MYSTERY PHOTO: Another country store

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Since we had lots of people take a guess about the location of the interior of an old store, let’s go outside this week for the Mystery Photo.  Where’s this South Carolina store?  Send your best guess to: and make sure to include your name and hometown.  If possible, write “Mystery Photo” in the subject line.

Now about last week’s Mystery Photo:  Yes it was tough.  It wasn’t a photo taken at the State Museum in Columbia, as several readers guessed.  Nope.  And it wasn’t taken in Varnville or Ehrhardt or Barnwell County – all good guesses – as others wrote.  But they were warmer about the location.

The photo, in fact, is of a recreation of the interior of an old country store from Smoaks, S.C., at the Colleton Museum and Farmers Market in Walterboro.  It is filled with vintage items representative of the rural stores that served the county for years.

According to a description in the museum, “Varn’s Cash Store was so named because of the ‘scrip’ and ‘tokens’ that were used by many of the store’s customers who were issued this form of money for wages paid by the Van family.”

A 1951 yearbook from Colleton County included an ad from the store and associate cotton gin that said it was “the most modern equipped Gin in lower South Carolina; Cleaner Cotton Brings Higher Prices.”

We got a record number of answers to the Mystery Photo, but our hats go off to the four people who correctly guessed it:  Steven Schumpert; Dale Rhoads of Richmond, Va.; Katie Welborn of Columbia, S.C; and George Graf of Palmyra, Va.

Graf added:  “According to, the Colleton Museum & Farmers Market has a range of facilities under one roof.  We have exhibits reflecting our local history & culture including The Civil & Revolutionary Wars, The ACE Basin Exhibit, Plantation Life, Colleton Life, Varn’s General Store & a Children’s Activity area. We also have a seasonal farmers market which is held on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to2 p.m. In our general retail space which connects to the Colleton Commercial Kitchen, we have local produce & crafts available for purchase as well as gifts.”

Send us a mystery:  If you have a photo that you believe will stump readers, send it along (but make sure to tell us what it is because it may stump us too!)  Send to: and mark it as a photo submission.  Thanks.


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