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Greenville in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Cigar Factory
On Court Street Behind the Historic Chamber of Commerce Building
 
Cigar Factory Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, February 20, 2010
1. Cigar Factory Marker
 
Inscription.
By 1906 the factory employed 400 girls at the wage of $60.00 per month.

By November 1907 the factory was turning out 1 million cigars a month.

The land was purchased for $2,000.00 and built at the site of Richard Pearis home.
 
Location. 34° 50.6′ N, 82° 24.5′ W. Marker is in Greenville, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker is on South Main (Pendleton) Street (South Carolina Route 124). Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Greenville SC 29601, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Trains (within shouting distance of this marker); Allen Temple AME Church Bell (about 600 feet away, in a direct line); Clay Buchholz (about 700 feet away); Jim Rice (about 700 feet away); Tommy Lasorda (about 700 feet away); Lou Brissie (about 700 feet away); Al Rosen (about 700 feet away); Joe Anders (about 700 feet away); Chino Smith (about 700 feet away); Nolan Ryan (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Greenville.
 
More about this marker. The marker is located on South Main Street, across from the north side of Flour Stadium. The American Cigar Factory is located on Court Square, east of the Old Chamber of Commerce building.

The American Cigar Company was a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Tobacco Company.
 
Cigar Factory Marker -<br>Looking East along South Main (Pendleton) Street Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, February 20, 2010
2. Cigar Factory Marker -
Looking East along South Main (Pendleton) Street
 

 
Also see . . .
1. American Cigar Factory. The American Cigar Factory was one of the largest brick buildings in Greenville when it was constructed ca. 1902 by the American Improvement Company. (Submitted on March 5, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. American Cigar Company, Norfolk, VA. Photos of the American Cigar Factory in Norfolk, Virginia. (Submitted on March 6, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. American Cigar Company, Richmond, VA. Photos of the American Cigar Company, Richmond, Virginia. (Submitted on March 6, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

4. American Cigar Company, Charleston, SC. Newly renovated into apartment living, includes photos of the building. (Submitted on March 6, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. American Cigar Factory
Description: The four-story, rectangular brick building was built ca. 1902 by the American Improvement Company. The doors and windows have segmental arch openings. Each of the segmental arched window openings contains two double-hung sash windows that are divided by mullions and have six-over-nine lights. The low pitched gable roof has a projecting eave supported by large tile beams and sleepers. The interior consists of large open areas on each floor with few partitions. The floors are supported by wooden posts.

Significance:
 
National Register of<br>Historic Places Medallion Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, February 20, 2010
3. National Register of
Historic Places Medallion
 
The American Cigar Factory was one of the largest brick buildings in Greenville when it was constructed ca. 192 by the American Improvement Company. This building was one of five factories the American Cigar Company located in the South. Situated in the heart of the central business district, it employed 150 girls and young women when it began production. On 23 November 1903 The State newspaper reported that the American Cigar Factory was "gradually and surely developing its usefulness as an industrial feature of this city. Two hundred and fifty girls and young women have been given employment and every day there are some added to this number..." The American Cigar Factory represents the type of business and factory diversity that Greenville attracted at the turn of the century. It is one of the largest brick masonry buildings remaining in the downtown area and reflects the industrial growth of Greenville at the turn of the century. The Stone Manufacturing Company, a clothing firm which presently used the building for storage, plans to adapt it for office space. (Source: National Register nomination form.)
    — Submitted March 5, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

2. American Cigar Factory
The site of the cigar factory occupies lots 10 and 11 of the original town plan laid
 
American Cigar Factory -<br>West Facade Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, February 20, 2010
4. American Cigar Factory -
West Facade
 
out by Lemuel Alston in 1797. Several homes must have stood on the property before a blacksmith built his shop on the corner of East Court and Falls Streets by the mid-1880s. A mule shed was added by 1888 on the site where the American Cigar Factory would be built. By then the street became a thoroughfare for businessmen to haul their goods to the freight warehouse and depot at the end of the railroad line just to the east.

At the turn of the century, Greenville's economy was dominated by textiles. Local leaders looked to the burgeoning cigar industry to expand the city's business profile and contracted J.E. Sirrine to build a large brick building on the northwest corner of East Court and Falls Streets in 1903 (a year later the Salvation Army opened its Greenville work in a tent next to the cigar factory). The four-story building was 137 feet by 60 feet and was one of the largest structures in the city at the time (the Camperdown and Huguenot mills were only two stories). The American Cigar Company came to Greenville with high expectations from locals. Besides diversifying Greenville's economy, the factory also opened up employment for hundreds of women to hand roll the cigars. Soon after opening, employees reached an astounding output of nearly half a million cigars per week. By 1909, the City Directory lists that Seidenberg & Co. took over the facility. The Seidenbergs
 
American Cigar Factory -<br>Southeast Corner Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, February 20, 2010
5. American Cigar Factory -
Southeast Corner
 
began their company in Key West and were the first to import tobacco into the United States and manufacturer Havana cigars.

After almost three decades of production, financial difficulties brought on by the Great Depression caused the factory to shut down. Soon the Piedmont Shirt Company moved in, bringing the building into the realm of the city's buoyant textile industry. Apparel production continued a decade later when Stone Manufacturing took over the building.

As the business continued to grow, Stone needed to relocate to a new, larger facility. Furthermore, the working conditions at the old cigar factory were extremely difficult in the summer heat. -- as they had been for local textile mills since their inception. Stone's new facility at Webster and Calvin Streets in 1948 became the first air-conditioned and heated garment factory in the city. Maxon Shirt Corp took over the East Court Street plant for a number of years until Stone Manufacturing reoccupied it in 1958 with needs for additional production facilities.

The old cigar factory was vacated in 1994. Three years later, textile mogul Mark Kent bought it and invested over $4 million in renovations. Today the building (with modern additions) is on the National Register of Historic Places and houses office and restaurant space. (Source: A Guide to Historic Greenville, South Carolina by John
 
East Skyline of Downtown Greenville Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, February 20, 2010
6. East Skyline of Downtown Greenville
From Left to Right: Old Chamber of Commerce Building, Westin Poinsett Hotel, American Cigar Factory
 
M. Nolan (2008) pgs 68-70.)
    — Submitted March 6, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

 
Credits. This page originally submitted on March 5, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,552 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 5, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
 
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