Garages in Tuxedo
The Garages in Tuxedo
Growing up in the cotton mill village of Tuxedo, North Carolina was a great experience. Everyone knew everyone and we had everything we need to make life as comfortable as any other town. We had restaurants, grocery stores, and we even had two or three automobile repair shops. The first I will address is the Gulf Station owned by Mr. E H Allen. It was just across Freeman’s Lunch and next door to Earnest Lowe's’ Barber Shop.
Mr. Allen or “H” as he was commonly named by customers and friends was a quiet man who was a gifted mechanic as well as a community minded man. Whe our community had a tragic house fire where two young boys perished, the community came together to organize a volunteer fire department. The first firetruck was housed in his shop and he became Green River Volunteer Fire Departments first Fire Chief. As a youngster the weekly testing from the siren could be herd all over Tuxedo.
He worked on almost any vehicle and also sold gasoline and oil. In addition to repairing the broken cars of the mill village folks and surrounding rural countryside, he also took care of the boats for the Lake Summit folks. Mr Allen was a gentle soul who also took care of his aged father who enjoyed afternoon rides. "H" remarried late in life to a wonderful Christian lady who was a gifted singer and they would sometimes visit our church,
In addition to working on vehicles and boats, “H” was also good at working on lawn mowers. Once when I worked for Camp Mondamin, a local summer boys camp, I accidentally ran a Gravely mower into the lake. The camp owners tooks the mower to “H” and he had it going like new in short order.
The other garage in Tuxedo was one owned by Ulysses Bayne. His shop was next door to Staton’s Store and across from Lum Pace’s Shell Station. Mr Bayne had been a notable baseball player and I have heard of his prowess with a bat and the long home runs he could hit in those industrial league baseball games. The baseball gene seemed to run in his family and his son’s were also great baseball players, often playing on Sunday afternoons at the community baseball park in Tuxedo. The games usually pitted the Bayne family against the Vaughn families, both widely know to Tuxedo residents for their athleticism.
Ulysses was a great mechanic, especially when working on Cheverolet motors. He rebuilt a 1956 Chevy motor for me and I couldn’t believe how great it ran, just like new and he didn’t charge me an arm and a leg for the work.
Ulysses was also a quiet man who worked hard. He and his wife who worked in the cotton mill, had a fairly large family who still reside in and near Tuxedo.
Over time, both Bayne's Garage and E H Allen's Garage closed. Tuxedo was not left without a great automobile repair shop. Mr Elbert Capps and his son, Les ran a shop for many years just across from the Lake Summit Public docks. The Capps also took over the boats and fuel for the Lake Summit Association.
Les Capps made things intereting when he began building a race car to race on the dirt track near Travelers Rest ,SC. It didn't take long and soon others built cars to race. Tuxedo has long had a reputation for fast cars and Saturday night drag races at the Davis Place.
With the relocation of US225, the Capps Station closed and was moved to the residence of Elbert, who did custom work at his home shop. Tuxedo doesn't have an auto repair shop now but the memories of the shops run by Mr E H Allen, Ulysses Bayne and the Capps family still remain as a part of our history.