The Flat and the Filling Station

There was an area at the west end of the bridge that was just known as “The Flat”. This area was basically an entrance to the “New Mill”. It was located next to the small parking lot for the mill workers. A big parking lot was not needed because most of the workers walked to work.

There was a large oak tree with benches under it where men often gathered before or after shift changes. The stories, jokes, and tall tales told under this tree would have probably filled a library. It was a very popular spot for men. I don’t recall ever seeing a woman setting on one of the benches.

The railroad tracks for the steam locomotive called “The Dummy” ran right across the Flat and right beside the tree on both sides. Many stories were interrupted by the wheezing steam and loud whistle and bell of the “Dummy.”

The main thing at the Flat was a small brick building known as “The Filling Station”. Even though it did have gas pumps it was much more a filling station for people. It was a fabulous restaurant and café. They had the most delicious food - hotdogs, hamburgers, chili burgers BLT”s and the best sweet iced tea in the western world. To this day, 60+ years later, the food from the Filling Station is my standard of excellence in food.

My great aunt, Blanch Arnold, along with others, made the food. She was a very sweet person, always in a good mood and very witty. She made the Filling Station feel almost like home to me.

I don’t recall that the Filling Station had any stools at the counter. I know that it did not have any tables. You either stood at the counter to eat or took your food with you. Stand up or not, it was a great place. Writing this, even after more than half a century since I ate there, still makes my mouth water and I can still smell those hot dogs.


A gathering that was held behind the filling station sometime in the 1950's. It is not known what the occasion was to get such a big crowd.  (Courtesy of Lindie Wells)

This is a panoramic view of the flat and the bridge. The Filling Station is the building  on the right end of the bridge. If you look closely just behind the filling station you can see the steam locomotive known  as the "Dummy". It is emitting a plume of black smoke from its stack This picture was believed to be made in the 1930's. It must have been taken early on a Sunday morning because of the lack of cars and people. (Courtesy of Dorothy Paige)
   
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This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Pacolet. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is me, Gerald Teaster.  Contact me at:
gteaster@pacoletmemories.com or by telephone at (843) 873-8117.  My regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485

See more information about my Pacolet connection at Gerald Teaster.