This building, known locally as the old Miller’s Department Store, was originally built in 1848 to serve as the second permanent home of the Presbyterian church in Holly Springs. The Presbyterians had outgrown the much smaller original Presbyterian church, located a few buildings south of this new church. This structure was the first brick church building in the county.
The first service was held in the new church on May 28th, 1848, and was led by the Reverend C. S. Dod. The audience room, or sanctuary, was located on the second floor, while the Sunday school rooms were located on the first floor. Both the exterior and interior of this building have been altered various times over the many years, and today it is difficult to find any traces of the original church building.
The Presbyterians used this building as their church from 1848 until 1860, when they began construction of their third and final Presbyterian Church. In the 1860s, Hugh Winborn owned a store in this building, and his clerk was James Henry Nelson. In 1865, after the end of the Civil War, a group of Confederate marauders stormed into town and murdered Nelson at this store. Later in the 1860s this was the site of Quiggins and Buffaloe, Confectionaries, and Dr. P. A. Willis, druggist. In the 1870s it was the site of Cooper’s Restaurant and Hotel and later the Nuttall House hotel.
A series of businesses occupied this building for the next several decades until 1921, when the building was purchased by J. A. Miller, who ran a general store here for several decades. Eventually, J. A. Miller’s son Graham ran a Department Store here for much of the 20th century, selling all kinds of merchandise, including electronics and then later shoes. When Miller’s Store closed in 2006, it was the oldest retail store still remaining in Holly Springs. The building has been owned by Chelius Carter since that time. Carter ran a coffee cafe here called the Smiling Phoenix from 2013 to 2014. Since 2015 this has been the site of the wonderfully-eclectic Lost River Mercantile store, owned by Andrea Edgeworth.
This is a Greek Revival two-story gable-front brick structure with a pilastered south elevation which is the only extant piece of architecture from the original 1848 church. In the 1870s Renaissance Revival styling was added to the building, including rectangular windows and stamped-metal cornices.
I love seeing your pix and reading your articles on Holly Sorings.
I wonder what the letters were near the top of the gable; looks like they were attached to the bricks, maybe metal letters. Anyone know? And is there any point from which one could see the plastered south elevation? Looks like the tobacco store covers most of it now.