Greenville is the center of the Upstate region of South Carolina, creating one of the largest urban centers in the Deep South. Numerous large companies are located within the city, such as Michelin, Prisma Health, Bon Secours, and Duke Energy. Greenville County Schools is another large employer and is the largest school district in South Carolina. Having seen rapid development over the past two decades, Greenville has also received many accolades and awards. Some of these include "The South's Most 'Tasteful' Small Towns" from Forbes in 2020, "15 of the Most Underrated Travel Destinations of the Year, So Far" from Insider in 2019, "Best Places to Live" from Money in 2019, and "Best Place to Live in the USA #22" from U.S. News & World Report in 2019. The city continues to expand rapidly into the 2020s as is evident from rapid population, economic, and developmental growth.
From Cherokee Land to Greenville County
The land of present-day Greenville was once the hunting ground of the Cherokee, which was forbidden to colonists. A wealthy settler from Virginia named Richard Pearis arrived in South Carolina around 1754 and established relations with the Cherokee. Pearis had a child with a Cherokee woman and received about 100,000 acres (40,000 ha) from the Cherokee around 1770. Pearis established a plantation on the Reedy River called the Great Plains in present-day downtown Greenville. The American Revolution divided the South Carolina country between the Loyalists and Patriots. Pearis supported the Loyalists and together with their allies, the Cherokee, attacked the Patriots. The Patriots retaliated by burning down Pearis' plantation and jailing him in Charleston. Pearis never returned to his plantation but Paris Mountain is named after him. The Treaty of Dewitt's Corner in 1777 ceded almost all Cherokee land, including present-day Greenville, to South Carolina.
Greenville County was created in 1786. Some sources state it was named for its physical appearance, while others say the county is named after General Nathanael Greene in honor of his service in the American Revolutionary War, or after early settler Isaac Green.Lemuel J. Alston came to Greenville County in 1788 and bought 400 acres (160 ha) and a portion of Pearis' former plantation. In 1797 Alston used his land holdings to establish a village called Pleasantburg where he also built a stately mansion. In 1816, Alston's land was purchased by Vardry McBee, who then leased the Alston mansion for a summer resort, before making the mansion his home from 1835 until his death in 1864. Pleasantburg was renamed as Greenville in 1821 and became a village in 1831. Considered to be the father of Greenville, McBee donated land for many structures such as churches, academies, and a cotton mill. Furman University was funded by McBee who helped bring the university to Greenville from Winnsboro, South Carolina in 1851. In 1853 McBee and other Greenville County leaders funded a new railroad called the Greenville and Columbia Railroad. Greenville boomed to around 1,000 in the 1850s due to the growth of McBee's donations and the attraction of the town as a summer resort for visitors.
In February 1869, Greenville's town charter was amended by the S. C. General Assembly establishing Greenville, the town, as a city. Construction boomed in the 1870s such as the establishment of a bridge over the Reedy River, new mills on the river and new railroads. The Greenville News was established in 1874 as Greenville's first daily newspaper. Southern Bell installed the first telephone lines in the city. The most important infrastructure that came to the city were cotton mills. Prominent cotton mill businesses operated near Greenville making it a cotton mill town. By 1915 Greenville became known as the "Textile Center of the South." From 1915 to 2004, the city hosted an important textile manufacturing trade fair, the Southern Textile Exposition.
During World War I, Greenville served as a training camp center for Army recruits. After World War I commercial activity expanded with new movie theaters and department stores. The Mansion House was demolished and replaced with the Poinsett Hotel in 1925. The Great Depression hurt the economy of Greenville forcing mills to lay off workers. Furman University and the Greenville Women's College also struggled in the crippling economy forcing them to merge in 1933. The Textile Workers Strike of 1934 had a major impact in the city and surrounding mill towns, and the National Guard subdued the strike. The New Deal established Sirrine Stadium and a new Greenville High School. The Greenville Army Air Base was established in 1942 during World War II contributing to the further growth of Greenville.
