Preserving Greenville’s History Since 1928
The Greenville County Historical Society is the result of two movements, a generation apart, in the Greenville community. In 1928, the Upper Carolina Historical Society was organized to preserve the rich history of the area and the group remained active until the Great Depression.
The other movement emerged in the early 1960s when biographical sketches and a series of articles on Greenville history were being written. In 1961, the Greenville Historical Records Committee collected histories on 126 families and persons influential in the community. Out of this movement, the committee evolved into the organization that exists to this very day. The Greenville County Historical Society met in April 1962, adopted a constitution, elected officers and had its first paper presented, Vardry McBee: The Father of Greenville, by Marion M. Hewell, the Society’s first president.
Since that first meeting, the Society has expanded its role as an organization interested in identifying, collecting, and preserving materials related to the history of Greenville County. The group was a catalyst for the preservation movement of the 1970s, and today is aiming to re-engage the community as a custodian of primary source records and photographs and a supporter of preserving Greenville’s history for generations to come. The organization currently has more than 400 members and is home to countless records, books, maps, photographs, and newspapers dating back to the 19th century.
“The objectives of this organization are to collect and preserve the documents, photographs, and materials which reflect the history of Greenville County; and to advocate for and assist in the preservation of historic structures and sites within the county; and to cultivate interest and support research in our history.” – GCHS Bylaws
Meet Darlene G. Parker
Executive Director of GCHS
Darlene comes to GCHS with over 30 years of experience as executive support, event management and logistics coordination for the non-profit economic development sector. Her interest in the history of Greenville SC brought her to the Board of Directors for GCHS and she served as a Board Member and Chair of the Collections Committee. She is passionate about Greenville and for the past 20 years, Darlene has called Greenville home. Her unique perspective on Greenville’s growth from the early 2000’s has given her a rich understanding of its growth, development and the need to understand and appreciate Greenville’s past.
In the recent past, Darlene was the Executive Administrative Assistant to the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County. In the past, she has also served in high profile roles with the Greenville Chamber as Economic Competitiveness Coordinator and had the unique opportunity to assist other cities and organizations throughout the USA to learn about Greenville and its development and economic efforts. Darlene also supported NEXT, an economic initiative of the Greenville Chamber. She also supported the Downtown Greenville Development Initiative (DGDI), a public/private partnership that was formed to bring business headquarters to the downtown footprint.
Darlene’s current and past affiliations make her an exciting choice as the new Executive Director for GCHS. Past member of the Board of Directors for the Greenville County Historical Society; past Board Member for International Ballet of Greenville; served on the grant review committee for MAC (Metropolitan Arts Council); served as Volunteer Coordinator for TEDx Greenville; volunteers for Meals on Wheels; is a member of the Palmetto Society with United Way.
Darlene has one daughter who lives and works in New York City. In her spare time she enjoys writing, reading, travel, is the SC Convener for Clan Colquhoun and enjoys representing her Scottish Colquhoun ancestors at Greenville’s Scottish Games (Gallabrae).
Meet Our Board of Directors
Tom Cheves (’22)
Retired – Fluor
Robert Benedict (’21)
Fran Villa (’20)
Retired – Michelin
Laird Minor (’21)
Nautilus Capital, Inc.
Teresa Slack (’21)
Fluor – Retired
Archie Black (’22)
Don Koonce (’23)
Sandi Coan (’21)
Retired – Greenville Chamber
John Zimmerman (’22)
Frances Knight (May, ’23)