Center City Greensboro Historic Architecture

Center City Greensboro Historic Architecture

Greensboro, North Carolina 27401, United States

Created By: Preservation Greensboro

Tour Information

Take a walk off the beaten path and explore our city from the perspective of architecture and history! Greensboro grew into one of the largest cities in the state in the late ninetheenth and early twentieth centuries, and a strong preservation ethic has saved many of these buildings from destruction. This tour features a notable collection of landmark buildings that include the Methodist Protestant Publishing House (1897), the Greensboro Loan & Trust Building (1902), and the Carolina Theatre (1927). The tour showcases works of architects J. H. Hopkins, Jules de Sibour, Charles Hartmann, and others along Greene, Washington, and Elm streets while identifying major themes in American architecture including Romanesque, Neoclassicism, and Art Deco.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

A series of earlier courthouses stood at Jefferson Square, the early name for the city’s central intersection at Elm and Market streets. By 1911, jurors were having a hard time hearing cases due to street noise on warm summer days when wi... Read more
The Guilford County Governmental Complex includes the Guilford County Courthouse Annex and the Greensboro Municipal Building. The complex was constructed between 1968-1972 according to plans by Eduardo Catalano of Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... Read more
The West Market Street Methodist Church was constructed in 1893 to plans by architect S. W. Foulk of New Castle, Pennsylvania. Theater-plan sanctuary and Akron-plan Sunday School arrangement could accommodate 2,000 worshippers. Sixty-eight ... Read more
The United States Post Office and Courthouse was built between 1931-1933. Its design is attributed to staff architects under acting architect James A. Wetmore. Using materials such as Mount Airy Granite, Indiana Limestone, and aluminum – ... Read more
The Michael Sherwood House stands in downtown Greensboro as one of a very small number of ante-bellum residences in the center city. The house was probably built between 1849 and 1851 for Michael Swaim Sherwood, publisher (1839-1860s) of th... Read more
This unusual house stands in downtown Greensboro as one of a very small number of ante-bellum period residences remaining in the city, and reflects the high level of design sought by high income residents of the city during that time. Dr. D... Read more
The Masons have had a notable influence in the community, claiming members such as hotelier Christopher Moring, industrialist Henry Humphreys, attorney and Mayor Cyrus Mendenhall, businessman Julian Price. The organization set the cornersto... Read more
Blandwood is one of the America's great historic homes, representing the ideals of progressive North Carolina Governor John Motley Morehead as illustrated through a protype for one of America's most popular architectural styles in the ninet... Read more
The Carolina Theatre was erected in 1927 as the flagship theatre in the Carolinas of the Publix-Saenger Theater Corporation. Architects J. H. de Sibour of Washington DC, and James B. Workman of Greensboro are credited with the project. Jule... Read more
This building is a well-preserved example of a once common commercial building type erected in the center city and demonstrates a growing appetite for nationally popular architectural styles in the city at the turn of the twentieth century.... Read more
This building is one of two well-preserved structures that demonstrate a commercial brick façade type that was once common to Greensboro’s city center. The building was announced in the November 20, 1901 Greensboro Patriot newspaper in a... Read more
The Cascade Saloon was constructed in 1895 on South Elm Street between the North Carolina Railroad tracks to the north, and a spur of the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railway to the south. This unusual location between two rail lines resulte... Read more
In July, 1898, the firm D. Getaz & Company of Knoxville, TN was awarded the contract  to build a new depot for the Southern Railway. The building is constructed of a brick provided by the Washington Hydrolic Pressed Brick Company of A... Read more
One of the oldest structures on South Elm Street is this three-story brick building built by confectioner Thomas Bailey in the summer of 1888. Bailey's earlier store was wood frame, and it was lost in a major fire on June 17, 1888. The fire... Read more
J. W. Jones began construction of his new brick store on July 1, 1895. Jones ran a wholesale grocery store that supplied patrons with “the choicest in all varieties of general groceries and table delicacies, imported or domestic” as wel... Read more
The Odell Hardware Company was founded on South Elm Street in Greensboro by Julian Odell in 1872 as a dry goods supplier. Reorganized through a sale in 1885 as a wholesale hardware business, the company grew to be one of the southeast’s l... Read more
Towering over South Elm Street in Greensboro, the Greensboro Loan and Trust Banking House is an excellent example of Renaissance Revival architecture by Charlotte architects Hook and Sawyer. Begun in the summer of 1900, it is one of the ear... Read more
After a major fire here in the summer of 1885, citizens and business owners sought to reconstruct this portion of Elm Street with substantial and fire-resistant commercial blocks. John W. Wharton and William O. Stratford, proprietors of Wha... Read more
