Poe West Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Poe West is officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places , having completed the4th and final stage historic certification process. The nomination was sponsored by the developer, The Furman Co., and nomination materials were prepared by Furman, Johnston Design Group – architect of record, and MacRostie Historic Advisors – historic consultant.

Poe West is an approximately five-acre property located at 556 Perry Avenue in the West Village of Greenville, one street over from historic Pendleton Street. The property has multiplestructures including historically significant 1946 warehouses and a circa-1961one-story office building.

Poe West was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a good and intact example of a Mid-century Modern style, specifically in the International style, and for its association with the Poe Hardware Company. The Poe Hardware office retains its floorplan and exteriorand interior character-defining features, including architectural precastconcrete panels, cast-in-place concrete beams, and wood paneled interiors. Allof the major structures have been preserved with a high level of integrity.

“It is great to see the Poe Supply buildingsbuzzing with new life. This is a great example of the value of the federal andstate historic tax credit programs, which bring energy back to underutilizedbuildings and retain the physical remnants of our community’s history. Thesebuildings were once a part of Greenville’s vibrant textile industry andprovided building materials, machinery and supplies to manufacturing businessesthroughout the upstate and the Southeast. And this major investment by TheFurman Co. will keep the Poe West complex a vibrant part of West Greenville,”said Richard Sidebottom, Director, Historic Tax Credits for MacRostie HistoricAdvisors.

When Poe Hardware moved to Perry Avenue inWest Greenville in 1946, it marked a shift in the future of this long-timecompany. Originally located in downtown Greenville, Poe Hardware grew out ofthe mercantile business. The post-World War II economic boom contributed to PoeHardware’s successful transition to wholesaler. The growth resulted inadditions to the warehouses, connecting the two 1946 structures with the thenexisting piping and heating warehouse addition. During the next decade,Greenville saw rapid expansion. The resulting boom in business continued thecompany expansion on Perry Avenue. In May 1961, Poe Hardware constructed anaddition to the office, sales area between the two warehouses plus additionalspace was constructed along the piping warehouse. The most significant changeto the complex came in the form of the new front section to the officebuilding.

As J. E. Sirrine & Co. had been theresident engineers for the Poe Manufacturing Company, there is
a chance that the company designed this new addition which contained aconference room, reception area, and executive offices. The design of the newaddition was indicative of the rise of Mid-Century Modern architecture,specifically the International style. While not the first building in theGreenville area to employ this style (or the last), the choice to update theoffice’s architecture reflects the changing times and sense of modernitybusinesses wished to evoke. It also was a permanent reminder of the company’sprosperity.

The expanding company also became moreheavily involved in the local community at this time as well. In the 1960s, PoeHardware sponsored two basketball teams in the Southern Textile BasketballLeague, hosted community meetings in its conference room, including the pressconference for the 1962 Miss Greenville beauty contest.

The Furman Co. is proud to have worked withthe owners of Poe West to achieve the momentous final National Registrydesignation for the property. The National Register of Historic Places is ourcountry's official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, anddistricts worthy of preservation. The National Register provides formalrecognition of a property's architectural, historical, or archaeologicalsignificance. It also identifies historic properties for planning purposes andensures that these properties will be considered in the planning of state orfederally assisted projects. National Register listing encourages preservationof historic properties through public awareness, federal and state taxincentives, and grants. Poe West has proven to be an exemplary selection forthe program and will now have its story preserved for generations tocome. 

Ann Wright, Vice President for Advancement, GreenvilleTech Foundation stated: “The Truist Centerfor Culinary and Hospitality Innovation represents a wonderful collaboration betweenthe Greenville Tech Foundation, Greenville Technical College, and generouspublic and private community partners who are all committed to meetingworkforce needs and bringing pathways for economic mobility to the Greenvillecommunity.  We are proud to be an anchor tenant at Poe West and salutetheir inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.  We arepleased to offer vital training for Greenville’s workforce of the future in alocation that played such an important role in Greenville’s rich history oftextile manufacturing.  As we champion our students and their dreams ofbuilding the knowledge and skills needed to achieve well-paying careers, we areindebted to industry pioneers like the Poe family who prospered through hardwork and entrepreneurship from Poe Hardware’s home on Perry Avenue at thecenter of Greenville’s textile crescent.”

The Furman Co. is also responsible for therestoration of the Claussen Bakery building, the Keys Printing Building (YeeHaw Brewing) and is currently taking the old Borden Ice Cream factory throughthe historic preservation process. “I can think of no more noble effort bythose that effect the built environment than to preserve, protect and enhancebuilding treasures of the past. Community sensitivity and sustainable developmentstarts with this recognition and extra effort,” said Steve Navarro, presidentof The Furman Co.

The NationalRegister of Historic Places (NRHP) is the official list of the nation'shistoric places worthy of preservation. The list is maintained inWashington, D.C. by the National Park Service (NPS). The state’s NationalRegister listings represent South Carolina’s long history, from the prehistoricperiod up to the late 20th century. The National Register is often associatedwith grand architectural wonders, but many different kinds of properties may beeligible for listing. For example, mill villages, country stores, equalizationschools, beach motels, funeral homes, tobacco barns, rice fields, and bridgesare all represented in South Carolina’s National Register listings. SouthCarolina has over 1,500 listings in the National Register, including over 185historic districts, with new listings added every year.

The mission ofthe National Parks Service is to sustain, enhance, protect, and conserve SouthCarolina’s natural, historic and cultural resources for present and futuregenerations, while recognizing the importance of promoting the development ofcommerce and industry that utilize sound environmentalpractices.    

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