and German descent and were, for the most part, poor and had limited opportunities. These settlers were fleeing from high taxes, high land costs and the bias of Pennsylvania, New York and New England, filed into the Piedmont region for cheaper farms. These early settlers brought with them tools for clearing land, livestock, seed and firearms. Knowledge of these types of events is what make historical societies important. It puts those of us in the present in touch with the people of the past who shaped our landscape, named our landmarks, and made the decisions that ultimately affect us today. Yes, there are problems with the recording of history. There’s a lot of grey areas, and sometimes artifacts and documents don’t always tell the whole historic story. But it is exciting, and it is literally all we have to tell us of the past without the knowledge that comes by word of mouth that is passed down from family to family including documents and old photos. Preserving history also makes it possible for the past to serve as a resource which we can reference when we make important decisions today. Sometimes people made bad decisions; and sometimes people made great decisions. If nothing else, knowing history gives us the context in which prior decisions have been made. Why did Berea’s founding fathers decided not to do one thing and yet do the other. If you would like to know about Berea’s history, or even find the answers any questions about your history, you owe it to yourself to check out Berea’s Historical Society. Ask the members of the Historical Society. You might find yourself enthralled by the history of your little town. Who knows? You might even find yourself as a member of the Historical Society.
Efird's Department Store Downtown Greenville at Christmas circa 1940's
Support The Berea, South Carolina Historic Society this holiday season and in the coming year.
At last nights Greenville county council meeting the second reading of the proposed purchase of the old Berea WPA school by Legacy Charter school was voted down for several reasons after your district 19 representative Willis Meadows made it very clear with an air of arrogance that the sell would happen because Legacy had already surveyed the property. It was a surprise to everyone when Willis Meadows recused himself from the vote because his son did audits on the property for Legacy. This is just another example of the lies and agendas we have experienced from Greenville county the past four years. Everyone in Berea should demand a better explanation from their district representative if not ask him to step down. Greenville county council is giving the Berea Historic Society and the community a chance to raise the money to preserve this school and property. Today, the Berea Historic Society will start the process of asking Joe Kernel for permission to send in an application to request National Historic Preservation status. I hope everyone in Berea, alumni and anyone who want to see this old school saved will reach out to everyone for help by donating to this non profit to pay for all these expenses. Everyone must take action now that will move you towards saving as much of the buildings as possible before they decay any more than what has happened at the hands of the Greenville county schools and county council in seeing this old school serve the community one more. Everyone should have a sense of urgency -- in getting a lot done in a short period of time in a calm, confident manner for the future of Berea's history.
After fighting to save our old WPA historic Berea school the past four years with victory followed by defeat several times over these years and promises followed by lies from our county government it has come down to our final defeat. Greenville County Council will soon approve the sale of the property at 104 Farrs Bridge Road to Legacy Charter school no matter how many of us disagree with the sale. Having said this there is a core group of people in the Berea community who have been outspoken and engaged in this process for years on this and other pages to include attending every community meeting held who want nothing more than make their community, the Berea community better than what it has become at the hands of our county government namely county planning and county council. We may not agree on every little issue but we all agree that Berea can and must be better than what is now. With all that has happened over the past month it was time to get the Berea Historic Society organized in saving what little history Berea will have after the old school is gone and to do that the small group that started the Berea Historic Society and those few residents who have been involved at every step needed to be educated or better informed on how a successful historic society works. I asked Gary Osteen who started the historic society for the Poe Mill community which has been a very big success to come and speak to this small group from the Berea community including Lions Club members and leaders in the Berea community, residents and a few guest so that we would be better organized before inviting the general public to an open meeting of the Berea Historic Society. If you were not invited to attend the meeting on Thursday, June 29th to be educated or better informed in no way were you excluded because of who you are or any other reason I just wanted a small group of about 20 of those who have been most concerned, outspoken and engaged about the state of Berea not to say you are no less concerned, outspoken or engaged. From this point going forward the Berea Historic Society will meet the last Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM. The next meeting will be Thursday, July 27th at 6:30 PM the location will be announced soon so please come Gary Osteen will return with a display of the Poe Mill history, We will also discuss how we will proceed going forward.
The first meeting will be Thursday, July 27th at 6:30 PM the location will be announced soon so please come Gary Osteen will be here with a display of the Poe Mill history, We will also discuss how we will proceed going forward
Has there been a meeting planned yet?