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Samos Store exhibit opens at museum

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Pictured above is the Samos Store building as it looks today. The building has remained almost unchanged since the 1930s except for a few exterior upgrades.

by Tyler Radabaugh

The Middlesex County Museum and Historical Society in Saluda has many artifacts relating to local general stores. Wrapping around the rear of the interior of the building is an authentic country store shelf display. It contains many original products that would have stocked the shelves of stores around the community such as Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root, various toiletries, dry goods, and other medicines.

Many general merchandising and country stores existed within Middlesex County. Before the ease of modern transportation, community members would rely on the close proximity of a store as their grocery store, feed store, gas station, and post office. These small-scale stores served as centers for socializing and commerce.

The Samos Store was a staple in the community around the Samos and Water View area from the late 1800s until the 1960s. The Middlesex County Museum and Historical Society has 30-plus items from the original store ranging from hats, shoes, and blouses, to a 1939 ledger and tailor sample books. At its peak, the store was extending credit to over 240 people in the area. Inside the historic building, you will find wood from floor to ceiling, with original shelves and a beautiful “y-shaped” staircase. Much of the original hardware has lasted through the years.

The current owner of the building, Princess Blanding, said, “Over the 9 years that we have been here, natives have told me their stories of coming here to buy stamps or buy ice cream.” She has had many people speak with her on the fond memories they have of the store during its heyday. Stores like the Samos Store could have been found all over the county, and each store offers a rich, unique history.

If you have any additional information, stories, objects, documents, or photographs related to the store, please contact the Middlesex Museum. Email or call 758-3663.

The Middlesex County Museum and Historical Society is open every Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

posted 04.18.2018

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