On February 16, 1947, Willie Earle, a black man accused of stabbing a cab driver, was taken from his jail cell by a mob of mostly taxi drivers and murdered. Thirty-one white men were jointly tried for the crime; most of the accused signed confessions, many of them naming Roosevelt Carlos Hurd as the lynch mob leader and the person who ultimately killed Earle with the shotgun. On May 21, 1947, a jury of 12 white men returned verdicts of not guilty for every defendant.
After World War II, Greenville's economy surged with the establishment of new downtown stores and the expansion of the city limits. Furman University doubled its student population and moved to a new location. Higher education facilities such as Bob Jones University in 1947 and Greenville Technical College in 1962 were established in Greenville. The Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport was established in nearby Greer in 1962. The economy of Greenville waned in the 1970s leaving a void in downtown Greenville due to the flight of many retailers. Mayor Max Heller then revitalized downtown Greenville with the Greenville County Museum of Art and the Hughes Main Library. Main Street was then converted into a two-lane road lined with trees and sidewalks. With a 1978 federal grant, a convention center and hotel were built, bringing business back to the area.
Greenville is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range, and includes many small hills. Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina, is in northern Pickens County, less than 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Greenville. Many area television and radio station towers are on Paris Mountain, the second most prominent peak in the area, 8 miles (13 km) north of downtown Greenville. According to the United States Census Bureau, Greenville has a total area of 28.8 square miles (74.6 km2), of which 28.7 square miles (74.3 km2) are land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.51%, are water. The Reedy River, a tributary of the Saluda River, runs through the center of the city.
Greenville is located in the Brevard Fault Zone and has had occasional minor earthquakes.
Greenville, like much of the Piedmont region of the southeastern United States, has a mild version of a humid subtropical climate (KöppenCfa), with four distinct seasons; the city is part of USDA Hardiness zone 7b/8a. Winters are short and generally cool, with a January daily average of 42.2 °F (5.7 °C). On average, there are 59 nights per year that drop to or below freezing, and only 1.3 days that fail to rise above freezing. April is the driest month, with an average of 3.36 inches (85 mm) of precipitation.
Summers are hot and humid, with a daily temperature average in July of 79.9 °F (26.6 °C). There are an average 43 days per year with highs at or above 90 °F (32 °C). Official record temperatures range from 107 °F (42 °C) on July 1, 2012, down to −6 °F (−21 °C) on January 30, 1966; the record cold daily maximum is 19 °F (−7 °C) on December 31, 1917, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 80 °F (27 °C) on July 12, 1937, the last of three occasions. The average window for freezing temperatures is November 4 thru April 1, allowing a growing season of 217 days.
Precipitation is generally less frequent in autumn than spring and, on average, Greenville receives 47.2 inches (1,200 mm) of precipitation annually, which is somewhat evenly distributed throughout the year, although summer is slightly wetter; annual precipitation has historically ranged from 31.08 in (789 mm) in 2007 to 72.53 in (1,842 mm) in 1908. In addition, there is an average of 4.7 inches (11.9 cm) of snow, occurring mainly from January thru March, with rare snow occurring in November or April. More frequent ice storms and sleet mixed in with rain occur in the Greenville area; seasonal snowfall has historically ranged from trace amounts as recently as 2011–12 to 21.4 in (54 cm) in 1935–36. These storms can have a major impact on the area, as they often pull tree limbs down on power lines and make driving hazardous.
There were 29,418 households, out of which 22.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.7% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% were non-families. 40.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 20.0% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,144, and the median income for a family was $44,125. Males had a median income of $35,111 versus $25,339 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,242. About 12.2% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.7% of those under age 18 and 17.5% of those age 65 or over.
When the former Donaldson Air Force Base closed in 1963, the land became the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center (SCTAC). SCTAC is the global home of Lockheed Martin F-16. Michelin, 3M, Proterra and Stevens Aerospace have major operations at the park as well. In addition, SCTAC is the home of South Carolina's world-class EV test track, the International Transportation and Innovation Center (ITIC), as well as the South Carolina Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility.
