Special to SVLfreenews.com
Next month Iredell Museums will open “The Wallace Brothers: Roots, Herbs, & Religion,” an original exhibit on two of Statesville’s most successful, but least-known Golden Era businessmen.
The Wallace brothers, Isaac and David, arrived in Statesville as the Civil War began and opened one of many wholesale stores in the center of town. Their mercantile exploits soon morphed into the large-scale trade of roots, produce and herbs as medicinal commodities. Their “Botanic Depot,” as they called it, was located at the corner of Meeting and Walnut streets and was more than 40,000 square feet at completion. Throughout their time in business, they had several storage warehouses from Court Street to West Bell Street.
The brothers and their family were not only business leaders, they were also community leaders. Because of the Wallace’s success, other Jewish immigrants made their home in Statesville. To meet the needs of the new community, David and Isaac established a Jewish Congregation called Congregation Emanuel in their home in 1883. The congregation was made up of every Jewish family in town. Less than ten years later, the brothers secured funding for the building of a synagogue on the corner of West End Avenue and North Kelly Street. Services at the Temple drew congregants from as far as Hickory, Salisbury and Charlotte.
The impact of the Wallace Brothers’ success was felt all over Statesville. They supported business owners, including the Lowensteins, the Keys, and others. They were part of an effort to fund and continue the women’s college, which later became Mitchell Community College, and they were fundamental in establishing the New South Cotton Mill, which employed hundreds of Statesville residents. The Wallace family and the Jewish community always led the way in contributions to charitable causes and that legacy extends to today.
From their success in business and establishing Statesville’s authority as a center of trade to their support of the community and education, David and Isaac Wallace and their descendants helped create the Statesville that we know today.
Learn more about their legacy by visiting Iredell Museums during Art Crawl on Friday, September 14, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The exhibit, “The Wallace Brothers: Roots, Herbs, and Religion,” will be open until Spring 2019.