South Carolina

Culley’s Grocery – Gaston, South Carolina


South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Lexington County Photos  |  Culley’s Grocery

Once standing in the heart of Gaston, Culley’s Grocery was a vital part of its community. Johnny and Annie Bell Culley purchased the building and opened the business in 1937. Initially Mrs. Culley was in charge of the day-to-day operations, while Mr. Culley worked as a brickmason in Columbia. There was a home attached to the rear of the store where the couple resided with their family. After a few short years, business had increased and Mr. Culley left his job as a mason to work in the store full-time.

Gaston Grocery

Contributed by Kent Rowell of Gaston, 1950 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

At first, the store operated from 6 AM to 10 PM every day with the exception of Sunday; the hours would vary slightly over the years. The building measured 20′ x 25′ and its only source of heat, like many other stores and homes of the time, was a wood-burning pot-bellied stove in the center.

As the store grew, so did its size and offerings. The physical building doubled in size, modern heating and air conditioning were installed, and meat-cutting equipment and walk-in coolers were added. Mr. Culley, a self-taught butcher, used an old tree trunk for a butcher block and cut meat fresh to order using meats supplied from wholesalers in Columbia, where he would travel once a week to purchase new stock.

While in Columbia, fresh produce was acquired through vendors at the State Farmers Market. Mrs. Culley, who was in charge of dry goods, and made frequent trips to Columbia herself to meet with wholesalers for store inventory. One of her oft-visited haunts was Bluestein’s, a celebrated dry-goods establishment which closed its doors only recently. Some of the Culley’s children and grandchildren also worked in the store, making it a true family affair.

Culley’s at one time was the only place in town to have a telephone, which locals were often allowed and encouraged to use. In addition to groceries and clothes, the store offered a plethora of supplies from fan belts to needles and thread. A glass display case under the front counter was filled with affordable candies, at perfect height for the children excitedly eyeing them. Gasoline was available at pumps outside. The pumps had a hand crank which cleared out the previous sale before a new one was started.

Kent Rowell, who supplied the photograph and information for this page, is one of the Culley’s grandsons. He went on to say that “cases of oil were stacked on the floor, which made an excellent place to sit, enjoy a cold soft drink, snack, or ice cream, and talk about whatever was of interest at the time. It was the place where local school kids caught the bus to attend grades 7-12 in nearby Swansea and were dropped off in the afternoon when school was out.”

In 1971 the Culley’s retired and closed the doors to the once bustling store. The couple lived out their lives in the home attached at the rear. In the late 1990s, the property was sold by the family to a developer. The store and home were demolished and a modern gas station and car wash now stand in its place, a mere shadow of what once was the heartbeat of a community.

Kent Rowell shares the following about the photo below, which depicts a view at the Gaston Fire Tower: “The store was about 300 yards north of the fire tower on the same side of the road. My grandfather owned most of the land seen in the photo across the road from the fire tower below the house that is close to the center of the photo. That house was built by his daughter and her husband in 1945. My grandfather gave them that acre of land. He also gave his other daughter and her husband (my parents) an acre right by that house where they built their own house in 1950. The house you see on the far right is where my maternal great grandparents lived. My grandfather gave them that land too. They built that house in 1948. Knowing when the houses were built is how I can date this photo tp 1949.”

Gaston Fire Tower View

Contributed by Kent Rowell of Gaston, 1949 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent


Culley’s Grocery Info


Address: 105 South Main Street, Gaston, SC 29053
GPS Coordinates: 33.816868,-81.101569


Culley’s Grocery Map




Culley’s Grocery – Add Info and More Photos


The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Culley’s Grocery, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


Thoughts?


The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!



4 Comments about Culley’s Grocery

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
March 25th, 2018 at 10:07 am

Glad you enjoyed it! Yes, that’s exactly where it was!

Angela FurtickNo Gravatar says:
March 24th, 2018 at 5:08 am

I love hearing about the olden times. Makes me think of my grandparents! Thanks for sharing. Oh, this is where the BP and carwash is right?

Kay rikardNo Gravatar says:
March 19th, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Great story, thanks to you for sharing.

RobbyNo Gravatar says:
March 16th, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Thank you so much hun!





Culley’s Grocery - Related Entries


Southern Industries of Clover

Gaston Grocery

Lancaster's Store - Govan

Maude Callen Clinic Interior

Cedar Wreath School Marker
Cedar Wreath School
Powdersville


Victor Hill Hotel Ruins

Myrtle Beach Pavilion Building

Williamston Female College Marker

Orr-Lyons Mills Smokestack




SC PICTURE PROJECT

Join Us on Facebook
Our 5 Goals
Our Contributors
Add Info
Add Pictures
Search for Pictures
Missing Landmarks

SC TOWNS & LANDMARKS

Abbeville ACE Basin Aiken Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Fountain Inn Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Honea Path Hopkins Huger Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Manning Marion McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinopolis Plantations Port Royal Post Offices Ravenel Restaurants Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Waterfalls Water Towers West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Yemassee York