As the largest city in the Upstate, Greenville offers many activities and attractions. Greenville's theaters and event venues regularly host major concerts and touring theater companies. Four independent theaters present several plays a year.
Greenville Convention Center, a 280,000-square-foot (26,000 m2) convention and meeting facility that was established in 1964 as the newest of a series of Textile Halls, the original dating back to 1915 as the Southern Textile Exposition.
Peace Center, a performing arts center that includes a concert hall with 2,100 seats and a theater seating 400, and a 1,200-seat amphitheater. In late 2024, the Peace Center will debut A Music Project (AMP), a $36 million project to renovate three existing buildings on its campus into live music venues. This will include the Coach Music Factory, a new 1300-person capacity music club. 
Cancer Survivors Park.
The Children's Museum of the Upstate, one of the first children's museums to become Smithsonian affiliated.
Falls Park on the Reedy, a large regional park in the West End with gardens and several waterfalls, with access to the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Dedicated in 2004, the $15.0 million park is home to the Liberty Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge overlooking the Reedy River. The park's development sparked a $75 million public-private development, Riverplace, directly across Main Street. Falls Park has been called the birthplace of Greenville, but in the mid-20th century the area was in severe decline, and the Camperdown Bridge was built, obstructing the view of the falls. In the mid-1980s, the City adopted a master plan for the park. However, renovation accelerated under Mayor Knox White in the late 1990s, leading to the removal of the Camperdown Bridge in 2002 and the construction of the Miguel Rosales-designed Liberty Bridge in 2004. While bridges with similar structural concepts have been built in Europe, the Liberty Bridge is unique in its geometry.
Linky Stone Park: The Children's Garden, a 1.7-acre horticultural attraction featuring a unique garden that allows visitors to experience flowers using all five senses, a geology wall made of rocks and minerals from around the Upstate, a textile garden, a Hansel and Gretel cottage, and a secret garden.
McPherson Park, the city's oldest park and has a free public miniature golf course.
Runway Park at GMU, viewing location for aircraft take off and land with an educational amphitheater, exercise "Perimeter Taxiway", walking "Runways", aviation themed playground, a swing set, a Bi-plane "Climber", a picnic hangar and a Cessna 310 display. A 15-foot cross section of a Boeing 737 fuselage will be a handicapped accessible park entrance.
Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 22-mile (35 km) greenway connecting downtown Greenville to the City of Travelers Rest. On June 16, 2023, a 4.5-mile extension of the trail was opened, connecting Cleveland Park to the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR).
Unity Park, located along the Reedy River just west of downtown, opened in May 2022. The 60-acre park features basketball courts, a baseball field, a splash pad, a 10,000-square-foot welcome center/event space and three pedestrian bridges spanning the river. Five walking trails totaling 2.5 miles connect to the Swamp Rabbit Trail as it passes through the park. The park merged what was once two segregated parks, Mayberry Park for Black residents and Meadowbrook Park for white residents. Just north of the park, at the intersection of West Washington and South Hudson streets, the city dedicated the Lila Mae Brock Memorial, named after the late Southernside community leader described as "the epitome of unity."
Upcountry History Museum, the area's largest history museum and a Smithsonian affiliate.
Artisphere, a three-day art festival held each spring. The 2019 festival featured musicians The New Respects and Jill Andrews and over a hundred visual artists and street performers.
Euphoria Greenville, an annual four-day culinary mid-September event held in the Wyche Pavilion at Larkin's on the River, Art in the Park, and the Peace Center for the Performing Arts; the food, wine, and music festival in 2019 included an educational component and dinners by Michelin-starred chefs.
Fall for Greenville, a three-day music and food street festival held each fall. The 2019 festival was the 37th, with hundreds of food items and tens of musical artists across six stages.
