Leevy Lane To Be Dedicated On December 9 | Events
On Sunday, December 9, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and the members of City Council will hold a special ceremony for the honorary naming and dedication of the 1600 Block of Gregg Street as Leevy Lane in honor of the late community leader and Leevy’s Funeral Home founder Isaac Samuel Leevy.
Isaac Samuel Leevy was born on May 3, 1876 in the Antioch Section of Kershaw County and was husband to the late Mary Kirkland Leevy and father of four deceased children: Ruby Leevy Johnson, Dr. Carroll M. Leevy, Kirkland Leevy and Marian Leevy.
After graduating from Mather Academy in Camden, SC and Hampton Institute in Virginia, Leevy moved to Columbia in 1907 and opened a tailoring shop. In 1930, he established the first black owned gas station on the corner of Taylor and Gregg Streets and, in 1932, remodeled the gas station as The Leevy’s Funeral Home which has stood as a local landmark for 80 years.
Mr. Leevy’s legacy is both as a businessman, having founded the Leevy Department Store and the Victory Savings Bank which is now South Carolina Community Bank, as well as an active community leader. He rose to the ranks of the Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party and organized the Lincoln Emancipation Club. During segregation, he ran for a number of public offices, including City Council and United States Congress, but was never elected. However, inspired by his example, Leevy’s grandson, I. S. Leevy Johnson, made history in 1970 winning election to the South Carolina State House of Representatives and becoming one of the first African Americans elected South Carolina’s General Assembly since Reconstruction.
Isaac Samuel Leevy died on December 9, 1968. Sunday’s ceremony will mark the 44th Anniversary of his passing.
The ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the Leevy’s Funeral Home which is located at 1831Taylor Street in Columbia.