Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store
2012 photo of the Stradley & Barr building by Bill Fitzpatrick (Wikimedia Commons)
Backstory and Context
The Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store has towered over South Main Street since around 1897. The building is three stories tall with a basement and housed the dry goods store until 1919. The Romanesque Revival brick structure features elongated arched windows on the upper two stories with granite lintels and patterned brickwork. the building is topped by a distinctive stone and masonry parapet with dentils and the original flagstaff. Beneath the parapet are inset stone arches and Doric columns. The interior is no less impressive than the exterior, with walls of exposed masonry, ceilings of pressed metal, and turned columns.
Mr. C. D. Stradley and Mr. George T. Barr were in business in Greenville by the early 1880s when they bought out the interest of a retiring partner, Mr. B. L. Landford. A newspaper ad from 1883 touted the cheap prices in their dry goods store since the men always bought their goods with cash, ran the store by themselves, and were single so had no families to support. Their motto was "Live and Let Live" which to them meant selling at the "lowest living profit." A newspaper ad in October 1897 for a millinery shop mentioned the millinery shop had just moved to 115 South Main "opposite Stradley & Barr's store." The millinery shop continued to mention this in their ads through 1900. The ads included luxury items like cashmere at $1.25 per yard, and they also carried everyday fabrics like denim and calico.
"Barr's Dry Goods" mentioned in an October 1903 ad that they were located at 114-116 Main Street, at "Stradley & Barr's old stand." It appears the partners parted ways and opened up competing dry goods shops a few blocks apart by 1903. Another dry goods stores in Greenville in 1908 was called "C. D. Stradley & Co." at 207 N. Main St. Greenville had no fewer than nine stores selling dry goods and notions by 1908, when a newspaper ad on Christmas Eve touted free train tickets to Greenville and back from any station within 40 miles (for those last-minute shoppers)!
In 1919, the building on S. Main became the location of Efird's Department Store. Efirds was a chain of department stores with 31 locations by 1922. "Stradley's" was still a store in town in 1921, touting their nearly 40 years of being in business in Greenville. It seems that Stradley outlasted his old partner, Barr. Barr laughed all the way to a retirement in Florida, though, reportedly making more money from selling the building than he'd earned in all of his years as a storeowner.
The building's ground floor commercial storefront features prominent squared-stone masonry. The modern glass and metal storefront was updated around 1958 when The Dollar Store moved into the space.
The Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. It is significant for its Victorian era architecture as an example of the Romanesque Revival style of commercial architecture at the turn of the twentieth century. The ground floor recently housed the office of Novus Advisors (an investment firm) and the shopfront of Creative Health (an herbal nutritionist which closed recently), while the upper stories are leased out as office space.
Anonymous. "Dissolution.." The Pickens Sentinel (Pickens, SC) March 29th 1883, 2-2.
Barr's Dry Goods Store. "Important to Out-of Town People." The Pickens Sentinel-Journal (Pickens, SC) October 14th 1903, 2-2.
Benedict, Robert. NRHP Nomination form Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store. Washington, SC. National Park Service, 2008.
Dishman, Lydia. 14 South Main, Central Location for Essential Business, Palmetto Preservation Works, LLC. Accessed December 4th 2019. https://www.palmettopreservationworks.com/14somaingreenvillemag.php.
Efirds. "The Efirds Chain Sale." The Dispatch-News (Lexington, SC) May 31st 1922, 5-5.
Greenville Retail Merchants Association. "Free Tickets to Greenville and Return!!." The Sentinel-Journal (Pickens, SC) December 24th 1908, 2-2.
Misses Rogers. "Moved." The People's Journal (Pickens, SC) October 14th 1897 , 2-2.
SC Dept. of Archives and History. Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store, Greenville County, National Register Properties in South Carolina. January 1st 2019. Accessed December 4th 2019. http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/greenville/S10817723063/index.htm.
Stradley, C. D., & Co.. "Christmas Goods.." The Sentinal-Journal (Pickens, SC) December 10th 1908, 7-7.
Stradley and Barr. "Stradley & Barr, Greenville, S.C.." The Pickens Sentinel (Pickens, SC) June 14th 1883, 2-2.
Stradley and Barr. "Stradley & Barr, Greenville, S. C.." The Easley Messenger (Easley, S.C.) August 1st 1884, 3-3.
Stradley's. "Nearly Forty Years in Business in Greenville." The Pickens Sentinel (Pickens, SC) November 3rd 1921, 5-5.