Before Grovetown turned into a burgeoning bedroom community, there existed an old-fashioned country store named Mrs. S.F. Poole's Hardware and Feed of All Kinds.
A replica of Mrs. S.F. Poole's Hardware and Feed of All Kinds, the store that once occupied the corner of Robinson Avenue and Wrightsboro Road in Grovetown, has been added to the exhibits at the Grovetown Museum. The store was torn down in the 1990s to make way for a new Grovetown City Hall and gazebo.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Built in the 1940s, Poole's became a meeting point for locals who played checkers, discussed news events and traded whoppers around the "Liar's Bench."
Poole's was located on the corner of Old Wrightsboro Road and Robinson Avenue where a gazebo now rests in its place. Little remains to remind new Grovetown residents of the once-revered landmark.
However, the Grovetown Museum Board of Directors recently paid tribute to the popular gathering spot with a new permanent exhibit featuring Poole's memorabilia and a model of the store on a stairwell landing between the first and second floors of the museum, which is near where the original store once stood.
"We're trying to put back some of the old landmarks that have been torn down," said Charles Lord, a member of the museum board and a Columbia County historian.
"Poole's store is a landmark all the older people remember."
Lord often frequented Poole's before it was torn down in the 1990s to make way for a new Grovetown City Hall and the gazebo.
"One time, I ran for city council and that was mainly where you would campaign, on the front porch of the store," Lord recalled.
Memorabilia in the exhibit for Poole's includes an antique wooden checkerboard with bottle caps as game pieces. A replica of the "Liar's Bench" is in front of the city hall building.
The bench got its name because of the exaggerated stories men would tell while sitting on it, Lord said.
"You know how people tell a story, especially around Grovetown," he said. "It would get blown up two or three times."
Lord called the Poole's exhibit a testament to a time when people were more concerned about socializing with their neighbors than shopping convenience.
"It's just like a typical old country store," he said. "There were no credit cards and all the modern conveniences we have today. By word of mouth and trust, you'd pay your bill on the weekend."
The Grovetown Museum, 106 Robinson Ave., is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Other locations dedicated to the history of Columbia County include the Gibbs Library Heritage Room in Evans and the Oliver Hardy Museum in Harlem.
The Heritage Room features letters, books, albums, annuals, maps, pictures, legal papers and more at the library, located at 326 North Belair Road. The library's hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Oliver Hardy Museum features souvenirs and memorabilia associated with the life and career of Oliver Hardy, who was born in Harlem and is half of the legendary Laurel and Hardy comedy duo from Hollywood's golden age. The museum is located at 250 N. Louisville St. and its hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
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