“A leading Upcountry S.C. merchant.”
City Directories and History: The Friedheim home once stood on East Main Street where the current (2013) Rock Hill Municipal Parking lot is located next to First Presbyterian Church. Encompassing an entire city block, the house was a highly impressive structure constructed in circa 1909 and replaced the E.R. Mills home which had originally been constructed on the lot shortly after the Civil War. The new Friedheim home was designed and constructed by Julian S. Starr of Rock Hill who was actively working as a builder and architect from 1902-1931. In 1908, though he was not trained as an architect he began referring to himself as one. Perhaps his finest building was the Union High School, now 2014 the S.C. University Extension at Union.
The McElwee Store ledger of 1915-16 states that Arnold Friedheim who lived at this address and was a neighbor of Mr. Jno. McElwee also had an account at his store.
Arnold Friedheim, a young corporal in Lee’s Army with an enviable war record, came to found his store-Rock Hill’s oldest business establishment in continuous operation. Beginning with little or nothing, by his industry and integrity he built up a large business which still leads in its field. His descendants are numerous and. among our most useful citizens. The home he later built on Main Street was one of the town’s largest residences, being called “The White Palace.” It was sold to the city in the spring of 1953, and razed in July of the same year. (Information from: The City Without Cobwebs – Douglas S. Brown, 1953)
ARNOLD FRIEDHEIM – AN ARTICLE BY PAUL GETTYS AND JOHN MISKELLEY
This article is a summary of information compiled in a booklet published in 1999 on the reopening of the Friedheim Building. John Miskelley and Paul Gettys worked together to develop the publication, which was printed by Main Street Properties. The building now houses the Wells Fargo Bank.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, Rock Hill was one of a number of small railroad towns in the Carolina Piedmont. Its emergence as the largest city in the central Piedmont was due to a number of energetic leaders working hard to create a New South community. One of these was Arnold Friedheim, a German immigrant and Confederate veteran who settled in Rock Hill in 1866. Friedheim had worked in men’s clothing prior to the war in Baltimore and Salisbury, N.C., and within a few months of
coming to Rock Hill, he opened a small shop on Main Street. The business grew, and Arnold moved to a larger building in 1869. Two of his brothers, Julius and August, came to work in the business, and another brother, Louis was a veterinarian. Arnold met a young lady on a buying trip to Baltimore, and in 1870, married Miss Sophie Stengel, settling into a home on Caldwell Street.
The Yorkville Enquirer of Sept. 13, 1893 took an item from the RH News which stated, “on the north side of the CC&A Railroad track, near its southern entrance into town, behind some cottages occupied by African Americans, is the private park of Mr. Julius Friedheim. It is familiarly known as the “Pond.” It has a little lake in the center with several varieties of fish, neatly kept walks, and a green sward, of grass with five deer.” *** This is possibly the source of the current name for Pond Street, found nearby this location.
The Herald reported on Sept. 9, 1896 – “Samuel Friedheim has returned from the North where he has been buying goods for his store at Landsford.”
On April 2, 1898, a fire destroyed most of the buildings on the north side of Main Street, including Friedheim’s. The stock of goods valued at $50,000 was lost. Within two days, the Friedheim store was operating in a storage building, and construction was started within two months on a new mercantile palace like no other ever seen in Rock Hill. The brick and stone structure had a basement and three full floors of selling space. The visitor was struck immediately by the large atrium in the middle of the store, which allowed natural light from skylights to flood the entire space. The merchandise ranged from clothes for the entire family to shoes to groceries and hardware. The third floor had buggies, harnesses, and furniture, which were lifted on a large freight elevator.
The Friedheim family members became leading figures in the social, cultural, and business life of Rock Hill. In 1909, Arnold and Sophie built a showplace classical revival home on East Main Street which became known as the “White Palace.” It occupied the entire block bounded by Main, Saluda, Black, and Elizabeth Lane.
From humble beginnings, the Friedheim family built one of Rock Hill’s greatest mercantile traditions and the largest store in town. Friedheim’s lasted for 98 years, closing in 1964 after the death of Albert Friedheim, one of Arnold’s sons. The building was restored in the late 1990s by D. L. Rogers Construction Company and became home to First Union (now Wachovia) and other offices.
The Rock Hill Record reported on March 29, 1909 – “Plans have been drawn and accepted for a handsome home for the Freidheim family on their lot on East Main Street where their former home stood until destroyed by fire. The work will be done under the supervision of Dr. Louis Freidheim. The plans were drawn by Mr. Julian Starr.”
The Record reported April 12, 1923, on a car accident at the corner of East Black and Saluda Streets, last Tuesday, April 10th. Between a car driven by Ms. Alethia Fennell and one by Haywood Dunlap. Malcolm Kendrick, riding with young Dunlap was cut and scratched on the face. This is a very bad corner, the high fence around the back premises of the Friedheim cutting off the view. There have been several accidents at this corner.
The Herald reported on June 29, 1931 on the funeral of Mr. Julius Friedheim, – “the service was held at the residence on East Main Street and was conducted by Rabbi Fred Hirsch and the Rev. F.W. Gregg of First Presbyterian Church.”
The SC Architects: 185-1935, Wells and Dalton – 1992 attributed the Arnold Friedheim home constructed in 1909 to Julian S. Starr, architect.
Click on the More Information > link found below the picture column for additional data on the Friedheim-Marshall-Albright families of Rock Hill, S.C. Click on Laurelwood Cemetery Tours for his gravesite.
Click HOME to return to the numbered site tour of Rock Hill’s downtown.
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