City Directories and History: 1908 – Smith and Fewell Co. or A.E. Smith and Co.,, 1917 – Efird’s Department Store, 1946 – NA, 1963 – Melville’s Women’s Clothing (1946 – 1963: Leader’s Store, Ben Leader – Manager, Mirian P. Leader, Bookkeeper)
This building was constructed in the late 19th century under Architect, Hugh Edward White (1869 – 1939), born in Fort Mill, S.C. he attended Fort Mill Academy and started his practice in about 1894. Remained in Rock Hill until about 1903 and later returned to work. In the 1890’s
he worked in an architectural firm in Atlanta. Between 1903-1918 he was a field supervisor of the Supt. Architect Dept. of the Treasury. For about three years 1918-21, he was employed with Charles Coker Wilson in Columbia or Gastonia, N.C.
The Rock Hill Record reported, March 26, 1913 – “The Smith Building on Main Street has been leased by the Efird’s, successful merchants who run a chain of dept. stores in N.C., and they will open business here as soon as the necessary changes can be made in the building. Architect N.G. Walker has made the plans for the improvement.”
The Herald reported on Aug 27, 1914 – “that Mr. J.W. Efird is manager of the Rock Hill store of the Efird Chain. His brothers manage the other stores.”
The Herald reported Sept. 7, 1939 – “That Melville’s, a new Main Street ladies shop, is to open tomorrow. It is situated in the Smith Building, formerly occupied by Sterchi Brothers Stores. Ben Leader will be the manager. There are other branches in Shelby and Hickory.” (Mr. and Mrs. Ben Leader, prominent Rock Hillian’s managed and operated the Nelville Shop for decades, in 1963 the Leader’s remain active managers of the store.)
Also see Lot #2 – North
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