Greenville in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Eugenia Duke Bridge
Honoring a Greenville Legend
Founder of Dukes Mayonnaise & Duke Sandwich Co.
Eugenia Thomas Slade Duke is born on October 20, 1881 in Columbus, Georgia. She marries Harry Cuthbert Duke on April 30, 1900. Together with their only child, Martha, the family moves to Greenville in 1917.
The United States enters World War I, and an influx of soldiers arrives in Greenville to train at Camp Sevier. Wanting to give the soldiers a taste of home, Eugenia launches Duke Sandwich Company three years before women gained the right to vote.
Eugenia's chicken salad, egg salad and pimento cheese sandwiches are a hit, selling for a dime a piece. After her 10,000th sandwich sale, Eugenia invests in her first delivery truck.
After the war ends, Eugenia begins selling her sandwiches at local drug stores, including Carpenter Brothers, Community Drug Store and Greenville Pharmacy.
Eugenia converts the first floor of Greenville's historic Ottaray Hotel (where the Hyatt stands today) into Duke's Tea Room where she sells her sandwiches and a variety of side dishes.
At the urging of her top salesman, C.B. Boyd, Eugenia opens an
Duke's Mayonnaise is a big success, so Eugenia decides to sell the sandwich company to her accountant, Alan Hart, to focus her attention solely on the mayonnaise business.
Eugenia sells her mayonnaise recipe to the Virginia-based C.F. Sauer Company, serving as the company's spokeswoman until relocating to California to be closer to her daughter and grandchild.
Always the businesswoman, Eugenia revives her sandwich enterprise in California, under the aptly named Duchess Sandwich Company.
Throughout the 1960s, The C.F. Sauer Company continues to grow Duke's distribution and popularity, developing it into the brand you know and love today.
In 1964, Alan Hart sells Duke Sandwich Company to his wife's brother, Loran Smart, who modifies a machine to automatically wrap the sandwiches.
Eugenia Duke dies on February 26, 1968, in Alameda, California at the age of 86. She is buried in Oakland, California.
In 1978, Loran Smart's son, Richard Smart, establishes several restaurant locations in the Upstate.
The products bearing Eugenia Duke's name are as popular today as they
As the third generation leads into the next centennial, Andrew Smart of Duke Brands, the parent company of Duke Sandwich Company and Duke Foods, is proud to sponsor the dedication of the Eugenia Duke Bridge.
May Eugenia's story and this bridge be inspirations to the people of Greenville for generations to come.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Women. A significant historical year for this entry is 1917.
Location. 34° 50.781′ N, 82° 24.116′ W. Marker is in Greenville, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of South Main Street and Japanese Dogwood Lane, on the right when traveling south. Marker is mounted at waist-level near the west end of the Eugenia Duke foot bridge, a pedestrian crossing on the Reedy River. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Greenville SC 29601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wyche Pavilion (within shouting distance of this marker); Buck Mickel (within shouting distance of this marker); The "Swamp Rabbit" Railroad (within shouting distance of this marker); About 1765 (within shouting distance of this marker); Thomas C. Gower Bridge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Falls Cottage Dr. Charles Hard Townes (about 400 feet away); Welcome to Falls Park (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenville.
Also see . . .
1. Duke Foods History. Our founder Eugenia Duke made her reputation as a businesswoman before women even had the right to vote, selling homemade sandwiches on the streets of downtown Greenville, South Carolina for a dime a piece. Her deliciously simple spreads tasted “like home” to soldiers who were far from it, and her signature chicken salad, egg salad and pimento cheese recipes delighted millworkers and dandies alike. (Submitted on June 14, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Worth The Whisk: How The Woman Behind Duke's Mayo Became A Tycoon. Duke was also active in public life. She was involved in the push to pass the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote in 1920. Yet, she was modest about her success. In the same year that she was finally able to cast a ballot, Duke listed her occupation as "none" on the 1920 census, even though her sandwich business had been thriving for nearly three years. (Submitted on March 12, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 12, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 11, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 575 times since then and 111 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 14, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.