Travelers along United States Highway 17 from Charleston towards the Grand Strand will pass a vacant country store just below the South Santee River. Called Bonnie’s Barn, the shell of the once-thriving McClellanville store sits on a three-acre lot in front of the merchant’s home. The store was active during much of the twentieth century and was an oasis for motorists along the highway and a last stop for sportsmen on their way to the Santee Gun Club, now Santee Coastal Reserve.
The store’s proprietor was Bonnie Thames, one of three brothers who owned and operated general stores at various locations along Highway 17. Herbert Thames ran his store from Awendaw, about 18 or so miles south of this store, and Jennings Thames owned a store across the North Santee River. Jennings Thames’ store is still in operation under different ownership, called Carolina Country Store.
General stores run in the Thames family. Bulls Bay Supply, a general store also on the well-traversed Highway 17, closed its doors in January of 2013 after 33 years of operation. A familiar stop for beach travelers, it was most recently owned by Oliver Thames, Herbert Thames’ grandson, and run by Thames and his cousin, Charlotte Thames Morse. Charlotte’s grandfather was Bonnie Thames of Bonnie’s Barn. Bulls Bay Supply originally opened as a general store in 1894 and served as several different businesses until Oliver Thames bought the building and opened his own store in 1980.
Today Bonnie’s Barn and House are the last buildings seen before crossing the South Santee River. The property, now for sale, is surrounded by protected wetlands and historic rice fields. It also sits near Hampton and Wedge plantations.
More Pictures of Bonnie’s Barn
More Pictures of Bonnie’s House
Interior Pictures of Bonnie’s House
I’m looking for any old photos of when the Bonnie’s Barn store was in operation and the years it opened and closed. Any photos or more information about the Thames owners of the house and store is appreciated. Did they have children? Was the store there prior to Bonnie Thames opening Bonnie’s Barn? Any additional history or photos of this location when it was lived in and operated would be great!
Did you have to obtain permission from the property owner? I live nearby and I’d like to check it out thank you.
SC Picture Project says
Hi Shayn! Thanks for your comment. The property can be seen and photographed from the road, but you would definitely need permission to go inside. Hope this helps!
C. Neil Scott says
Hi. What’s the physical address so I can GPS the location?
Hello, when viewing any of our pages on “Desktop Mode” or from an actual computer, the GPS coordinates and addresses (when available) are displaying at the bottom of each page. The GPS coordinates for this are 33.173610, -79.417081. It is on US Highway 17, hope this helps!
Jamie Gainey says
I have a couple of photos of the house that I would like to share. email me if you would be interested in adding them to this page.
Thanks Jamie! We sent you an email.
Neva Beckman says
Ludwig and I enjoyed the pictures and general information. Thanks!!!