Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Out of ReTirement


Oh, that's a dreadful header, but it's quite literally what this store is all about. This nice little CBS (Concrete Block Structure) is located on Hwy 301 at the lower tip of Calhoun County. It does not yet appear in the National Register of Historic Places, but it is surely a place with a past.

In fact, a past is about all this place has today. It was probably a bit more prosperous as was most of Hwy 301 before Interstate 95 was laid. Hwy 301 supported a host of general stores, gas stations, diners and motels or motor courts as they were called in pre-interstate times. Accordingly, the traffic which 301 conducted through South Carolina supported quite a few folks and their families.

Since 301 is a conventional highway, drivers could pull over any time, at any place which attracted them rather than waiting for an exit to which one is guided by billboards on the interstates. Frequent visitors such as truckers and traveling salesmen got to know the places and people who ran them. You could get directions from local folks who actually knew the area, the latest jokes and random thoughts on the human condition. The shopkeepers probably had many a tale to tell their friends of travelers who stopped along the way. Travel was paced and there was time to visit.

Once Interstate 95 was opened, traffic on 301 dropped dramatically. Just as reduced blood flow brings atrophy to the body's extremities, the many independent businesses on 301 soon went the way of the yellow leaf. It happens fast and in a sense freezes things in place. Nothing new was built so what you see today is where the clock stopped on 301.

Perhaps the sale of used tires is enough to keep these folks going. We'd have suggested PRE-OWNED TIRES for the sign, but we weren't asked. Even though they have only a two star rating, we figure that they've got enough confidence to give this a go, but we note the little yellow sign which says NO CREDIT. It's one day at a time for this operation. They're buying no green bananas.


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