Willington History Center and bookshop.
I caught Lana Snellgrove working with another volunteer organizing the more than 50,000 books at the Willington Bookshop in Willington, SC. Lana manages the bookstore that was created almost twenty years ago. The bookshop was started to make money to restore and preserve the remaining buildings that were part of the thriving community over one hundred years ago.
Lana explained that in the 1920s, Willington had a bank, a butcher shop, and thirteen stores. She said between the boll weevil wiping out the cotton farmers and the Great Depression, the community dried up. Now she and seventeen other volunteers operate the bookshop that provides 75% of the money needed to operate the non-profit 501c3, Willington on the Way.
The bookstore is divided into four buildings. Lana explained the first building houses mysteries and thrillers. “We called that one, Once Upon a Crime,” chuckled Lana. The old bank building features all the paperbacks in the collection. The main bookshop contains a variety of genres and the fourth building has resource and religion books.
All the books are $5.00 or less with the exception of local authors whose books are regularly priced. All children’s books are fifty cents. Many of their books are now available on-line through Amazon. Lana said one of the volunteers comes in when the shop is closed and uploads books for sale on the internet.
Lana said business is great and they have customers who travel from Athens, Anderson, Augusta, Lincolnton, Washington, Abbeville, and Greenwood. Willington Bookshop is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Visitors are welcome to bring book donations when they come to shop.
At the 2000 census, Willington’s population was 177. Lana said the three houses on the road next to the bookshops have all been purchased in the past year. She jokingly told the store’s new neighbors they had doubled the community’s population.
In addition to the bookshop, there is a one room school house that was moved to the site from a nearby farm. That building is now their African-American Cultural Center. There is also a post office from the turn of the last century. Willington on the Way has a History Center that Lana is becoming more popular. The History Center has dioramas from forts that were in the area, information about Willington Academy, and many artifacts donated by people in the area.
Lana explained that she and her husband are both big book people. “When we volunteer, we just enjoy being around the books” noted Lana. The drive to the Willington Bookshop takes you through countyside and McCormick. I highly recommend doing some of your Christmas book purchases with Lana and the volunteers. It’s worth the drive. (1801 Morrah Bridge Road, McCormick, SC)
Email me at arthur@edgefieldadvertiser if you have a suggestion for a local Saturday excursion the Edgefield Advertiser needs to feature.