Max Furchgott

265 King Street

When Max Furchgott (1844–1921) and his brother Herman, natives of Austria, moved to Charleston from New York in 1865, they opened a dry goods store on King Street, north of George Street. They relocated to 259 King Street a few years later; then, after two decades in the wholesale/retail dry goods business, Max Furchgott moved to New York to work in the import business.

In 1898, Max Furchgott returned to Charleston with his wife, Bertha Raffman Furchgott, and family. He told the Charleston Evening Post that he was going back into business as M. Furchgott & Co., and “intended to make things lively in his line.” Charleston welcomed the “return of the old favorite” when Furchgott’s opened here at 265 King Street. The newspaper reported more than 2,000 people visited the new department store, with so many crowding inside that the entrance had to be closed several times. Friends sent flowers, including a memorable bouquet presented by a lady who had bought goods from Furchgott in 1865.

With the European contacts Max Furchgott had developed, he imported clothes and fabrics directly to cut costs. His large staff, low prices, and extensive inventory assured a steady business during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In March 1907, Furchgott’s moved to a bigger store at 240–242 King.

Furchgott banner, King Street, 1901

Furchgott banner, King Street, 1901

Looking north from around Hasell Street, with Furchgott banner strung across the roadway. Image by Morton Brailsford Paine. Courtesy of The Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina.