1623-1625 Main Street
Built for Julian Selby in 1866 to house the offices of his daily and triweekly newspaper The Phoenix as well as The Weekly Gleaner, this three-story structure is perhaps the oldest remaining Main Street building erected after the Civil War. Selby published the first issue of his conservative publication, “devoted to the best interests of the State,” on March 21, 1865, just weeks after the arrival of Sherman’s troops in Columbia, so that he could record the capital city's devastation and recovery. The building remained the home of The Phoenix until 1883, when it became the location of a grocery. Later uses included a boarding house, the Commercial Bank and the Knights of Pythias lodge.
Jewish merchants began operating businesses out of the structure in 1912. That year, Isidor Cassel (1872-1954) relocated I. Cassel Cigar Factory to the 1623 Main Street address, where it remained until 1952. His nephew, Jacob Solomon Bamberg (1889 - 1953), was a World War I veteran who worked for him for 28 years beginning in 1916. Cassel had immigrated from Ritschenwalde, Germany, to the United States in 1884. He joined the United States Marine Corps when he was 15 and served more than three years. He arrived in Columbia in 1892 to work for Henry Bamberg (1857-1919), a highly regarded cigar manufacturer who served as the first treasurer of the Tree of Life Congregation. In 1896, Cassel married Bamberg’s sister-in-law, Estelle “Essie” Epstin Cassel (1877-1948), and in 1901 founded his cigar factory.
Another Jewish merchant, Arnold Rivkin (1922-2008), the son of Raphael (1899-1987) and Rachel Winter Rivkin (1902-1984), purchased the building in 1977. In 1981, Rivkin moved his business, Mark’s Mens Wear, from 1338 Assembly Street to the first floor. It remained in operation until 2016, when it was sold to LTC Health Solutions. A major rehabilitation that began in 2016 connected the first story of The Phoenix building with the first story of the adjacent Robinson Building, and the second and third stories were turned into privately owned apartments.