Thinking Outside of the Pipeline
Along the way through Orangeburg County on Hwy. 301 the oversized coffee pot caught our eye as it might have some fifty years ago. Before the franchisees, the Inns of Hampton, the outlet stores, the El Cheapos at every ramp and the very interstate highways which feed them, there were places like this. These were the mom and pop businesses neither supported nor controlled by some distant corporate center.
At the time when Interstate 95 opened many of these little operations were on their way toward closing. A lot of them didn't see the end coming, but those who did had few alternatives but to perish in place. There were neither funds for nor the will to relocate because most proprietors lived at or near their places of business.
Back in the 1950s a couple bought this land and built a little diner on the site and living quarters further from the road. The Mr. fashioned that eye catching coffee pot from sheet metal in his shop behind the building. The Mrs. fashioned a very popular pecan pie from those which dropped from the trees about the place. His big coffee pot drew people in and her pecan pies made them popular. There had the gimmick, but they delivered the goods. When you wanted a large coffee to go, they did not require you to ask for a "grande".
The interstate highways are long pipelines across the land through which the country rushes and from which sights like the coffee pot pecan pie shop are never seen. We enjoy picking through the unburied corpses of these long gone independent enterprises. We don't suggest that these were exciting undertakings, but we think they may have been fulfilling in ways which most of us no longer understand.