Thomas Franklin Connor built what is now called the Terrell Country Store back in 1885. After 134 years, the future of the landmark is unknown to the public.
Proprietors Bob Sysol and Jo Ireland, who currently operate a community antique shop out of the building, were told by the land owner that they must be moved out of the building by Oct. 1 of this year.
The current owner is Jean Huffman Connor, according to the Catawba County deeds. Ireland also said Jean Huffman Connor told her that the building will be demolished. Signs in front the country store make the same claim -- the building is coming down.
Sysol said customers have been pouring into the store over the last week. Gary Craven was in the store on Thursday afternoon reminiscing.
“My father at one time had this place leased and he had a pantyhose store in here. He’d worked in hosiery all his life, and then he retired and leased the store,” Craven said. He added that his father ran the store sometime between the mid-1960s to mid-1970s.
Craven has been living on and off in the area since 1969. “There’s just so many changes going on,” he said about the Terrell community.
When he learned that Sysol would have to move out of the store in October, he couldn't believe it. “I don’t see a reason why,” he said.
Another Thursday afternoon customer, Leif Atwell, grew up in the Terrell community and has also seen a number of changes in his 38 years.
“I remember the post office being here in the store,” he said. “We would come up here to drop mail off or pick something up.”
Although Atwell will miss the trips made with his kids to get ice cream at the store, he understands that progress will march on.
“It’s just change,” he said. “Things don’t last forever. It’s like when people die; you love them, you miss them and can remember them, but they’re going to pass on.”
Thomas Franklin Connor, born 1860, was known as "the father of Terrell," according to his obituary published in the Hickory Daily Record. He died in December 1947 from a "heart ailment."
He opened the store in 1885, and a post office was added a few years later, according to the nomination form for the Terrell Historic District.
A year later in 1886, Charles H. Lester designed a house for Thomas Franklin Connor, which still stands today and is known as the T.F. Connor House. It is owned by descendant Charles Connor III.
In the 134 years of the store’s history, ownership was passed down in the family for generations. Charles Connor III’s father died in 2008, which left Jean Huffman Connor the sole owner of the property.
Charles Connor III says he has no sentimental value attached to the store anymore, and that the Connor family is not upset over the supposed selling and demolition of the Terrell Country Store.