“One of Rock Hill first lots, this was originally used to house the early merchants store of Allen & Barber.”
City Directories and History: The Woolworth Building was demolished in 2014-15 due to structural damages. Lots 5 & 6 North—Purchased from A. T. Black on October 1, 1867, for $400, by Captain W. L. Roddey. Sold by Captain Roddey on December 12, 1868 to Ferguson H. Barber, formerly of Chester District, S. C. The front footage of these two lots was 136’, and the depth, 212’. On Lot 5 Mr. Barber, a merchant, built a large frame storehouse in 1869. Then, on March 3, 1870, he took into partnership John R. Allen, formerly of Chester, S. C., and they operated there the firm of Allen and Barber. At about the same time Mr. Barber erected his large frame residence on the adjoining Lot 6. The writer would like to share this insight with any serious student of Rock Hill history, particularly the history of the original downtown area. The western property line of F. H. Barber’s Lots 5 & 6 has remained the same line since it was laid down by ‘Squire John Roddey in 1851, and as far as the writer knows, that property line remains the same today. It can, therefore, be used as a reliable point of reference in measuring other places of property on the north side of East Main Street. To describe this line in a more familiar way, we may say that it is the line between the former McCrory’s store and the former People’s National Bank building to the west.
John R. Allen was formerly a stagecoach driver and postmaster at Chester, S. C. In 1870 he was elected the first intendant (mayor) of Rock Hill. When Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Barber decided after a few years to build a larger residence on their lot at the southeast corner of Main and Hampton streets, Mr. and Mrs. John R. Allen acquired Mr. Barber’s former house located on Lot 6 and lived there until Mr. Allen’s death, after which Mrs. Allen erected a large residence in the western area of Rock Hill on property that had originally belonged to Alexander Templeton Black. In fact, Mrs. Allen’s property here was known at the time as “the old A. T. Black home place tract.” It was situated on what is today Allen Street, and formerly known as “the old York Road.”
On August 8, 1899, Mrs. Eliza A. Allen and the Barber interests sold 56’ off the western Lot 5 to Mrs. Della A. Sadler. Then on
January 11, 1901, Mrs. Sadler sold the lot to James S. White. (The Herald reported on Jan. 16, 1901 -“The Allen and Barber lot on Main St., has been bought by Mr. James White.) An item from the Rock Hill Herald of March 27, 1901, had this to say: “Work on the J. S. White block on Main street was commenced Monday morning by Mr. A. D. Holler, who has the contract. The building will be two stories in height and will be provided with two store-rooms, each 29 by 100 feet. Both the rooms will be occupied by the Rock Hill Supply Co., and it is their intention to move into the new building September 1st.” Mr. White had paid $3,360 for the lot. In later years this building was occupied for a long time by McCrory Stores Corporation and is still standing today.
The remaining two portions of Lots 5 and 6 North were sold as two units. On December 10, 1904, F. H. Barber and E. W. Hall, executors of Mrs. John R. Allen, conveyed 34 7/12’ to William Cosby White and James S. White, for $2,766.67. The second part of the remaining land was sold in May, 1912, by James A. Barber and Amie B. Sykes, the Barber heirs, to John T. Roddey [this is John T. Roddey, Sr., formerly mayor of Rock Hill], for $4,000. The lot measured 25’ by 210’ and included an alley of 9.5’ between the two tracts cited herein. After the passage of several years, a large brick building was erected on the combined portions, and included the enclosed alley between the McCrory building and this new structure. This small area on the western side
of the building housed a jewelry store and was rental property. The newly erected building was occupied by F. W. Woolworth Company for many years.
When the congregation of St. John’s Methodist Church wanted to erect their new building on the northwestern corner of Main and Caldwell streets in 1897, there was a great deal of swapping of property in order to put together enough land for a large church structure. Barber and Allen sold 11.5’ from their holdings to the church officers. As may be seen from adding together these divided portions of Lots 5 and , their sum equals the original front dimensions of Lots 5 and 6: 136’ (56+34+25+10+11=136).
