Greenville, North Carolina
Greenville is the county seat of Pitt County, principal city of the Greenville metropolitan area, and the 10th largest city in the state of North Carolina. Greenville is the health, entertainment, and educational hub of North Carolina’s Tidewater and Coastal Plain. In January 2008 and January 2010, Greenville was named one of the nation’s “100 Best Communities for Young People” by the America’s Promise Alliance. In June 2012, Greenville was ranked in the top ten of the nation’s “Best Small Places For Business And Careers” by Forbes Magazine. In 2010 Greenville was ranked twenty-fourth in mid-city business growth and development by Forbes Magazine.
The city is also known as “BMX Pro Town USA”, as it is home for many top professional BMX riders. Greenville is also the home of East Carolina University, the second-largest university and fastest-growing campus in the University of North Carolina system, and Vidant Medical Center, the flagship hospital for Vidant Health and the teaching hospital for the Brody School of Medicine. The city has the fifth-highest percentage of residents in North Carolina – almost 30 percent – who have obtained bachelor’s degrees.
Greenville was founded in 1771 as “Martinsborough,” after the Royal Governor Josiah Martin. In 1774 the town was moved to its present location on the south bank of the Tar River, three miles (5 km) west of its original site. In 1786, the name was changed to Greenesville in honor of General Nathanael Greene, the American Revolutionary War hero. It was later shortened to Greenville.
During Greenville’s early years, the Tar River was a navigable waterway; and by the 1860s there were several established steamboat lines transporting passengers and goods on the river. Cotton was the leading agricultural crop, and Greenville became a major cotton export center. Before the turn of the century, however, tobacco surpassed cotton and became the leading money crop. Greenville became one of the state’s leading tobacco marketing and warehouse centers.
For over a century, Greenville was recognized only as an important tobacco market and the home of a small state-supported college, charted by the Legislature in March 1907 and named East Carolina Teacher’s Training College, a co-ed institution. By the mid 1960s, East Carolina College had become the third-largest state-supported college, and enrollment approached 8,000 students — twice the 1960 enrollment figure. In 1967, it became East Carolina University. ECU Medical School admitted its first four-year class in 1977. At the turn of the century, enrollment at ECU topped the 18,000 mark, and now exceeds 27,500 students.
Greenville’s current economic development began in 1968 when Burroughs Wellcome, a major pharmaceutical research and manufacturing firm, located in the city. The site is now owned by DSM Pharmaceuticals, which employs approximately 1,400 people. The city and Pitt County have also become home to many other major industries and businesses including Harper Brush, NACCO Materials Handling Group, Grady-White Boats, and ASMO. Greenville is also home to The HammockSource, the worlds largest hammock manufacturer.
Greenville is home to a wide range of cultural events on and off the East Carolina University campus. East Carolina University offers musical concerts, theatrical and dance productions, travel films, and lectures. The Greenville Museum of Art contains local art, as well as rotating exhibitions. Annually over 3,000 children participate in programs offered by the Museum and over 12,000 people visit the museum.
Theater is beginning to emerge in Greenville as well. Local groups such as the Greenville Theater Project and the Magnolia Arts Center offer outlets for both performers and audiences alike. Smiles and Frowns Playhouse produces children’s theatre. Additionally, student groups such as SWASH Improv offer entertainment at the university and local establishments.
In the old Five Points area every Wednesday in warm months, an Umbrella Market features local growers and producers plus crafts people. This is also the venue for “Freeboot Friday” on Fridays in the fall when there is a Saturday ECU home football game. It is an “Alive-At-Five” style pep-rally with live music, ECU cheerleaders, exhibits, children’s activities, food samplings, and a beer and wine garden. The Downtown area is known for its large annual Halloween street party and live music bars.
Find out more by clicking on the picture below