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Jordan honored for documenting old post office for National Register

Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rose Marie Cooper Jordan, the architect of documenting the old Greer Post Office for its inclusion to the National Register, was honored with the Community Service Award by the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Greer Heritage Museum.

“The award is for less than five years work so Rose Marie was honored for the post office,” Joada Hiatt, Director of the Greer Heritage Museum, said. “I wrote about the museum on the nomination letter but also said this was a continuation project.”

Jordan will be also be featured in an upcoming issue of the D.A.R. magazine that covers subjects of American history, historic preservation, patriotism, genealogy and education.

The past 14 years of Jordan’s life has led to her documenting the Greer Downtown Historic District centered along Trade Street and additional landmarks on East Poinsett, Randall, Victoria and North Main streets. Hiatt said she also documented on the recommendation Jordan’s meticulous work getting the Greer Historic District designation previous to her research on the post office.

Jordan spent three years just to complete the post office nomination that was listed on the National Register on Jan. 31. 

Glenn Pace, City Planning and Zoning Coordinator, and among Jordan’s allies helping to research the historic buildings in Greer, formally presented the National Register marker to City Council in April and to Hiatt at the Greer Heritage Museum in May. 

"Rose Marie has done such a good job listing all the historic buildings in Greer," Pace said. "The award reflects all that she has done." 

Hiatt remembers when Jordan would visit the former museum seeking information on the historic district. “She gets all the credit,” Hiatt said. “She would hit some stumbling blocks but this all was a one-person show. She deserves the award.”

Jordan said when the National Register appeared, “I was given an opportunity, a chance to complete an historic and epic task that would encourage people to recognize the significance of our downtown buildings and to honor the architects, contractors and businesses of the past.”

The documentation of the post office, stored in the South Carolina Department of Archives and History in Columbia, best describes Jordan’s persistent but patient pursuit of the process. Her research filled 34 pages of typed notes, including rare photographs of the post office's construction unearthed from National Archives at Atlanta and oral histories told by lifelong Greer residents.

In 1964, the post office was moved to a leased building three blocks north at 106 Main Street, and the empty building was sold to the city of Greer for $16,000 cash.

Jordan’s interest into the preservation of Greer’s historic district started inauspiciously.  She was inquiring how to honor architect Thomas Keating for his design of buildings in Greenville and Spartanburg counties between 1903-1915. The R.L. Merchant Building (200 Trade), Reese Building (217 Trade) and the Belk-Kirkpatrick Building (104-106 Trade) were among Keating’s designs. He also designed his own house at 213 North Main.

A survey Jordan acquired during her research into Keating’s life led to a list of 42 downtown buildings that were described as a possible historic district. A hand drawn map by Jordan with buildings numbered and their ratings began her trek into Greer’s past that is now listed as the Greer Downtown Historic District.

• A brochure of the Greer Downtown Historic District, as listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is available at the Greer Heritage Museum at 106 South Main Street. Call 877-3377 for more information.

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