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Storefronts have local connection

  • Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dawn Book stands beside a special storefront on Main Street in Kingstree. Book’s daughter, Beth Smith, recently discovered the storefront is one of several that were produced by Mesker & Co. of Evansville, Indiana, which is the childhood home of Ms. Book. PHOTO BY NATHAN ELLIOT

Mesker & Co. is a prominent business specializing in building and constructing both storefronts and metal doors that operates out of Evansville, Indiana. So when long-time Kingstree resident Beth Smith and her mother Dawn Book noticed the company’s insignia on some of the buildings around town, the two were shocked to discover where these storefronts had come from. The reason behind their amazement was the fact that her mother was born and raised in Evansville.

After the discovery Smith began to search around Kingstree, and to her surprise, she discovered three buildings in town constructed by Mesker & Co, and are all within walking distance of each other.

Mrs. Book was surprised when she realized Mesker & Co. had played such a big role in the architecture of Kingstree. “I was surprised when I finally realized that the storefronts on Main Street were made in my hometown,” said Book. “I’ve lived here since 1965 and only recently discovered this. What made it even more shocking is the fact that I have walked up and down that street so many times and have never noticed it.”

Unfortunately, one of the buildings has recently burned down, which also damaged the two adjacent buildings that were also part of the singular Mesker frame. The only undamaged storefront still standing in Kingstree is located at 118 Main Street, framing over what is currently Abla’s Hair Studio. Mesker & Co. was created as a rival to Mesker Brothers Iron Works, which produced similar products such as storefronts, metal doors, and facades. Ironically enough, Mesker Brothers was created by George Mesker’s two brothers Bernard and Frank Mesker, and has always been the main source of competition for Mesker & Co.

Both of these companies still have an impact on the state to this day. For example, Mesker Brothers has many steel doors in use in South Carolina: Clemson University, Freestyle Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, and BMW in Greenville just to name a few. “Both of the Meskers’ companies began in Evansville, Indiana and have both grown to have significance throughout the nation, even in our town,” said Smith. “Just goes to show that it truly is a small world.”

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