Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Welcome to Wolfton

On our list of BUILDINGS WE'D LIKE TO SEE REUSED in the category of SERVICE STATIONS, RURAL, in the subcategory of HISTORY OF WHICH CANNOT BE GOOGLED, we add this nice old place in Wolfton, SC. It is situated on Hwy. 178 in Orangeburg County at the edge of Bull Swamp making this technically or at least seasonally waterfront property.

We love these covered entrances which were a courtesy to customers and protection from sun and rain for the fellow who pumped the gas, checked the air, oil and water of customers' vehicles. There was, of course, no self service at those gas pumps a few decades back. The cover also helped preserve the integrity of the store front from the elements. The gem of the place is the very well preserved Gulf Oil Company sign. Around 1984, most of the Gulf stations became BP affiliates.

We know nothing of the history of this building and architectural clues are slim. It's a practical construction with side and rear windows made too high and too small for unauthorized entry. There are no nonfunctional concessions granted to design. It's still a right nice little place and we wonder why this and so many other equally nice little places are abandoned even along busy rural highways. When we consider how precious every square inch of land is in places like Charleston, the great struggles over their development and the outrageous sums they command, we're amazed that any piece of land can remain unmolested for such extended periods. This, too, will change.


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