“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Greenville in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store

Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 20, 2010
1. Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store Marker
The National Register
of Historic Places:
Stradley and Barr
Dry Goods Store

Erected 2008.
Location. 34° 51.017′ N, 82° 23.95′ W. Marker is in Greenville, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker is on South Main Street south of West Washington Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14 South Main Street, Greenville SC 29601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sterling High School Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); South Carolina's First National Bank (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named South Carolina's First National Bank (about 300 feet away); Poinsett's Spring (about 500 feet away); Joel Roberts Poinsett (about 600 feet away); The Old Record Building (about 600 feet away); Vardry McBee (about 600 feet away); Downtown Baptist Church
Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store Facade image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 20, 2010
2. Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store Facade
(about 600 feet away); McKay Memorial Chapel (part of First Presbyterian Church) (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named Joel Roberts Poinsett (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenville.
Also see . . .
1. Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store. The Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store is significant as an excellent and largely intact example of late nineteenth century Romanesque Revival commercial architecture. (Submitted on March 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store. Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store in Greenville, South Carolina was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. (Submitted on March 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. 14 South Main by Central Location for Essential Business. Aunt Amelia sat hunched over the old Singer sewing machine each afternoon, in the time between lunch and supper. (Submitted on March 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
Additional comments.
1. Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store
The Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store, at 14 South Main Street, Greenville, was built ca. 1898 and is an excellent example of Romanesque Revival commercial architecture of the period.

The store is a three-story-with-basement brick building situated on a small city lot in the South Main Street commercial corridor that emerged as the heart of downtown Greenville’s business district in the late and early twentieth centuries.

This building features many architectural elements and details typical of the Romanesque Revival style. Among the most notable are its prominent elongated windows lined and arched on the second and third floors; they are deeply recessed into the masonry walls with the selective use of stone cushion capitals between the fenestration. The second floor windows are capped with granite flat arches, while the third floor windows feature ashlar round arches. Granite lintels and patterned brickwork further accent these windows. Belt courses emphasize the division of the upper floors. The top of the building has a distinctive stone and masonry parapet with dentils and the original flagstaff. Beneath the parapet and running the entire length of the facade are small inset stone arches and Doric columns accenting the building’s handsome exterior. The original storefront consisted of prominent squared-stone masonry; it was removed ca. 1958 when The Dollar Stone moved into the building and replaced the original storefront with a more modern glass and metal storefront.

There is some minimal evidence remaining of an earlier and smaller building on this lot—the T.W. Davis Dry Goods Store—which was acquired by George T. Barr and C.D. Stradley in 1882 or 1883 when they founded their dry goods business. Ghost lines of an earlier roof and parapet and a different type of brick from the present building remain, though the T.W. Davis Dry Goods Store was essentially demolished when the Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store was built ca. 1898. The Sanborn Fire Insurance Company maps for Greenville in 1884, 1888, and 1893 show the ca. 1883 building which was the first location of Stradley and Barr Dry Goods, and the 1898 Sanborn Fire Insurance Company map shows the present building. An adjacent lot was acquired from Henry Shumate and this building was constructed at a cost of $11,000.00 on the lots formerly owned by T.W. Davis and Henry Shumate. According to George T. Barr, he designed the building himself.

The interior of the building is characterized by exposed masonry walls, pressed-metal ceilings, and turned load-bearing columns. The second and third floor windows on the south elevation were filled in with brick at an undetermined date. Hardwood floors with 2 ½”-wide boards, of an undetermined date, are on the first and second floors; older hardwood floors with random-width boards are on the third floor. 12”-high baseboard molding is present on all three floors. The pressed-metal ceilings are largely intact; ceilings are 12’ high. The original 12” egg-and-dart metal cornice is also largely intact throughout the building.

Retaining original features while accommodating modern uses was the focus of the most recent rehabilitation, completed in March 2005.

Storefront: The new storefront design was based on historic photos from the 1910s and 1930s. These photos did not provide detailed photographs of the original storefront, but provided basic design cues for recreating the storefront. The original storefront had three equally sized bays. This overall arrangement was recreated within the new storefront. The center and left bay of the storefront provide direct access to retail stores while the right bay provides access to a hallway leading to office spaces and the elevator to reach the different floors. The most prominent design features are the four granite storefront piers that divide the three bays. The design of the stone piers was taken from the historic photos. Other design features of the original storefront include transom windows, although the new windows are inoperable. Another feature taken from the original was the storefront cornice/sign board, which is now completed in copper with nine gooseneck lights lighting the storefronts. Signage for each business is located below the storefront cornice and above the transom windows providing for a clean and organized traditional 19th century storefront. Some final details that follow late 19th century storefront design are entrance doors with large single panes of glass and geometric shaped terrazzo tiles covering the doorway and first few feet of the sales floor. The new storefront combines known design elements of the original storefront with traditional elements of 19th century storefronts to create a more fitting storefront and sidewalk appearance to such a prominent building.

