The M.C. Kiser Company Building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on May 28, 2019. The property is located at 210 Pryor Street SW in Atlanta (Fulton County). The property owner sponsored the nomination, and Ray, Ellis and LaBrie Consulting prepared the nomination materials.
Constructed in 1923, the M.C. Kiser Company Building is a three-story brick building with a walkout basement located in south downtown Atlanta at the intersection of Pryor Street and Trinity Avenue. Built to house the M.C. Kiser Company’s Shield Brand Shoes line manufacturing and wholesale retail operations, the building has minimal exterior ornamentation and is an example of the two-part commercial block type with retail on the ground floor and factory and warehouse functions on the upper floors.
Following the Civil War, prominent Atlanta businessman Major Marion C. Kiser and his brother entered the growing industry of wholesale dry goods and established the M.C. and J.F. Kiser Company. This business became the M.C. Kiser Company in 1894 following M.C. Kiser’s death and subsequent mergers and subdivisions with other notable mercantile houses. The M.C. Kiser Company that emerged was solely dedicated to the wholesale of shoes, launching its signature Shield Brand Shoes in 1894. Noted in the Atlanta Constitution in 1920 as “one of the most important business establishments of Atlanta,” the burgeoning M.C. Kiser Company outgrew three prior locations, necessitating the construction in 1923 of a large, state-of-the-art building to house their operations. The company remained at this location until 1933 when it shut its doors and was followed by a succession of other commercial businesses. The M.C. Kiser Company Building is significant at the local level in the area of commerce for its association with the mercantile and manufacturing industry that blossomed in postbellum Atlanta. The M.C. Kiser Company grew from a small dry goods wholesaler to one of the largest shoe manufacturers and distributors in Atlanta, embodying the city’s entrepreneurial spirit during the early 20th century and the mercantile industries that facilitated the city’s growth and development.
The M.C. Kiser Company Building is also significant in the area of architecture as a good, representative example of “mill” or “slow-burning” construction. Aimed at slowing fires long enough for fire protection measures to activate in order to save buildings rather than preventing fires by using costly or sometimes ineffective fireproofing materials, “mill” or “slow-burning” construction became a popular, cost-effective method of construction during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With its intact “slow-burning” features, including original thick brick walls, interior heavy timbers and beams, large window openings, and automatic sprinklers and other fire protection systems, the M.C. Kiser Company Building remains an excellent and intact example of “mill” or “slow-burning” construction in south downtown Atlanta.
The National Register of Historic Places is our country's official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts worthy of preservation. The National Register provides formal recognition of a property's architectural, historical, or archaeological significance. It also identifies historic properties for planning purposes, and insures that these properties will be considered in the planning of state or federally assisted projects. National Register listing encourages preservation of historic properties through public awareness, federal and state tax incentives, and grants. Listing in the National Register does not place obligations or restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer, or disposition of private property.
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