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Crosby family store building still making memories

Crosby family building as it appears in 2013.Photos by Jeff Dennis

Crosby family building as it appears in 2013.
Photos by Jeff Dennis

The Colleton suburb of Mashawville, just south of the county seat, has always been a travel corridor involving Charleston and Savannah. One resident likes to joke that he lives in ‘north’ Mashawville, near the city limits. The old Crosby store was therefore located in ‘central’ Mashawville right along the highway. Having been moved off the road now, the wooden building still serves the Crosby family today.

This story involves former Mashawville resident and carpenter Herman H. Crosby Sr. and his life after World War II. First drafted when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Sergeant Crosby was stationed in Europe until the end of the war. Upon returning to the Lowcountry, Crosby decided to start a small business similar to a country store, and he used his family land to log and mill the pine and cypress trees to construct the store building in 1945.

Despite building a decent business, opportunity knocked for Crosby in 1949 when the local game warden position became open, and despite some duress about night hunting at that time, Crosby accepted the challenge. The building then served as a storage facility for years, and Crosby went on to pass a love for the outdoors along to his sons, including one son going on to follow in his footsteps as a game warden.

There has been a long time connection between the Crosby family of Mashawville and the outdoors of Colleton County. In 2006, local realtor Miles Crosby secured ownership of the building his father had constructed, and he hired a moving company to transport it back from Highway 64 and deeper onto the family property, where he now resides. The building now serves as a meeting place for the Crosby family and members of the Crosby Brothers hunt club when game seasons are in.

“The old store served as the Mashawville voting precinct for a time,” said Miles Crosby. “But my idea was to move it closer to our home so that I could adopt it and give it the proper upkeep deserving of a structure made and built by our family. The wood used is mostly heart pine and cypress logs, but I had a new roof put on the building right away. I also had the hardwood floors sanded and polished to retain some of their original luster.”

The building has been modernized to include a front porch, where previously an overhang served to greet automobiles stopping by for fuel. The slats of wood along the sides of the building are both thick and slightly irregular in shape, which tells the story of how they were milled during a time of ample wood supply, but when nothing was wasted or taken for granted. My tour of the structure included crawling underneath to view the cypress logs, complete with bark, which serve as the base of the framing.

“The inside includes hand-built shelves that used to hold merchandise and a 20-foot long hardwood counter,” said Crosby. “I use the building now as a display for memorabilia from my radio broadcast career, and for hunting gear and assorted taxidermy.” The decorum makes it a natural gathering place before or after any hunt next door at the club where Miles serves as huntmaster.

Some items of note in the cabin include a neon 96 WAVE sign, a black walnut gun case, hand-carved cypress boat paddles and a bootjack made of a thick piece of hardwood. Hunting accessories include jackets for any season, a leather gun sleeve, shell bags, and an S.C. Waterfowl Association shadow box coat rack; also, taxidermy for the first turkey Miles called in and shot by himself, and several noteworthy duck mounts. Son Stephen Crosby and daughter Jennifer Crosby Adams visit the old building to view the handywork of both their father and grandfather.

The Crosby compound includes a duck pond with an island in the middle. One live oak and two cypress trees straddle that piece of land and Miles is fond of the story how his brother and his father teamed together to plant those trees together. Sitting on the porch of the old building and glancing across the freshly burned pines over to the duck pond, a visitor can clearly see that these Colletonians care about their home place, and that the wooden building is going to be central to serving up more family memories.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (360 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com