” An early African American service station gets a new building in Rock Hill.”
City Directories and History: 1922 – NA, 1963 – Mills Texaco Service
The Herald reported on April 22, 1896 – “Street overseer, Wallace is getting West Black Street in fine shape. The street is being widened and a rock culvert has been built over the stream in the rear of Kerr and Heath’s Stable.” (This location was next to the Mill’s Filling Station, constructed here some decades later.)
The Mills Service Station was a very popular location for African Americans who frequented it for services including: gas, tires, repairs, etc. The property was owned by
Marshall Oil Company and operated by local African American businessmen Tom and James Mills. In ca. 1960 the older filling station was replaced with a more modern one and when forced to relocate due to the urban renewal efforts of the city, Mills Service Station moved to the corner of South Wilson and Ogden Road.
J.T. Williams on his downtown tour, wrote – “Crossing the street and heading east we find an Atlantic Service Station run by James Mills and his sons. To the rear of the station, some three hundred feet, is the Mt Gallant Ice & Coal Company. Going back to the street there are several businesses: Pink Brown’s Billiard Parlor and Liquor Store (Pink Brown was a moving force in the black community along with Prince Riley, Mrs. Johnnie Mae Robinson and others who made up an unofficial black city council), Spoffard J. Gathings’ Drug Store and Dentist’s Office, John A. Gathings’ Drug Store and small-loan operation, and Robinson Funeral Home.”
Also see the Urban Renewal image for a 1950’s look at the area.
Under the More Information link please find further details on the life of Tom Mills.
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