The Old Police Station in Ridgeway has been described as the world’s smallest and now houses a tourist-information booth. The rear portion of this tiny building was once a water well for the mules of local farmers. While the well was built in the 1890s, the structure was restored as this police station in 1940. The ten-foot-by-twelve-foot building continued to serve the small town, which has a population of around 300, until 1990. Today the Ridgeway Police Station stands next to this historic building. Though also small, the new station does not threaten to take away its next-door-neighbor’s title of world’s smallest police station.
The Ridgeway Police Station is listed in the National Register as part of the Ridgeway Historic District:
The Ridgeway Historic District is significant as an example of a virtually intact turn-of-the-century town whose development was inextricably tied to agricultural prosperity. A majority of the buildings in the district were built between 1890 and 1915, the heyday of cotton production in the area. The community developed in an east-west linear pattern paralleling the Southern Railway tracks, completed in 1850. After a period of economic depression following the Civil War, Ridgeway began to develop as a commercial center serving area farmers. By 1880 there were ten stores located in the commercial district, two stores still survive. The town’s merchants constructed modern new brick stores along Palmer Street and some also built their homes in the residential section adjacent to the central business district. The district contains approximately thirty-one buildings including a commercial block with a predominance of simply ornamented two-story brick stores and a residential block with primarily asymmetrical, frame, weatherboarded houses lining the tree shaded streets. Styles include Queen Anne, Neo-Classical, Victorian, and Bungalow. Also included are a school, the town hall, and the police station.
Chris H. says
I was told by the previous owner and longtime resident of Ridgeway that the building across the street which is now the town library was once the town pharmacy. The old police station building was originally built to cover and protect the water well used by the pharmacist for compounding medications.