Afro-American Insurance Company Building

558 S. Dave Lyle Blvd., Rock Hill, South Carolina


Afro-American Insurance Company Building, Left Oblique

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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The Afro-American Insurance Company Building was constructed about 1909 to house the local office of the Afro-American Insurance Company. This company, with offices in several southeastern states, was one of several insurance companies owned and operated by African Americans marketing to African American communities. The company’s building in Rock Hill became an impressive symbol of the aspirations for commercial success among many African American leaders. It also was evidence of the growing market for business and financial services within the emerging African American middle class. The building is the design of William W. Smith of Charlotte, an important African American designer and builder in the region. Because most buildings that historically housed African American businesses in Rock Hill have been destroyed through urban renewal programs, the Afro-American Insurance Company Building has added significance as perhaps the most important surviving example of a commercial building related to the African American community of the early twentieth century. It is a two-story commercial building of brick laid in common bond. The façade has a tan brick veneer, while the sides and rear are in red brick. The façade has brick quoining at the corners and a corbelled brick cornice and center parapet with recessed panel. Listed in the National Register June 10, 1992. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 10, 1992
Reference number
NR name
Afro--American Insurance Company Building
Architectural styles
American Movement: Chicago; Other architectural type; The Commercial Style
Areas of significance
Commerce; Ethnic Heritage - Black; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Specialty store; Business
Current function
Specialty store
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant year
ca. 1909

Update Log 

  • October 24, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View" and Imported Photo
  • October 24, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller