Suzassippi’s Mississippi: I. C. Levy Department Store, Holly Springs

In 1858, I. C. Levy, a Jewish immigrant from France, began his clothing store in Holly Springs, originally in the Southwest block of the Square (John Mickle, The South Reporter, November 25, 1965).  The MDAH Historic Inventory database identifies this block as Romanesque and Italianate (respectively) with an estimated construction of 1870.  Levy moved his business to the corner location in 1879, and it was the longest surviving business (Lois Swanee, Museum Curator, 2011).  During World War II, the USO club was on the second floor. It remained open as an upscale clothing store operated by the Levys until the early 1970s.

With the passing of the Levys and Kohners, the Jewish community of Holly Springs was extinct by the end of the 1970s (Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life).  Late in the decade, the block was purchased by a local businessman, and operated as Linwood’s until 2007 (sign in window; The South Reporter, 2005).  Most recently, the building has been used for antique shows.  It has undergone recent renovation, as earlier photographs show the upper floor windows covered and there is no sign on the side of the building.  Some type of construction work was going on during the day I was there. What initially caught my eye as I walked down the street was the beautiful detail in the woodwork.  See a bit more detail in the slideshow.

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Categories: Historic Preservation, Holly Springs

7 replies

  1. Thanks so much for posting these wonderful photos and telling us the history. Best wishes to the new occupants for great success! I hope we get to see the finished product. The entry is beautiful. So sad that strips of stores full of cheap and poor quality merchandise and Dollar Generals have taken the place of such quality!

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  2. It is really wonderful to see these pictures, as I am the Grandson of Henry Levy, Al Hattendorf and it brings back wonderful memories of Holly Springs, my Mother, Jane Levy used to take me to the store as a child.

    Thanks!!

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    • Al, some friends of mine and I are in the process of purchasing the I.C. Levy building to reopen as a Boutique and Antique mall. We would greatly appreciate any photos, stories or history that you may come across for display in the entrance of the building so that we can keep the I.C. Levy memory alive. We plan to display all historical artifacts that have been preserved and kept safely in the building. The I.C. Levy safe is one of my favorite pieces that will be displayed in our entrance. We would be more than happy to share photos with you.

      Excited to hear from you.

      Angie Vanzant

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  3. Thank you Mr. Hattendorf. While I never saw Levy’s when it was open, due to growing up in Texas, I know that I really loved all the department stores that were in the area. I loved all the beautiful shelves, display tables, and the stores that had wooden stairways and rails to the upper floor. I think Levy’s was a particularly beautiful store.

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  4. IC Levy was my great great grandfather. My grandmother Leilah Levy (Vendig) was born and raised in HS. She and her two sisters moved to Chicago in 1905 or so. IC Levy, I was told, was president of the still active Bank of HS. Until the store changed ownership I can remember my father getting a small check from the operation of the biz. IC’s house suffered a fire but I have an original pic, quite Victorian. IC was in the Confederate army and played in the band.. I have a document he signed promsing to uphold the Union after the war.. Rich Vendig.. Sherborn, Mass

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  5. Richard,

    Some friends of mine and I are in the process of purchasing the I.C. Levy building to reopen as a Boutique and Antique mall. We would greatly appreciate any photos, stories or history that you may come across for display in the entrance of the building so that we can keep the I.C. Levy memory alive. We plan to display all historical artifacts that have been preserved and kept safely in the building. The I.C. Levy safe is one of my favorite pieces that will be displayed in our entrance. We would be more than happy to share photos with you.

    Excited to hear from you.

    Angie Vanzant

    Like

  6. Another jewish family,kohners,owned ic levy in 60’s and 70’s.Their son,junior,drowned in the old country club swimming pool abt 1967??That is why the jewish kohner’s requested to be buried in the presbyterian hillcrest cemetary.I played with junior in the back of the store when i was abt 12.

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