Conway's Peanut Warehouse gains national attention

Wedding at Peanut Warehouse (Source: Carl Kerridge)
Wedding at Peanut Warehouse (Source: Carl Kerridge)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Educational opportunities are only one example of what the city of Conway brings to the table.

It's also home to a rich history, in fact, if you've walked the Waccamaw River, you know there are a handful of vintage warehouses that line the meandering waterway.

But the one you've likely heard mentioned most, is called the Peanut Warehouse.

Talk about history, since around 1900, the Peanut Warehouse has had everything from peanuts, to lumber, to even something called super rainbow plant food. The walls of the warehouse can't talk, but Larry Biddle can.

President of Burroughs Company, Larry Biddle has cared for the Peanut Warehouse and other historic warehouses along the Waccamaw River for almost 30 years. For 100-some years, nothing's really changed inside the building.

"No nothing; absolutely not," confirms Biddle.

And he prides himself on preservation. The Oak and Hardwood on the old warehouse is the real deal, even down to the repairs.

"I've had people say, 'we could sand those floors and make it look gorgeous' and I say, 'no, don't be messing with the floors, get some tin'," laughs Biddle. "[Some may question fixing things] the old fashioned way, but that's the way they did it, and you have to think how would it have looked in 1900? What would they have done for this?"

Even the original scale still stands, once used to measure whatever the rail cars could deliver.

Biddle sets the scene of how rail cars would have been unloaded some 100 years ago. "Four of the doors, exactly parallel box cars, so you'd run one boxcar in this trapezoidal section and then you'd run one over there, and they would directly offload straight into the warehouse, yes sir."

That meant lumber during the textile days.

"I suspect this warehouse had everything in it from time to time," states Biddle. "It could [have] had cotton in it; it could have had peanuts in it, obviously. It could have had tobacco; it could have had a lot of things."

But the Peanut Warehouse is the name that stuck.

"Probably green peanuts for boiled peanuts, because boiled peanuts were a big thing in downtown Conway in the early 1900s. The kids still, you see them, they say I used to sell the nickel bag boiled peanuts on Main Street," recalls Biddle.

A Main Street mural is among the few modernizations in the Peanut Warehouse.

"There was a guest artist in the school system and he directed the kids of Conway High School; it was meant to capture the history of Conway," Biddle explains.

And they did add a dance floor. Other changes are hard to miss, from the dated rafters drape of 7,000 yards of fabric, to an unforgettable wedding, all unforgettable.

"It was a majestic wedding. It was the talk of the town in New York City, made national magazines, the whole thing," boasts Biddle.

So we just had to ask, what's the draw that brings people here, including politicians like Mitt Romney?

"That's right he was here," nods Biddle. "I think it's the power of history, it's not on sale."

If you're looking to rent the Peanut Warehouse for an event or any of the other historical buildings, grab a number, apparently they're booked up at least the next two months in advance.

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