It was Glenn who noticed the first little store on the way to Kingstree.  In the area of South Carolina where there is not much, little communities occupy the landscape on the way to the beach.  I knew a fabulous woman from Kingstree; she imported Kingstree barbecue to Columbia every year for a party.  Lord knows what she did as a child there in that town. There is little industry in the area other than a bicycle plant (interesting in these outsourcing days), and there is a factory with smokestacks across from Garrett’s residential living center.


This former little service store sits right on the two-lane.  Somebody is living in it.  Made of cinder blocks, with cinder block columns, we found others just like this on SC 261, and a few very close to each other.


This little store is made of the same cinder block, but designed a bit differently.  It looks as if it might have more easily accommodated gassing up a car than the first example.  And it had at least one more life as an antiques store.   Who owns these things?  Could one “squat” there?


The example above suggests that it might have been what we call here a “red dot” store.  Notice the bars on the windows, they are there for a reason.  The dots here are long gone.  The red dots symbolize sunup and sunset, and it is between those times when liquor can be sold.  Those daily times used to be published in the paper too.  Not sure about that now.

red dot
It is believed to have its origin in the South Carolina Constitution of 1895, article 8, section 11, which prohibited alcohol sales between sundown and sun-up. The red dot designates the sun and identifies the store as one that sells alcohol.  This red dot store in Hampton, SC could have been more clever in its design.  The beautiful facade creates two red dots in its ornamentation. and correctly captured, no other red dots would have been necessary.  Perhaps it would have been confusing to customers.  No need to confuse customers.


Love the colors of this little store. Red squares instead of red dots!  Again, it is made of cinder block, but has wood columns in the front.  The two red window coverings are hinged at the top, and the building was added on to at the back.  Whatever service was preformed in this place was painted on a board above the tin, now removed.  Sent this image to an artist friend.  It would be a perfect addition to her series of paintings of old buildings in Orangeburg county.

janet's building

Janet Kozachek.


Nature always wins.  Most of the roof is gone in this little store, and the woods is filling up the interior space.


3 thoughts on “ALL ON SC 261

  1. Loved the history of the origin of the red dot! Such a local SC icon. From my understanding, liquor stores were not legally allowed to “advertise” their business so the red dots were chosen (and now I know why) to symbolize what words could not. Ironically, the red dots are more effective than words. In turn, the red dots continue. Fun blog.

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