101 and 103 Trade Street
According to The South Carolina Architects 1885-1935: A Bibliographical Dictionary by John Wells and Robert Dalton, the lovely two-story wedge-shaped brick building that now stands in this space was designed by Greenville architects James Douthit Beacham and Leon LeGrand in the Neoclassical Revival style, with eight arched windows with keystones, stone water table, built-up roof with cornice and balustrade, and Flemish bond brick pattern.
1898-1904: open space
- The 1898 Sanborn Fire map shows that this is part of the yard of the Marchant House, located on the corner of Trade and Victoria.
1907: Planters Savings Bank (Citizen's Building and Loan Association)
- An early photo (see 110 E Poinsett) shows a 1-story brick building on the corner; it was the first built of the three buildings listed below. According to the CBL website in June of 2020, "Founded in 1907, Citizens Building and Loan first opened its doors in the B.A. Bennett building." It's unlikely that both statements are true; if they were in this location in 1907, they were located in this earlier, smaller building. The bank name game can be very hard to follow; it appears that Planters absorbed First National Bank of Greer during the Great Depression. The First National was restructured and opened a small office down the street at 115 Trade, and apparently became the CBL at a later date. There are almost certainly some details of that history that are incorrect.
1911: Bank and C. W. Drace, photographer
- The 1911 map shows three brick buildings in a row:
- on the corner, a 1-story brick building labeled "Bank" (the space now identified as 101 Trade).
- Immediately beside it, a 2-story brick building labeled "photographer." We know from photographs that this was the store of Charles "Mister Charlie" Drace.
- To the south was a store that housed a butcher in the front and a bottler in the back.
- The first two (the bank and Drace) were replaced by the now-Bennett building. The third, to the south, is the now-empty lot that serves as a patio for the restaurant in 109 (Los Portales, as of 6/2020).
c. 1925: Planters Savings Bank
- The new building, which replaced the old 1-story bank and 2-story Drace photo studio, is the now-iconic brick structure by Beacham and LeGrand (see architecture note, above). A photo from the period shows that this was now the home of the Planters Savings Bank.
c. 1930: First National Bank of Greer?
- The 1930 map also lists the space as a "bank."
- The Great Depression led to the demise of the First National Bank of Greer, and it was absorbed by Planters Savings Bank on May 8, 1930. However, we are unclear on the details of that history. This building came to be known as the First National Bank of Greer building, and some documents refer to First National being restructured. Around 1960 a new, small First National building appears just down the street at 117 Trade; and, at some point, B. A. Bennett took the space.
- The 1951 map now lists the space as "office." This is likely B. A. Bennett.
1949-1972 – Citizen's Building and Loan, and B.A. Bennett & Co.
- The 1949, 1955, 1959 and 1969 city directories list both occupants for the 101-103 address.
- Citizen's Building and Loan moved to 117 Trade Street in 1972.
- B.A. Bennett remained in the space.
1997 – still B.A. Bennett & Co. insurance
- The span of years that Bennett Insurance occupied the building is not yet identified; however, they are listed as the current resident in the 1997 application for the downtown historic district.
- On July 9, 2019, Greer’s Board of Architectural Review approved a renovation plan to add rooftop seating and prepare the building for use as a restaurant. The renovations would have left the exterior facade intact, and the rooftop structures set back such that they would not be visible from the street. See the Greer Development release. At that time, no tenant had been arranged. A year later, renovation had slowed or stopped, and the rooftop development did not happen.
2021 – Barista Alley
- Barista Alley, a coffee shop located at 125 E. Poinsett, picked up and completed renovations. They moved locations and opened for business in the Bennett Building on August 20, 2021.