Depot empty as town searches for restaurateur

BY MICHAELE DUKE
news@kingstreenews.com

The Kingstree Railroad Depot, a beautiful centerpiece of the downtown area is back on the lease market. In March 2011, Earl Williams, who named it Grand Central Station, leased the restaurant. In January he vacated the property.

The News was unsuccessful in its attempts to contact Mr. Williams. The town has issued a request for proposals for the lease and operation of the facility.

Located on E. Main Street in Kingstree, The Depot was built around 1909 by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. It is part of Amtrak’s Great American Stations Project and is listed with the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and on the U.S. Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, National Register of Historic Places inventory.

The building has been home to several restaurants over the years. In 2010, Kingstree Town Council approved a major renovation that resulted in opening up the main space to accommodate a free-flowing modern dining facility and a separate bar. The 7,300 square feet of space includes an attached covered deck for outdoor dining. However, the renovation did not disturb historical markers such as the floor’s original 12-inch pine planks, the massive sliding doors where untold pounds of cotton and tobacco passed through and the grand scale that weighed the materials that made many a rich man.