Basement: Originally the basement housed a second sales floor for the dry goods store. Therefore the basement had an open floor plan and was connected to the first floor sales floor by stairs. Both of these features have been retained as part of the most recent rehabilitation. The double staircase was restored and allows individuals to enter the chiropractic office in the basement from the first floor and vice versa. The open floor plan was maintained with the use of temporary screens that divide the space into treatment areas for patients. A final defining feature of the basement that was restored is the original pressed tin ceiling. The ceiling tiles run the entire length of the basement area including the center support beam, which is supported by original wooden columns.

First Floor: The first floor was the main sales floor and remains the primary retail space facing the sidewalk and Main Street. The first floor was divided into two retail spaces, which front the sidewalk and several smaller retail and office spaces located to the rear of the first floor. The two retail spaces that front the sidewalk occupies the storefront bays to the right while the left most bay provides access to a hallway that leads to the smaller retail and office spaces in the middle and rear of the first floor.

Although subdivided into smaller spaces the first floor retains its open floor plan and numerous original features. First and foremost the original ceiling heights, support columns, hardwood floors and pressed tin ceiling tiles were retained throughout the first floor. Using exposed ductwork and suspending new lights from the ceiling maintained the ceiling height. The feel of the original floor plan was maintained by minimizing the number of full height walls used to develop lease spaces.

The first floor retail spaces, fronting the sidewalk, received treatments similar to the basement. As mentioned above the double staircase that leads from the first floor to the basement was restored. New features introduced in these spaces focused on the storefront area where hexagonal shaped terrazzo tiles were used at the entrance and within the first couple of feet within the space. Other new features included the above mentioned exposed ductwork and suspended lighting.

The third bay, to the right, of the storefront provides access to the smaller retail and office spaces. This entrance was given the same treatment as the other two. It has transom windows, glass inset door and hexagonal terrazzo tiles as floor covering. After entering this hallway the tile floor ends and the original hardwood floor begins. An exposed brick wall is to the right and a new wall is to the left, to define the larger retail spaces and the hallway. The hallway curves halfway to bend around the elevator, which is in its original location. After the curve glass inset doors are located on both sides of the hallway, which allow access to the various retail and office spaces. The hallway ends at a large open area that was originally an alleyway but had been enclosed at sometime prior to this rehabilitation. The open area or commons allows a view of the rear of the building that remains uncovered.

Second Floor: Although the original uses of the second floor are unknown the new uses fit within the floor plan while minimizing their visual impact. The entirety of the second floor is office space and is occupied by one tenant. Much like the first floor many original features remained on the second floor. These included the hardwood floors, wooden support columns and pressed tin ceiling tiles. A unique architectural feature that was restored is the original elevator door surround, which is flanked by simple pilasters and topped by a classical cornice. In order to maintain the feel of the open floor plan metal and glass office walls were installed. These walls do not extend all the way to the ceiling and are completely glass on the front wall, thereby allowing a clear view of the original wall and evidence of the entire width of the space.

Third Floor: Of the entire building the third floor retained the least amount of original materials, as compared to the lower floors, however original elements are clearly visible. The original use of the third floor is presumed to have been storage, therefore providing an open floor plan with support columns running along the center of the space. Although the layout is similar to the lower floors, the roofline provides a sloping ceiling from front to back. As part of the most recent rehabilitation the third floor has been converted into a single residential unit. Although converted to a new use the original wooden columns, random width hardwood floors and baseboard moldings remain in the third floor. Additionally, the original tongue and groove ceiling boards were uncovered and restored.

The third floor was laid out as follows to accommodate a residence and maintain the open floor plan of the original use. The elevator is located at the back rear corner. From the elevator there is a large open space. To the immediate left is a wall for a bedroom. Just past the end of the wall is a large open hallway that leads to the living/kitchen area. To the right of the elevator is a small hallway that was created to house three small storage and utility rooms. Directly in front of the elevator is a small sitting room that opens on to the open space and hallway. At the turn of the hallway the front wall of the building can be seen. The original wooden columns support the roof while the random width hardwood floors remain throughout the floor. To the left of the hallway is a bedroom that was created by constructing three walls against an original exposed brick wall. To the right of the hallway is a second bedroom, which is smaller, but created in the same manner as the other bedroom. The second bedroom also contains an exposed brick wall as well as metal utility pipes. Nearing the living area/kitchen two new staircases are located to the right. The first faces the rear of the building and leads up to the newly constructed roof top terrace. The second stair faces the front of the building and leads to a small loft area/office space.

