office of the city clerk
Historical Archive: City Seals
1973 City Seal
In order to establish a design approach to the creation of a new CITY SEAL,
several prerequisites were first determined. The seal should be round, provide a
strong visual identity, be symbolic in nature, and project a progressive, modern
The Concept of the design is based on three of the City’s basic elements:
- Its People
- Its Natural Resources, and
- Its Industry.
These elements were selected to represent the City on the basis of simplicity,
directness, and broadness of scope. Graphic symbols were developed to represent
these elements in a strong visual manner.
Careful attention was give the arrangement of these symbols in the design in
order to provide still further symbolism. The symbol representing “man” is
placed in a circle to indicate unity, cooperation and friendship. The symbol for
“trees and mountains” is place in the circle between every “man” to represent an
abundance of natural resources. The symbol representing “industry and man–made
resources” is placed in the center of the design to reflect this element as the
center of growth and economy of the City.
Working together in the design as in our society, the elements of man, his
natural resources, and his industry create the “wheel of progress” which
symbolizes Greenville “on the move” today toward a better tomorrow.
– Beth Tankersley, Graphic Design Consultant
Prepared for McMillan, Bunes, Townsend & Bowen, Architects–Engineers
- from the Informal Minutes Of Greenville City Council
City Seal adopted this March 20, 1973
1949 City Seal
It is obvious that only a few of the many outstanding characteristics of
Greenville could be incorporated in a seal design. The designer selected the
following as symbolic of the city: Industry, Location and Climate, the Bright
Outlook of the future.
Industry. The industrial buildings represent the great industrial strength and
progressive nature of the city. . .the many type of enterprises, too numerous to
show in detail. However, the designer felt that textiles have played a major
role in the expansion of Greenville during the past eighty years. For this
reason, the woman in the long flowing robe was placed in the dominant position
in the design as she proudly faces the city which has grown into the textile
center of the South.
Location and Climate. Paris Mountain overlooking the city is a familiar scene to
every native as well as many visitors to Greenville. No picture of Greenville
could be complete without Paris Mountain in the background. The clear morning
sun rise is significant of the mild southern climate. Also, the rising sun
symbolizes the dawn of a new era. With it comes the assurance of the continued
growth, expansion and prosperity of this great city.
– from the Minutes of Greenville City Council
City Seal adopted this May 17, 1949
There are no extant records with an official description of the City Seal of
1869. City Council commissioned Thomas Stephen Powell, who in collaboration with
William H. Watson, was to create a seal for the City. The following quotes are
from Powell’s journal.
"I awoke early but as Mr. W. showed no disposition to get up, I did not do so, &
in consequence, soon after we rose (after 6 o’clk a.m.) Miss Sarah summoned us
to breakfast; after eating which I went to Gower, Cox & Markley’s to get Mr.
W.’s sketch for a seal for the City of Greenville, S.C. but Mr. Gower not being
(not expected soon to be) there, I went (by a long circuitous route) to his
present abode, where, after a few minutes delay, I saw and received from him
said sketch with which I returned to Mr. Watson’s store, and then, at his
instigation, I went to Mr. Bursey, for the loan of a view of the 'Greenville
Falls' (to be introduced into said seal), which I obtained, and returning to Mr.
Watson’s I set to work, at 8 ½ past o’clk or thereabout, at making out an
altered copy of sketch, enlarged from two to four inches’ diameter, at which,
excepting the interval during which we dined (about or after 2 o’clk p.m.) Mr.
W. and I alternately worked (he doing the most) till 5 ½ past o’clk P.M. when
having brought it to a condition fit for transferring, we quit, and I brought it
home, coming up the river & through Westfield’s (late McBee’s) farm . . . ."
– June 7, 1869
"I attended to my morning duties as usual, & afterward left, at 8 o’clk a.m. for
the village; went first to Mr. Watson’s store, where he contemplated & praised
my Seal drawing, while doing which Miss Sarah came in and also praised it. Mr.
W. requested me to add some Bees to the hive & put some touches on the sheaf of
wheat, etc. after which I went, at somewhere near 9 o’clk a.m. up to Mr.
Bursey’s photographic Rooms where I remained till 12 o’clk M while he fixed his
traps, made two negatives of my drawing, from one of which he attempted a print,
which was distinct though pale. We showed Mr. O.A. Pickle the photographs which
he professed to like, but proposed ‘South Carolina or S.C. and 1869', to be put
upon it . . . ."
– June 10, 1869 from Thomas Stephen Powell
Portraitist of Greenville District Greenville County Museum of Art