Merchants Bank Building – Cheraw, South Carolina

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The Merchants Bank Building in historic Cheraw was built in 1835 and was an official gold depository for the Confederate States of America as well as the last bank in the south to honor Confederate money before the end of the Civil War. It also was the largest bank in the state outside of Charleston during that time.

Merchants Bank Building

David Sides of Cheraw, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The cashier of the bank and his family protected the bank’s assets from robberies by living upstairs in the early part of the twentieth century. The whole building became a residence in 1928, and it was used as a tourist house during the Great Depression. In 1962 First Citizen’s Bank purchased the building and returned it to its original purpose.

The Merchants Bank Building is listed in the Cheraw Historic District of the National Register, which says the following about the area:

Around 1736 Welsh Baptists came to South Carolina and settled in the Pee Dee region. In 1766 Eli Kershaw, who had been given a grant of land along the Pee Dee River, laid out the town of Cheraw. It was incorporated in 1820. Located at a key navigational point, Cheraw began to develop as a commercial center of interior South Carolina; however, the Civil War and Reconstruction temporarily halted this progress. For a time development was impeded and rebuilding was delayed. Although the town eventually prospered, much of its physical character remained unaltered. The town of Cheraw also played an important role in South Carolina military history.

During both the American Revolution and the Civil War, British and Union troops used St. David’s Episcopal Church as a hospital. The meeting house style church still stands today. Additionally in 1825, Revolutionary War figure Marquis de Lafayette stayed in Cheraw during his tour of the United States. Located within the district are a variety of architectural styles that include the early frame homes of the 1800s (often called upcountry farmhouses, or essentially I-House in type), antebellum structures with Classical Revival details and Greek Revival porticos, and Victorian houses from the turn of the century. The district also includes several churches, a cemetery, and the towns’ original boundary markers dating from 1766.

Many thanks to David Sides, Cheraw Director of Tourism and Community Development, for the above photo and information on the history Merchants Bank Building.

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Merchants Bank Building Info

Address: 232 Market Street, Cheraw, SC 29520

Merchants Bank Building Map

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