First Fridays Gallery Crawl, features more than 30 art galleries and venues opening to the public with free admission. Hosted by the Metropolitan Arts Council, it occurs the first Friday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Greek Festival, a three-day festival sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Church in downtown Greenville to celebrate Greek culture. 2019's 33rd annual festival of dance, music, and food included tours of St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
Greenville Jazz Fest, celebrates jazz music and culture. Its inaugural event on June 3, 2023, included the Grammy award-winning Rebirth Brass Band
Greenville Open Studios, established in 2002, is an annual three-day local arts celebration in which 158 local artists open their studios to the public. The 2019 festival was the 18th, with record-setting attendance.
iMAGINE Upstate, a weekend celebration and showcase of STEM, entrepreneurial, creative, and innovative activity in the Upstate held each spring. The festival promotes learning as fun, through various hands-on activities, interactive shows, and experiences.
Indie Craft Parade, a festival of handmade art held each September. 2019 hosted the 10th annual event, which has over 100 artists, local food, and a free photo booth.
New South Comedy Festival, a ten-day comedy festival featuring improvisational, stand-up, sketch, and musical comedy from around the country. 2018's 5th annual festival featured over 300 comedians.
SC Comicon, a two-day comic book convention held annually. The event draws thousands of attendees, many of whom dress in cosplay.
Upstate Shakespeare Festival, hosts performances of Shakespeare and other classic plays each summer in Falls Park. The 25th festival was held in 2019 and featured The Tempest, performed by The Warehouse Theatre.
Arts and culture
Greenville has been named one of the "Top 100 Arts Small Towns in the United States." The Bon Secours Wellness Arena brings national tours of many popular bands to downtown, and the Peace Center for the Performing Arts provides a venue for orchestras and Broadway shows. A planned multimillion-dollar renovation to the center's main concert hall lobby and riverside amphitheatre began in the spring of 2011.
A number of local artists operate studios and galleries in the city, especially the Village of West Greenville near downtown. The Metropolitan Arts Council provides a number of public events that focus on the visual arts, including the First Fridays Gallery Crawl and Greenville Open Studios. Greenville also provides some notable fine arts museums:
Greenville's music scene is home to local, regional, and national bands performing music in the various genres. The city is home to the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville County Youth Orchestra, Carolina Youth Symphony, the Carolina Pops Orchestra, and the Greenville Concert Band.Greenville Light Opera Works (GLOW Lyric Theatre) is a professional lyric theatre in Greenville that produces Musical Theatre, Operetta and Opera.
Local a cappella singing groups include the women's Vocal Matrix Chorus (formerly Greenville in Harmony) and the men's Palmetto Statesmen chorus. Additional choral groups include the Greenville Chorale and the Greenville Gay Men's Chorus.
Greenville is also home to the Sigal Music Museum, formerly known as the Carolina Music Museum. The building resides in a 1930s Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
Many notable active national touring acts have Greenville roots, including:
The Carolina Ballet Theatre is a professional dance company that regularly presents programs at the Peace Center and elsewhere. CBT presents four performances annually as the resident professional dance company of the Peace Center with their largest as the holiday classic, "The Nutcracker, Once Upon A Time in Greenville." This production is modelled after the major companies that have set their holiday class in their hometown. Centre Stage, Greenville Theatre, South Carolina Children's Theater and the Warehouse Theatre are the major playhouses in the area. These theaters offer a variety of performances including well-known works, such as Death of a Salesman and Grease, and plays written by local playwrights. During the Spring and Summer, the local Shakespearean company performs Shakespeare in the Park at the Falls Park Amphitheater.
Two literary non-profit groups are located in Greenville: The Emrys Foundation, founded in 1983, and Wits End Poetry, founded in 2002.
Greenville Drive, a High-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox in the High-A East. The Drive played their first season at Greenville Municipal Stadium, former home of the Atlanta Braves AA affiliate. The Drive started their second season in their new downtown ballpark on April 6, 2006, which, prior to the start of the 2008 season, was renamed Fluor Field at the West End. For the first year after their founding, they were called the Greenville Bombers, having moved from Columbia, South Carolina. Before that, Greenville hosted various other minor league baseball teams, beginning with the Greenville Spinners in 1907.
