The Markley Carriage Paint Factory
März 9, 2009
This two-story brick paint shop building on the Reedy River in downtown Greenville was built by J.E. Sirrine in 1904 as part of Markley Carriage Factory and hardware complex (Greenville Coach Factory).
The Greenville Coach Factory, Paint Shop and Blacksmith buildings were built in 1846 as a part of a 13-building complex on the Reedy River. In 1856 the Greenville Coach Factory employed one hundred men and was described as the largest carriage factory below the Potomac. Due to the rise of the automobile the production of the wagons and carriages declined and Mr. Markley sold the Coach Factory in 1911, bringing the seventy-six year old company to a close. Mrs. Eugenia Duke, a ordinary Greenville mother, perfected her unusual recipe for mayonnaise and sold homemade sandwiches with an unique taste. Word spread quickly, demand grew and Mrs. Duke decided to buy the old carriage factory paint shop and altered the building’s interior to accommodate the Duke’s Production Company. The building became the first factory for the production of Duke’s mayonnaise in 1925. Duke’s mayonnaise was sold to C.F. Sauer in 1929, but still operates under the same name. A larger Duke’s plant was built in 1955 off Laurens Road, and the two-story brick paint shop building has been vacant since 1958.
Today, this unique open-air brick structure is now called Wyche Pavilion and serves as a favorite locale open-air venue for events. It is part of the Peace Center for the Performing Arts. Rather than demolish the historic complex, the architects decided to restore the buildings and incorporate them into The Peace Center. The former Coach Factory building houses the Shirley Roe Cabaret Theatre, the Founders‘ Room, a private dining room, and a full-service restaurant. The adjacent DowBrands Amphitheatre, located on the Reedy River provides an ideal setting for outdoor concerts, festivals, and parties. The Peace Center includes the Peace Concert Hall, a magnificent hall which seats 2,100 and the Gunter Theatre, a intimate 400-seat theatre.
© Flavia Westerwelle