Richard Pearis, a Virginia Indian trader, settled at the falls of the Reedy River with his family and twelve slaves in the 1770’s. On the river, Pearis built a grist mill, sawmill, home, store stocked with Indian goods, smokehouse, stables, dairy, blacksmith shop and slave quarters. Called the “Great Plains” plantation, this settlement was the “birthplace” of what we now call Greenville.
The Carolina Foothills Garden Club, with support from the City of Greenville, Furman University, and the Planning Commission, sets out to reclaim the Reedy River and its corridor. Furman deeds six acres from its original campus site to the City for a proposed Reedy River Falls Historic Park.
The Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Carolina Foothills Garden Club wins the GCA Founders Fund award for the Reedy River Falls Historic Park and Greenway, now known as Falls Park.
Today known as Falls Cottage, a small house of the 1890’s era is reclaimed, restored, refurbished and featured as the gateway entrance to the Park.
Carolina Foothills Garden Club and the City of Greenville adopt a Master Beautification/Development Plan for the 26-acre Park. The plan features scenic overlooks, nature trails, a landbridge and the creation of six specialty gardens. A Capital Fund Drive is launched and redevelopment of the Park begins.
A $500,000 fund drive is completed, matched by $500,000 from the City of Greenville. The master beautification plan is developed and Greenville celebrates the rebirth of the Park and Main Street’s West End.
“River Lodge”, a stone shelter along the river, is dedicated, a gift from the family of James Alden Simpson. Today “River Lodge” is used for numerous weddings, meetings and picnics.
The Garden Club establishes an Endowment Fund with the Community Foundation of Greater Greenville to insure future maintenance of the Park.
Groundbreaking for the S. C. Governors School for the Arts overlooking the Park takes place.
The first students arrive at the S. C. Governors School for the Arts.
The Chamber of Commerce Leadership Greenville Class XXIV presents their class project to the community: the Master Vision Plan for the Reedy River Corridor. The plan, developed by Sasaki & Associates of Boston, capitalizes on the Reedy River and the revitalization and beautification of downtown Greenville. The Reedy River Corridor consists of approximately 250 acres surrounding the river. Included in the overall plan is a dramatic expansion plan of the public gardens at Reedy River Falls Historic Park, removal of the Camperdown bridge and establishment of a new Falls Cottage terrace,developed by Andrea Mains of RTKL Associates in Washington. DC.
The City of Greenville embarked on a major project to remove the Camperdown Bridge that spanned the Reedy River in Falls Park, restoring the dignity of the majestic waterfalls first inhabited by Richard Pearis in 1700 and fully develop the existing Falls Park into a public garden and urban oasis of regional significance and visibility. The $13 million project included construction of a pedestrian bridge where the Camperdown traffic bridge once stood, enhancement of lighting, expansion of the gardens and the creation of outdoor entertaining space and restaurants. Designed by landscape architect Andrea Mains, the gardens feature an impressive display of perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees with seasonal and textural interest. The one-of-a-kind,award-winning pedestrian bridge, designed by architect Miguel Rosales, is a curved suspension bridge which allows pedestrians to enjoy the spectacular view of the waterfalls and Reedy River.
In conjunction with the City’s development plan, Carolina Foothills Garden Club members Anna Kate Hipp and Pedrick Lowrey co-chaired a $3.6 million dollar endowment campaign for the Park. These funds are being used for park enhancements and future maintenance. A lead gift to the campaign of $25,000 was pledged by the garden club in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the club.
September 10, 2004
The “new” Falls Park is officially opened and celebrated with great fanfare.
Carolina Foothills receives the American Horticulture Society’s “Urban Beautification Award”, presented in Washington, DC. The award is given for significant contributions to urban horticulture.
The City and Carolina Foothills Garden Club celebrate the 5th birthday of Falls Park.
Today, crowds enjoy botanical displays, world class sculpture, a downtown waterfall and natural beauty as they sit on swings and benches throughout the park. Falls Park is alive and thriving and an oasis for Greenvillians and visitors alike thanks to the vision and tenacity of the Carolina Foothills Garden Club for over 50 years.
The last remaining parcel of Falls Park on the Reedy is developed as Carolina Foothills Garden Club Sanctuary at Falls Park and Pedrick’s Garden at Falls Park, which is dedicated on August 26, 2014.
October 5, 2014
The City and Carolina Foothills Garden Club celebrate the 10th birthday of Falls Park.
Find more information of the Falls Park web site www.fallspark.com