Mrs. Sol. Weill purchased the site of 314 South Elm Street in July of 1898 with the intention of building a sizeable structure to house the Simpson-Shields Shoe Company. The English-born contractor and stonemason Thomas Woodroffe worked on... Read more
On August 4, 1897, the Greensboro Telegram announced "The front of the new Methodist publishing house on South Elm will be of white fire brick and gray granite. This will present a very pleasing appearance and will give relief to the dea... Read more
If you want to see one of the prettiest Store-rooms in the city, jam-up with a large and full line of Dry Goods, Notions, Hats, Gents Furnishings, Boots, Shoes, and everything in the Dry Goods line, why all you’ve got to do is to come to ... Read more
The Greensboro Passenger Station was built in 1927 to plans provided by New York architects Alfred Fellheimer & Steward Wagner. Fellheimer is most associated with his lead architect role for New York Grand Central Terminal and Cincinnat... Read more
This series of townhouses is rare in Greensboro, where the urban prototype did not gain popularity before apartment houses with shared interior common halls grew acceptable. The four units remain among the few such townhouses in the state. ... Read more
The 1922 Carolina Cadillac Company Building is an automobile showroom with service designed by Greensboro architect Harry J. Simmonds. The two-story brick building blends Commercial and Mission Revival styles by combining four flat columns ... Read more
Announced in the May 31, 1883 Greensboro North State, this building was part of a trio of similar buildings known as the "Commercial Block" when constructed by three investors. As reported in the newspaper article, "The new block of buildin... Read more
The Kress Building was built in 1930 according to elaborate designs by architect Edward Sibbert. The Kress chain of five-and-dimes held a reputation for significant architectural compositions. The company’s founder, Samuel H. Kress, envis... Read more
Today it is known as the Elm Street Center, but when it was constructed in 1949, this early example of Moderism was the new Ellis-Stone Department Store. This sleek building was far ahead of its time, with its clean lines and a play between... Read more
This three-story Victorian delight with a tower still stands at the corner of East February One Place and South Elm Street, though it has been dramatically remuddled with it’s tower removed and false siding covering the façade. The site ... Read more
Designed by architect Frank A. Weston in 1904, the Dixie Building illustrates Greensboro’s maturity from a town of low-rise commercial buildings to a city with multi-story office blocks. Guilford County’s first skyscraper, the classical... Read more
Constructed in 1929, this structure was built speculatively and later became the city branch of the national five-and-dime retailer F.W. Woolworth Co. Architect Charles C. Hartmann (Jefferson Standard Building) combined classical Greek elem... Read more
Greensboro’s Porter’s Drug Store is celebrated for its strong associations with short-story writer William Sidney Porter who wrote under the pen name O.Henry during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Porter worked here a... Read more
Julian Price, the president of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, was a patron of architecture.  In 1919, New York architect Charles Hartmann came to Greensboro to design a Foor and Robinson branded accommodation named the O.Henry ... Read more
Known today as the Southeastern Building (originally built as the American Exchange National Bank Building), this classically detailed skyscraper was constructed in 1920 to plans provided by Greensboro-architect Raleigh James Hughes. The bu... Read more
Located on North Elm Street, just north of downtown Greensboro’s Jefferson Square, the Younts-DeBoe Building was constructed in 1923 during a period of prosperity and growth in the Gate City. Younts-DeBoe Clothing was formed by M. S. Youn... Read more
The new city and regional operations offices for Charlotte-based First Union National Bank opened in this 10-story building on February 18, 1971. Among the striking features of the bank lobby were two wall rugs by V’Soske of San Juan, Pue... Read more
Initially built as the campus for the First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, this complex of buildings includes the original sanctuary and the adjacent Smith Memorial Building. The complex grew in stages. The sanctuary for the Presbyteria... Read more
Built in the acute angle created by the insertion of Summit Avenue into the intersection of Lindsay Street and Church Court (old Church Street), the building is part of a family of triangular building found in most cities that takes its nam... Read more
The first Catholic Church in Greensboro was established with St. Agnes church on Forbis Street in 1876. By the 1890s, the small sanctuary no longer met the needs of the city’s growing Catholic community. By September 1899, finishing touch... Read more
Greensboro’s Central Fire Station was built as part of a civic complex that included a training facility, jail, and city hall. The fire station is the only remaining component, preserved as part of a massive redevelopment of the block in ... Read more
The Elon Law School (originally Greensboro Public Library) was completed in 1960 to designs by Greensboro-based architect Edward Loewenstein in partnership with artist Gregory Ivy. In an unusual approach to mid-century architecture, this bu... Read more


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