Bob Jones University competes at the NCCAA Division II level. The BJU Bruins began intercollegiate athletics in the 2012–2013 school year. The school began with men and women's soccer and basketball, with hopes of eventually adding other sports. In June 2020, the Bruins were accepted to the NCAA, competing at the Division III level. As of 2023, the university supports 12 varsity sports programs.
The city of Greenville adopted the Council-Manager form of municipal government in 1976. The Greenville City Council consists of the mayor and six council members. The mayor and two council members are elected at-large while the remaining council members are chosen from single-member districts. Greenville Municipal Court handles criminal misdemeanor violations, traffic violations, and city ordinance violations. As of 2023, the city's mayor is Knox H. White, who has been in that position since December 1995.
Greenville's City Hall has had multiple locations since the first in 1879, including the Old Greenville City Hall, which served in that capacity from 1938 to 1973. In March 2023, the city announced plans to sell its current building and move City Hall to the Bowater Building along the Reedy River in Falls Park.
The Greenville Police Department was established in 1845 as the Greenville Police Force. By 1876 the Greenville Police Force became the Greenville Police Department. In 1976 the Greenville Police Department moved into the Greenville County Law Enforcement Center with the Greenville County Sheriff's Department. The Greenville Police Department serves Greenville with around 241 employees with 199 sworn officers.
The Greenville County School District is the largest school district in the state of South Carolina and ranked the 44th largest district in the United States, with 19 high schools, 24 middle schools, and 52 elementary schools in the district. The district's 2018–2023 strategic plan noted it had 10,000 employees, including 6,000 teachers with an average of 12.8 years of experience. In addition to traditional public schools, Greenville's downtown area is home to the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities, a boarding school for young artists.
In addition to public schools, Greenville County has a number of private and religious schools, including St Mary's Catholic School (founded in 1900), Camperdown Academy (for students with learning disabilities),Hidden Treasure Christian School (a school for students with physical and/or mental disabilities), Christ Church Episcopal School (a college-preparatory Episcopalian school with an American school outside of Germany certified by the Bavarian Ministry of Education), Shannon Forest Christian School (an evangelical Christian school),Saint Joseph's Catholic School, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School, St. Anthony's Catholic School, Southside Christian School (established in 1967 by Southside Baptist Church), Hampton Park Christian School, Bob Jones Academy and Elementary School, Carolina Film Institute (a film school founded in 2008), Green Charter (originally one of the Gülen movement schools), and Greenville Classical Academy (a classical Christian school established in 2004).
The Greenville News is the city's daily newspaper and also the Upstate's largest daily newspaper in circulation and readership.
Greenville Journal: Weekly newspaper dealing with business, economic development, local events, and current issues relevant to Greenville. It was originally the Greenville Civic and Commercial Journal
The Post and Courier: daily newspaper based in Charleston, has a Greenville edition, Post and Courier Greenville, which features "Greenville news reported, written and edited by Greenville journalists for readers in the Upstate."
GVLtoday: Hyper-local news site operated by Greenville-based media company 6 AM City.
Upstate Business Journal: Weekly business newspaper reaching 100,000 business leaders in Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson counties.
GSA Business: Published every two weeks, it covers business news from across the Greenville, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Greenville Business Magazine: Monthly magazine that contains business information for and about the Greenville area.
Upstate Link magazine: The weekly publication began in January 2004 as part of The Greenville News and remained in print until 2008. It is now defunct.
ShareGVL (Share Greenville): similar to Humans of New York, it is a nonprofit digital community that humanizes residents of Greenville.
Greenville is part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson Arbitron Metro which is the nation's 59th largest radio market with a person 12+ population of 813,700. See the box below for the local radio stations:
Greenville is located on the Interstate 85 (I-85) corridor, approximately halfway between Atlanta and Charlotte. I-85 runs along the city's southeast edge and is connected to downtown Greenville by two spur routes: I-185, which also forms a southern beltway; and I-385, which continues southeast to a junction with I-26. Other major highways include U.S. Route 123 (US 123), US 25, US 29 and US 276.
