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This Week's Poll


3-29-12

ADAMS COUNTRY STORE RESTORED

By Tami Stevenson

Adams Country Store in White Springs, Florida. Since 1865

Adams Country Store - White Springs. The lumber and construction materials used to restore the porch has all come from old, local buildings and ancient logs pulled from the Suwannee River. -Photo: Brie Stevenson


When people drive by the old Adams Country Store in White Springs and read the huge letters on the building that say it was built in 1865, it gives a person a sense of awe and wonder. You immediately want to look inside. Imagine all the people from long ago that have graced those doors, how they were dressed, what they were doing. The fact that the building is still here for us to see and experience is fascinating to those who appreciate our rich history.


The shelves were filled with old products you won’t see in stores today, like potato chips that came in huge tins, old ointments guaranteed to cure everything from warts to malaria. -Photo: Brie Stevenson


The Store was open to the public the day of the Azalea Festival recently. Hundreds of people went through admiring all the work and dedication that went into restoring this historical treasure.

Raymond Cheshire purchased the building a little over a year ago and found Lewis Archer from Lake City to do the construction work.

“I was thankful to find Lewis because he took as much interest in restoring the building as I did. He did a great job, along with all the volunteer help we’ve had as well.” Said Cheshire. “We all have this addiction to old wood and old ‘stuff.’”




Owner Raymond Cheshire


The entire building was leaning to one side, the floors inside were all warped and sticking up in places. They have restored the first floor and straightened out the building. Cheshire filled it with antiques he collected over the years.

Brenda Gipson came to White Springs to work for Cheshire from Plant City. She said he had been collecting these antiques for years and had it stored in trailers. The day of the festival the store was filled with items such as old gas pumps, barber chairs, iceboxes, smaller items for the shelves and huge old signs – to name a few.




Brenda Gipson


“It was like finding buried treasure when we started going through everything,” Gipson said.
All the items that filled the store were from Cheshire’s private collection. An auction was held years ago and everything that was originally in the store was sold. They did find some old records in the safe that dated as far back as 1890 and had some of them on display.

Raymond Cheshire was born in White Springs and moved to Tampa shortly after with his grandparents on his mother’s side. He spent his summers in White Springs with his grandfather on his father’s side as a child. He remembers working in tobacco and swimming in the springhouse. He remembers frequently walking past Adams Country Store when it was open. “I didn’t have any money to go inside,” Cheshire laughed.




Hundreds of people visited Adams Country Store the day of the Azalea Festivel in White Springs, Florida. -Photo: Brie Stevenson


“The fondest memories of my life were here,” he said. “White Springs is sort of an undiscovered area where nobody expects anything of you except maybe to have a few manors and be nice to each other. No one is mad at anyone here, nobody hates anyone here and everybody gets along.”


When asked if he ever considered turning this into a museum or begin selling old lumber from one of the buildings out back, “It’s a possibility,” he said. “A lot of people have asked that. I’d like to earn some interest on my investment here but whether that happens this year or next year…it will be OK.” He continued, “I’m happy with what I’m doing, my children and my wife, Debbie, are happy with what I’m doing, and I’m sure God’s happy with what I’m doing.”


Cheshire says he just wants to be able to keep doing what he’s doing. He is a five-year cancer survivor. “Every day that I live past that, they say you dodge a bullet. This month is five years so,” looking up and raising his hands, “Thank you Lord,” he smiled.




This photo represents only a portion of the gas pumps they had on display. -Photo: Brie Stevenson


The huge logs on the front porch are 200-year-old logs taken from the Suwannee River. “You’ve seen Indian Joe on TV?” He asked. “I got those logs from him.” The 43-foot beam along the porch came out of a house built in 1837. The 2x4’s used are from the first commercial chicken house built in White Springs and the tin came from the top of the store when he replaced the roof. Everything has meaning.


Barber chairs on display in Adams Country Store.
- Photo: Brie Stevenson


“We’re a country that is based on hard work with integrity; do what you say you’re going to do and help each other.” He says White Springs reflects that and he is glad to be there.
It is nice to know that Adams Country Store will be around for many more years for future generations to appreciate. Thank you Raymond Cheshire for your tenacity and vision.