Although it had a short-lived academy, begun in 1814, and a bank, established by 1822, Greenville was long little more than a farm and tavern village with some importance as a local transportation hub, the usual rural industry, and a small thread and twine mill. Then, in the 1840s, three manufacturers descended upon it and built mills that used the Stillwater River for power. One of these, a woolen mill on Austin Avenue close to the village center, eventually, in the twentieth century became a piece of Austin T. Levy's Stillwater Worsted empire (see Harrisville under Burrillville), before its later use by a series of firms for various purposes. Two cotton factories, one long demolished, located a little apart from the village on Putnam Pike, together created the satellite village of West Greenville. The one remaining includes buildings going back to the beginnings of Greenville's life as a textile village.
Prosperity over a long period left an impressive and varied architectural heritage of houses ranging from the colonial period through the early twentieth century. But Greenville's importance as a regional hub has wreaked havoc. Highway widening and heedless demolition or alteration for drive-in business have substantially diminished the coherence and charm that Greenville once possessed.
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.