Our History: Stores

Old Salem Store & Cemetery

Some of the earliest settlers in the Little River area of Gadsden County are buried in this cemetery. Many of these people moved from Little River and China Hill east to form the community of Salem. When the railroad came through about a mile east shortly after 1900, Salem dwindled in size as people moved closer to the railroad for commerce and formed the town of Havana. Many of the descendants of people from Salem became the founding families of Havana.

 

Pender’s Store

The store has served Greenwood and the surrounding rural area since its construction in 1869. A one and one-half story frame vernacular building, the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Remnants of the past are everywhere—hat boxes, patent medicine bottles, hooks for harnesses and mule collars, catalogs of dresses, hats, and shoes, and ledgers recording decades of purchases of Jackson County citizens. An important trading center for a thriving agricultural region well into the 20th century, Greenwood had several other general merchandise stores, a cotton gin, and a peanut mill reputed to be the largest independent sheller of peanuts in the United States. Although the schools and other public facilities in Greenwood were segregated into the 1960s, Blacks and Whites alike traded and continue to trade at Pender’s Store. Under the 1862 Homestead Act, a number of former slaves were granted land in Jackson County, and they and their descendants became successful, land-owning farmers. People came to Pender’s Store from 15 to 20 miles away on mules and wagons. Women would walk 4 or 5 miles to and from the store with bundles on their heads. They depended on the store for everything they wanted or needed that they could not produce on their own: furniture, notions and fabrics, boots and shoes as well as hats, patent medicines, mule collars, and harnesses, oranges, tea, coffee, and sugar, even coffins. If the store owners saw a need, they would find a way to fill it. Twice a year, a tailor came to the store and fitted the more prosperous men for a new suit of clothes. In later years, Pender’s Store financed well-digging and furnished the pipe, the pump, and everything else needed to supply a household with water. The store was always run on credit as the farmers had very little cash until they sold their crops in the fall. Notes were held on livestock and crops but not land. A single hog was enough to open an account.

 

Service Drug Store

CA41Since 1906, Service Drug in downtown Graceville has dished up both sundaes and prescriptions. This is Florida’s oldest drug store soda fountain, and an ice cream soda never tasted so good as around an authentic Civil War era table. But some say “The milkshakes are the best!”