The Sinclair Service Station, located on Jacob Smart Boulevard (aka US Highway 17) in Ridgeland, South Carolina was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by Ward Architecture + Preservation in 2015. The former service station, now owned and occupied by the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, is significant as a well-preserved example of a prototypical Sinclair Service Station along a major transportation route catering to the automobile. Sarah Ward with Ward Architecture + Preservation, prepared the nomination materials and successfully guided the project through the state and federal designation process.
The Sinclair Service Station was constructed in 1937 for Dr. Collins E. Smith on his property at Main Street and U.S. Highway 17. During the late 1920s through the 1930s, Sinclair Refining Company standardized a prototype to brand its facilities. The prototype incorporated elements of the Mission Revival style and featured a vehicular canopy and columns projecting through a gabled parapet, similar in appearance to a castle wall and thus became known as the “castle style.” The castle style Sinclair Service Station in Ridgeland was true to the prototype. This enabled customers to easily recognize the Sinclair brand when travelling through Ridgeland. Located along the Coastal Highway, U.S. Highway 17, the Sinclair Service Station was well sited to meet the growing demands of the ever-increasing automobile traveler as well as cater to the local population during the period of its construction. Once completed and opened, the Dean family operated the Sinclair Service Station, which stayed in service for three decades under various owners ending with the Ellis-Smart family. The building was rehabilitated and reopened in September 2015 as the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, showcasing the history of U.S. Highway 17 and its surroundings.
The National Register of Historic Places is our country’s official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts worthy of preservation. The National Register provides formal recognition of a property’s architectural, historical, or archaeological significance. It also identifies historic properties for planning purposes and insures that these properties will be considered in the planning of state or federally assisted projects. National Register listing encourages preservation of historic properties through public awareness, federal and state tax incentives, and grants. Listing in the National Register does not place obligations or restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer, or disposition of private property.
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