The Kress building, formerly known as the S.H. Kress & Company Building, was originally constructed in 1931 for use as one of the hundreds of Kress & Co. 5-10-25 Cent Stores nationwide. The building’s then popular art deco style is typical for Kress buildings throughout the country. The structure itself is protected by a conservation easement donated to the Historic Charleston Foundation in 2004.
S.H. Kress & Co. published an ad in The News and Courier on May 15, 1931, announcing their Charleston grand opening events, which stated the following:
“Kress Stores are built and will continue to be built by our customers –the public. There’s no borrowed money used—no bonds—no mortgages—no stock sold for the purpose of such expansion… It would be foolish to build a building of such character and offer values inferior to those that could be bought elsewhere…”
- The building was featured in a 1983 calendar entitled “On Main Street,” published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- S.H. Kress & Co. began acquiring the present site in early 1930, combining three pieces of property into one.
- The building was most likely designed by the architectural department of S.H. Kress & Co.
- Protestors staged Charleston’s first sit-in demonstration at the store’s lunch counter on April 1, 1960.
- G.A. Miller, Inc., builders from Tampa, Florida who constructed the Charleston Kress, published an ad stating “In our association with S.H. Kress & Co. as builders of their new stores, we are greatly impressed by their unswerving policy to embody in their buildings only the finest materials and most advanced types of equipment.”
*Facts derived from archives supplied by The Post & Courier’s Libby Wilder.