E. Sternberger Company


North Main Street
Clio, SC

FAMILIES: Sternberger; Strauss

E. Sternberger Company was founded by German immigrant Emauel Sternberger (1859-1924). Emauel immigrated to the United States in the mid-1870s and settled in Marlboro County in 1879, three years before the town of Clio was incorporated. There, he is said to have rented a small building where he lived and operated a dry goods business. After a few years of buying and selling cotton, he began investing in land. With his profits, he eventually built E. Sternberger Company. In 1900, Emauel married Bertha Strauss (1877-1928) and built a Victorian home for his new bride on Red Bluff Street. The home would later be added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Sternberger-Welch-Hamer House.


The same year that Emanuel married Bertha, another South Carolina transplant Joseph Strauss (1868-1937) married Jennie Welch (1839-1955) in Florence, South Carolina. Joseph was born and raised in New York City by German immigrants and moved to Sumter County around the turn of the century. Not long after that, he settled in Clio with Jennie and began managing E. Sternberger Company while Emanuel focused on Revolution Cotton Mills, another one of his business ventures located in Greensboro, North Carolina.


In 1904, E. Sternberger Company was caught up in a blaze and destroyed. In response, Sternberger built a large two-story brick building on the corner of North Main and Society Street. Reportedly one of the largest general stores in the area at the time, E. Sternberger Company featured showcase windows on the ground floor and arched brickwork around the windows on the second level. E. Sternberger Company was dissolved not long after Emanuel’s death in 1924, and Joseph turned his attention to the local judicial system, serving from 1934 to 1937 as the magistrate of Clio.

Main Image: Newspaper clipping describing damages to E. Sternberger Company. Reprinted from The Watchman and Southron, June 22, 1904.


Above Image: Photograph of Sternberger-Welch-Hamer House taken around 1880. Image courtesy of South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, SC.

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Henry & Sylvia Yaschik Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation.

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