|The Coffee Pot, Hwy 301, S.C.|
The Coffee Pot: Before they opened the diner in 1950-51, British natives Fred and Emily Griffin had originally planned to open a tearoom. Deciding the busy highway needed a coffee shop instead, the Griffins opened the Coffee Pot Diner. Mrs. Griffin is said to have baked pies each night for the next day’s customers. A traveler could order breakfast and lunch and, of course, plenty of steaming cups of Joe.
Coffee may have been the American public’s beverage of choice for a caffeine fix, but in a nod to her British roots, Mrs. Griffin continued to partake of her afternoon tea at 4 o’clock every day.
The 1950s motored on, and the Griffins greeted their guests from near and far. But trouble was brewing on the horizon for the Coffee Pot Diner and other establishments like it.
In the mid-1950s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower brought home from World War II the idea of the interstate, a road system designed to move military equipment quickly, based on Germany’s Autobahn. South Carolina was to get three interstates: I-20, I-26 and I-95.
Begun in 1957 and one of the oldest interstates, it was I-95 that would slice through Orangeburg County, parallel to U.S. 301, sounding the death knell for countless motels, gas stations and mom-and-pop diners like the Coffee Pot.
The Coffee Pot poured its last cup in 1979