There are several airports servicing the Greenville area. The largest in the region, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP), is the second busiest in the state and is served by most major airlines. SCTAC (formerly Donaldson Air Base) has undergone significant modernization and is the site of multiple industries, as well as the International Transportation and Innovation Center (ITIC), and the South Carolina Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility. Greenville serves as a freight hub for FedEx Express. The Greenville Downtown Airport, is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina with nearly 80,000 take-offs and landings annually and more than 198 based aircraft in 2022.
Public transit in Greenville is handled by the Greenville Transit Authority (GTA), which contracted out operations to the City Of Greenville in 2008 under a tri-party agreement with Greenville County. The city rebranded the service with the name Greenlink. Greenlink runs a bus system that serves the Greenville area, much of Greenville County including Mauldin and Simpsonville, and a portion of Pickens County via a connector to Clemson. Greenlink has a 10-year transit plan that aims to cover the entire county with 15 new buses and double the frequency of routes by 2030.
Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, which includes St. Francis Downtown; St. Francis Eastside; and St. Francis Outpatient Center and Upstate Surgery Center, is ranked among the best hospitals in the nation by HealthGrades for heart surgery and overall orthopedic services.
Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health organization that includes seven campuses in the Upstate area: Greenville Memorial Medical Center, North Greenville Long Term Acute Care Hospital and ER, Hillcrest Hospital, Patewood Memorial Hospital, Greer Memorial Hospital, Laurens County Memorial Hospital, and Oconee Memorial Hospital. It is one of the largest employers in the region. It was recognized for 2010–2011 as a top provider of cardiac and gastroenterology care by U.S. News & World Report. Prisma has the only children's hospital in the Upstate region of South Carolina. It hosts the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, a full four-year branch of the medical school in Columbia, South Carolina.
The Greenville Memorial Hospital was formerly operated by the municipal government, with Greenville Health System being the operating authority. In 2016, Prisma Health began leasing the hospital and directly operating it. The GHA is the portion of the Greenville Health System that still existed after the hospital transitioned into being operated by Prisma. The Greenville Health Authority (GHA) is the owner of the hospital facilities operated by Prisma. Members of the South Carolina Legislature select a majority of the seats of the board of directors of the GHA.
^Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1991 to 2020.
^Official records for Greenville kept April 1884 to 10 December 1941 at downtown, 11 December 1941 to 14 October 1962 at Greenville Downtown Airport, and at Greenville–Spartanburg Int'l near Greer since 15 October 1962. For more information, see Threadex
^History / Greenville Arena District, Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Accessed February 20, 2017. "GMAD oversaw the Greenville Memorial Auditorium which opened in 1958 and changed to the Greenville Arena District (GAD) in 1998, upon the construction and opening of the Bon Secours Wellness Arena (first known as the BI-LO Center)."
^Fluor Field, Minor League Baseball. Accessed February 20, 2017. "Modeled after Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox; Fluor Field at the West End boasts its own 'Green Monster,' a 30-foot high wall in left field, equipped with a manual scoreboard. The dimensions all around the outfield wall are to the same specifications as Fenway Park, including 'Pesky's Pole' in right field."
^Staff. "Textile Hall", Upstate Business Journal, September 13, 2013. Accessed February 20, 2017. "The first Southern Textile Exposition held in Greenville was in 1915 in the warehouse of the Piedmont and Northern Railroad.... The new Textile Hall opened on Highway 291 in 1964; it is now known as the TD Convention Center."
^About Us, Peace Center. Accessed February 20, 2017. "With a 2,100-seat concert hall, a 400-seat theatre, an amphitheatre, a sophisticated patrons' lounge, and a variety of indoor and outdoor meeting, rehearsal, and event spaces, the Peace Center has become the hub of cultural life in Upstate South Carolina."
^ abWilson, Derek Spurlock, ed. (2004). "William Wilson Cooke". African American Architects, 1865–1945. New York: Routledge. pp. 148–151. ISBN978-1-1359-5629-5. His father, Wilson Cooke (1819–1897), was the slave son of Vardry McBee