Part store, part museum

Published 5:57 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Attendees at the Polk County Historical Association’s program Tuesday, Oct. 4 study the display of historical items from M.A. Pace’s store in Saluda. (photo by Leah Justice)

M.A. Pace in Saluda focus of PCHA program
Walking into M.A. Pace’s store in Saluda is like stepping back in time.
The store still serves as a general store where visitors can pick up hardware and general merchandise, but it has also been arranged as a museum of Saluda’s history.
The store’s new owners, Leon Morgan and his daughter, Tangie Ciarvolo, discussed the history of the store and reviewed items that can be found there for the Polk County Historical Association on Tuesday, Oct. 4.
The family also owns Somewhere In Time, located in downtown Saluda.
Morgan showed an old telegraph machine that is located in M.A. Pace’s General Store, saying “there’s no telling how many people got word of their loved ones being killed in both WWI and WWII.”
Still in the store are shoes that never sold, tooth powder, a conductor’s hat and a light from a freight train.
Historical association president Anna Conner said, “If you haven’t visited M.A. Pace’s General Store, you’re really missing out. It’s a store and museum the way they have arranged everything.”
The store was opened in 1899 by M.A. Pace, who at one time partnered with Thompson’s store in Saluda. Morgan still has a letter from M.A. Pace to D.M. Ferry Feed Company dated Feb. 24, 1927 notifying the company that Thompson and Pace had dissolved.
The letter stated (with original spelling), “This is to notify you that Thompson & Pace have desolved partenership and Mr. Thompson retained the shipment of seeds consigned to Thompson & Pace and is now doing business under style of firm, Thompson & Kirby, of this City.”
Morgan said also in the store is a certificate from the governor recognizing the store for being 100 years old. Some say M.A. Pace’s store is the oldest operating store in the state.
The Morgans are distant cousins of the Pace family that started the store. Morgan and his three daughters, Tangie, Tonya and Tammy, all have memories of the store as children. Their great-grandfather, General Russell, worked for M.A. Pace in the 1920s.
M.A. Pace started the store and his son and daughters ran the business. Robert Pace ran the store most of his life, as well as handling other trades in town. He died about a year ago.
M.A. Pace’s daughters, Eunice and “Boo,” ran the register most of their lives.
The store has newspapers and magazine articles about the store’s history, such as one from 1967 that talked about places to “chew and chat.”
The store also has many historical photographs, including ones of the Pace family, downtown Saluda and trains.
Photographs also include those of Pat Hingle, who played Commissioner Gordon in the “Batman” and is probably the most famous person from Saluda, and singer and television personality Perry Como, who lived in Saluda in the 1980s.
The store also has a picture from 1902 of the first Possum Day in Saluda.
Saluda Day was held at the historical association museum in Columbus yesterday, honoring the city’s history. Saluda is celebrating its 130th birthday this year.

This old photo of M.A. Pace’s store in Saluda was one of the exhibits on display at the PCHA program about the store’s history on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Leon Morgan holds up a newspaper from 1967 that includes M.A. Pace’s store in an article about places to “chew and chat.” (photo by Leah Justice)

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