The Barberton Times recently announced the completion of the restoration of the landmark Lewis & Marks Building in Barberton. Below are a few details from its almost 130 year history published by the Barberton Times and disseminated by Mpumalanga Heritage.
It was the first double-storey building in Barberton and is still most visible as one of the taller structures in town. A third storey was added in later years.
In the gold rush of 1880, Barberton drew all kinds of characters, including Sammy Marks. He propelled himself from peddler of cheap jewellery and electroplated cutlery to one of South Africa’s leading industrialists.
Along with his cousin and business partner Isaac Lewis, Sammy built the Lewis & Marks Building. It housed the Bank of Africa on the ground floor and other offices on the top storey. Like its entrepreneurial creators, the building was ahead of its time and has left its mark in the history of the town and is still in use today.
The architect was Arthur Hubert Halder. In later years the cast-iron verandah was removed, the building plastered, and a third storey added. It served for many years as the central offices for Eastern Transvaal Consolidated Mines. In recent years it changed hands regularly. It had a variety of uses but has now finally been restored into a profitable little lifestyle hub.