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

Guilford County Courthouse, 301 West Market Street

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
Governmental Plaza, 210 South Greene Street

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
West Market Street Methodist Church, 302 West Market Street

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
U. S. Post Office and Courthouse, 324 West Market Street

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
Michael Sherwood House, 426 West Friendly Avenue

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
David Weir House, 223 North Edgeworth Street

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
Masonic Temple, 426 West Market Street

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 Mansion, 447 West Washington Street

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
Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street

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
J. W. Scott Building, 113-115 West Washington Street

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
The Cone Export and Commission Company Building, 111 West Washington Street

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
Cascade Saloon, 408-410 South Elm Street

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
Old Southern Railway Passenger Depot, 400 South Elm Street

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
Thomas Bailey Store House, 358 South Elm Street

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 Building, 345-347 South Elm Street

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
Odell Hardware Company Office and Warehouse, 235-327 South Elm Street

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
Greensboro Loan & Trust Banking House, 319 South Elm Street

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
Wharton Block, 318 – 320 South Elm Street

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
Weill Block, 314-316 South Elm Street

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
The Methodist Publishing House, 304 South Elm Street

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
Price Building, 300-302 South Elm Street

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
Greensboro Southern Railway Station, 300 East Washington Street

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
Brown Flats, 195-201 Lyndon Street

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
Carolina Cadillac Company Building, 304 East Market Street

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
Vernon Building, 236-238 South Elm Street

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
S. H. Kress Building, 212 South Elm Street

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
The Ellis-Stone Department Store, 207 South Elm Street

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
The Huffines Building, 201 South Elm Street

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
The Dixie Fire and Insurance Company Building, 125 South Elm Street

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
F. W. Woolworth Co. Building/ International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 132 South Elm Street

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
Porter Drug Store/Hobbs-Mendenhall Building, 121 South Elm Street

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
Jefferson Standard Building, 101 North Elm Street

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
American Exchange National Bank Building (Southeastern Building), 100 North Elm Street

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
Younts-DeBoe Building, 106-108 North Elm Street

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
First Union National Bank, 122 North Elm Street

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
Greensboro Historical Museum, 200 Church Street

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
The Flatiron, 201 Summit Avenue

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
St. Benedict’s Catholic Church, 435 North Elm Street

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
Central Fire Station, 318 North Greene Street

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
Central Public Library, 201 North Greene Street

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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