The living area/kitchen extends from the left side of the building to the new wall within the living that holds the new fireplace and flue. Although a new wall was constructed to delineate the living area and a small office space the wall does not extend to the ceiling and to the front wall. By not extending the wall vertically and horizontally the open floor plan and full height ceiling remains intact as well as a full view of the front wall of the building. There are six large-scale double hung windows placed symmetrically across the front elevation, on the third floor, and all are still visible due to the shortened wall. Other details of the living area that also extend to other areas of the residence are exposed ductwork and suspended lighting. Another architectural detail that was uncovered during the rehabilitation was a pair of square windows located at the very top of the front wall. Since it was unknown what the original windows looked like the decision was made to place stained glass within the window frames.
The final part of the third floor rehabilitation is the construction of the rooftop terrace. The roof of the building slopes from front to back and has a parapet on the front elevation. These features allowed the rooftop terrace to be hidden from sight, so that it did not change the appearance of the overall building. The rooftop terrace was placed in the center of the roof. It is set back from the front and rear elevations as well as both side elevations. The terrace was constructed from a synthetic wood product in a light grey color to assist it blending in with roof and not affect the architectural integrity of the building.

Conclusion: The former Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store stands as one of Greenville’s finest example of late nineteenth century commercial architecture. Fortunately it retains much of its original integrity of design, especially with its original hardwood floors, pressed tin ceilings and wooden columns. As important as having these architectural details is maintaining them even though the building is being adaptively reused. The retention of these details and the open floor plan of each floor provides an individual with an experience of how the Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store was in the late nineteenth century.

The Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C as an excellent and largely intact example of late nineteenth century Romanesque Revival commercial architecture. It is also significant for its role in the development and evolution of the South Main Street business district in Greenville from the late nineteenth through the mid twentieth centuries.

Built ca. 1898, this building possesses numerous architectural features typical of the Romanesque Revival style and was one of downtown Greenville’s most prominent commercial buildings when completed.
As Greenville’s economy expanded in the post-Civil War era, the South Main Street corridor became the heart of the city’s business district, including grocery stores, tobacco shops, banks, drug stores, bookstores, clothiers, and hotels. By 1876, downtown Greenville boasted thirty dry goods stores, demonstrating their viability. In 1882 George T. Barr and C.D. Stradley, clerks at the T.W. Davis Dry Goods Store, acquired Davis’s business and lot upon Davis’s retirement (Barr was Davis’s nephew by marriage), opening Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store. After they acquired an adjacent lot from Henry Shumate, they demolished the T.W. Davis Dry Goods Store and built this building at a cost of $11,000.00 ca. 1898.

Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store was one of Greenville’s most successful downtown stores in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A large ad in the 1883-1884 Greenville City and County Directory promoted “Staple and Fancy Goods, Notions, Novelties, Etc.”4 In 1898, after the U.S.S. Maine sank in Havana Harbor, leading to the Spanish-American War, Stradley and Barr ran an ad in the Greenville Mountaineer proclaiming, “The Maine has blown up, but not our prices.”

This building housed the Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store until 1919 when it became home to Efird’s Department Store. By that time George T. Barr and C.D. Stradley had dissolved their partnership, and Stradley had opened another dry goods store in Greenville at the corner of South Main Street and Coffee Street. Barr retired to Orlando, Florida, and later recalled in an interview with one of his former employees that he made more money on the sale of his building at 14 South Main Street than he did in his thirty years of merchandising.

The former store entered a new era in 1919 as Efird’s Department Store. Efird’s was a well-established and successful retailer in Greenville and their new location at 14 South Main Street gave them a strategic location in the middle of Greenville’s most desirable retail corridor. Adjacent on the north side of Efird’s was one of Greenville’s finest shoe stores, Patton, Tilman and Bruce Shoe Store, and across the street at the intersection of South Main Street and Washington Street, was the distinctive 1910 Cleveland Building which housed the Kress 5-10-25 Cent Store. The Patton, Tilmon and Bruce Shoe Store would later become Hale’s Jewelers, another well-known Greenville retail establishment. Efird’s remained at this location until 1958 when the building was sold to The Dollar Store. This coincided with Greenville’s suburban growth and a gradual decline of Main Street retail establishments as suburban shopping centers gained popularity. The building’s storefront was altered at this time with the removal of the prominent stone storefront. A contemporary glass and metal storefront was added and new awnings replaced the Efird’s awnings. The façade was painted white, obscuring the distinctive masonry and stone detailing. In 1989, the building was rehabilitated in anticipation of the adaptive use into office space and was honored by the Greenville Board of Realtors Rehabilitation Award. The 1989 rehabilitation was largely cosmetic except for tenant upfit whereas offices were added and upgraded electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems replaced the older systems. The building façade was painted a rose color scheme more closely resembling the original appearance of the Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store. By 1991, Belk Corporation owned and occupied the building as a regional administrative office. In 2003, the building was acquired by 14 South Main Street, LLC. Plans are underway for its rehabilitation as a mixed-use development with retail, office and residential uses. (Source: National Register nomination form.)
    — Submitted March 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 950 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
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