On June 9, 1909 a 6,000 square foot parcel of land was purchased by “The Estill Warehouse Company” from Mr. Thomas L. Cave of Estill, South Carolina. The price give was $2,000.00. The land was bounded on the North by Lawtonville Public Road; on the East( later Nixville Road )by Seaboard Air Lines Railroad; on the South by a sixty foot lot of George Bender Clarke and on the West one hundred feet by Railroad Street. The said lot being 100 feet x 60 feet.
Construction was completed in 1910. An article in the “State” newspaper dated November 22, 1909 tells us about a splendid and commodious building 200 feet X 60 feet for the storage of cotton. The warehouse company was owned by S.M. (Sumpton Mills) Clarke, President, W.E. (William Edward) Peeples, Secretary, Charles Laughlin Peeples, Sr. and Benjamim J. Peeples. By June 1918, S.M. Clarke and W.E. Peeples sold out their share of stock to C.L. Peeples and Ben J. Peeples.
By 1929, the building was heavily mortgaged. The property was bought by C.L. Peeples, Sr., he being the only bidder, for $125.00 on February 5, 1929. Mr. C.L. Peeples died in 1939; leaving a widow and seven children. The heirs sold the property to J.F. (John Frampton) Wyman for $500.00 cash and assumption of the mortgage indebtedness of $2,500.00. After Mr. Wyman’s death, the property was inherited by J.F. Wyman, Jr. On September 30, 1982, Mr Wyman Jr. sold the property to Thomas Lawton Harper or Sumter Grain Company. No price was mentioned or determined later. Sometime between 1982 and 1994 in a family trade, the property was owned by Southern Soya Corporation; later becoming the property of Andrew Barnard Harper. On September 28, 1994, Andrew Harper, for the sum of $5.00 deeded the property to the Town of Estill.
The building lay dormant for the period between 1994 and 2005 until the Town of Estill began to put in place construction and financial plans for renovating the old warehouse. On August 27, 2009, the Town of Estill held a re-dedication ceremony to present the “Bull Durham Center” to the public. The Bull Durham Center operates as two independent halls, the Live Exhibit Hall and the Palmetto Reception Hall. The Town uses the building for meetings and training. Both Halls can be rented for corporate affairs, conventions, wedding receptions and other functions of commercial, community or social importance.
At some point in the very early years of the warehouse, the Bull Durham Tobacco Company bought advertising rights and painted the warehouse with their “Bull Durham” logo. That is how the old cotton warehouse became what is now known as the Bull Durham Center.
The renovation of the Bull Durham Center would not have been possible without the financial support of the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the Estill Town Council; along with other support and goodwill by CSX Railroad, SCE & G/Scana, Mr. Andrew Harper, Mr. Ben Hadwin, grant administration by the LowCountry Council of Government, Architects J. Stephen Smith, AIA, Gary Watkins, AIA, Construction by L.H. Busby Construction and Atlantic Design & Construction, and project administration by Town Administrators J.J. Orr and Danny Lucas. History research was provided by Mary Eleanor Bowers.