The Hampton-Pinckney Neighborhood is significant for two reasons:
- The historical association with Vardry McBee and his family and Trolley cars.
- The area dates back to the early to mid-nineteenth century.
Vardry Mcbee purchased over 11,000 acres from Lemuel Alston in 1815. McBee was known as the “Father of Greenville” and established a mill on the Reedy River near where the Peace Center is located. His residence was located at Prospect Hill where the Greenville Water Company Building is located (also the site of the old Greenville High School.
McBee gave most of the land that encompassed Hampton-Pinckney to his children and relatives. In 1824 he deeded 12 acres to his son, W.P. McBee, who built what is believed to be the first house on Pinckney Street. Other relatives like F.B. McBee also built homes in the neighborhood by the mid-1800’s.
Another prominent landowner of the neighborhood was T.Q. Donaldson, a state Senator from 1872 to 1876. He bought most of the property on the south side of Hampton Avenue and carved it up for lots.
Railroad/Trolley Car System – Hampton Pinckney
By 1881, the Richmond and Danville Railroad had established a street railway system with mules pulling passengers and freight cars on lines that ran between terminals on Augusta and West Washington Street. This eventually led to the trolley car system for Greenville that was founded in 1899 and first operated on Jan. 1, 1901.
Tracks were installed on Main Street, College Street, Buncombe Street, North Street and Pendleton Street. The first line ran up West Washington Street from the Southern Railroad depot to Main Street. The lines also served Poe Mill, Woodside Mill, Monaghan Mill and even San Souci Country Club, which was the Greenville Country Club.
Hampton-Pinckney emerged at this time since the trolley car lines were only one block away. Most of the homes were then built during the late 1800’s to about 1920.
The dominant architectural styles are Queen Anne and Craftsman with some Gothic Revival, Colonial Revival, Italinate and even Prairie.
Like most urban neighborhoods, Hampton-Pinckney had fallen into disrepair following WWII and began a period of decline until the mid to late 1970’s.
According to Miss Helen Ragsdale, who lived to reach the age of 105 in the house on Hampton Avenue that her father bought from Senator Donaldson in 1907, Hampton Avenue was a “street of widows.” All of the men had died and the children had grown up and left leaving a group of elderly women behind.
But things started turning around in the 1970’s and the neighborhood was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 12, 1977.