1530 Main Street1530 Main Street
Canal Dime Savings Bank
On November 14, 1893, The State newspaper reported, “The new granite-front building of the Canal Dime Savings Bank has been finished and is now ready for occupancy. The building is a great addition to the appearance of Main Street, and its imposing front is a standing testimonial to the merits of Columbia granite as a building stone.” Despite looking rustic, the building featured “all modern conveniences,” including electric call bells, annunciators, “fancy lamps, combination gas and electric light fixtures.” The efforts of architects W.B. Smith Whaley and Gadsden Shand, working in the Richardsonian Romanesque style had resulted in an instant landmark for Main Street.
While the bank would occupy the first story, the Cherokee Club, a 100-member private social club, became the tenant for the upper stories, which were outfitted with expensive oak and cherry trim wood trim and fireplaces with colored tiles. Second-story rooms included a parlor and library and further spaces, which were divided by parterres that could be opened to form one of the “prettiest and coziest” dance halls in the city. Third-story club spaces featured a room with “a complete assortment of billiard and pool tables, all of the latest patterns.”
After the Canal Dime Savings Bank closed in 1898, three other banks owned and operated this building until 1936. From then until the mid-1990s it housed Eckerd's Drug Store. In March 1960, Eckerd’s was the location of a lunch counter demonstration by African American Civil Rights activists. Inspired by four students from North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina, young protestors, like Allen University student Simon Bouie persuaded Eckerd’s to serve African American customers by August 1962 and lay the foundation for the ultimate downfall of segregation in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
A generation later, the physical changes that Eckerd’s and other tenants had made to the building were largely reversed, when its façade was returned in 1996 to more closely match the structure’s original appearance. Today, this property is used for both residential and commercial uses and ranks as one of Main Street’s first properties to benefit from Columbia's urban renaissance.