We should mention here that in December, 1894, the Allen and Barber storehouse, then occupied by J. H. McFadden & Company, dealers in furniture, buggies, carriages, wagons, and the residence next door of Mrs. John R. Allen were destroyed by fire. Mrs. Allen occupied the house, together with the following boarders: W. J. Cherry, E. W. Hall (Mrs. Allen’s nephew), W. H. Ross, and D. P. Steele. All these lost their possessions as a result of the fire, which damaged the western wall of the Methodist Church (St. Johns), which was located a few feet from Mrs. Allen’s residence, on the adjoining lot (Lot 7 North).
The Herald reported on Dec. 30, 1896 – “The blackened remains of the Allen house on Main Street are being torn down.”
The Herald reported on Feb. 1, 1902 – “That A.W. Ruff, R.E. Poag, and J.S. White have applied for a charter for the Home Savings and Loan Company.”
The RH Record reported on July 15, 1907 – “Mr. Hugh White, the architect, is moving into the room in the White Building formerly occupied by W.G. Reid and Son.”
The Herald reported Jan. 22, 1935 – “Rebuilding the Main Street store occupied by F.W. Woolworth Co., which was recently destroyed by fire, is now getting underway. They have not been operating since the fire but will reopen once the building is completed. The building is the property of the J.T. Roddey estate. It will be 155 ft long, or about 30 ft., longer than the store that burned. Dick Deas is in general supervision of the construction. The building will be one sotrey of brick.”
The Herald Newspaper printed an update on the status of the Woolworth Building; http://www.heraldonline.com/
The Herald ran an add on April 11, 1925 – “For Our Building Loan Association located over Cranford’s Store, in the James S. White building. Officers were B.M. Fewell, Pres., M.H. Sandifer, Sec-Tres., and J.S. White – Active V.P.
The Herald reported on May 5, 1925 – “That Moore – Sykes Company opened their doors on May 1st in the former Rock Hill Supply Company on Main Street. The partners are F.H. Moore and J.B. Sykes. The staff includes: Barber Sykes, Mrs. Fennell Craig, Ms. Cornelia Steele, Mrs. V.A. Rodden, Mrs. H. H Chambers. In the rear is the millinery parlor of Bon Ton Millinery composed of Ms. Minnie O’Neal and Ms. Fannie Allen.”
It was reported to R&R by Sara Gettys “that Barber Sykes married a Ms. Moore and lived on the corner of Oakland and Sumter Streets.”
The Herald reported on June 27, 1906 – a salvage sale of the stock of R.W. Cranford and business.
The Rock Hill Record on Feb. 12, 1907 reported, “Mr. R.W. Cranford has bought out the interest of Mr. S.E. True in the R.W. Cranford and Co., and will now be the sole owner. Mr. Cranford has been in the city for six years.”
The Herald reported March 19, 1914 – “Prudential Life Insurance Company with A.H. Blanton, as District Manager. The office was located over the Rock Hill Supply Company.”
The Record reported March 21, 1927 – “The Rock Hill Supply Company is in the hands of a receiver. Walter M. Dunlap has been named receiver. This was a great surprise, it is an old institution and believed to be solid.”
The Herald reported on April 2, 1935 – “Woolworth’s will open for business this Thursday in the old location, but in a new store building which has been erected to replace the building swept away by fire last December. The building has a new brick and glass front, and is 30 feet longer than the old store. Mr. C. W. Pope is the manager. Woolworth’s first located in Rock Hill in 1917 and has done business since then, except for the past several months following the fire. R. H. Deas is the General Contractor. The firms involved in the construction include: J. O. Roberts & Sons, Painting and Decorating; Catawba Lumber Co., all construction materials; H. G. Cronister (Carolina Avenue), metal roof; Starnes Plumbing (E. White Street), heating plant; C. W. Howie, plumbing; Marshall Hardware, paint and glass; Independent Insurance Agency, J. D. Steed, Manager (Hampton Street), insurance. The building is the property of the John T. Roddey Estate. After the fire, the huge cellar was cleared out, debris removed, and a new foundation was laid.”
Click on the More Information > link found below the picture column for additional data on John R. Allen and others who made Rock Hill a success story.
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[Information provided via Along the Land’s Ford Road – Vol. I, 2008 by William B. White, Jr.]
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