General Stores: Cline's Store and Bennett's Store
Cline's Store in Waleska
Luther Cline opened Cline's Store on Hwy 140 in Waleska with his brother Levi Cline. The store’s construction began in 1920 and was completed in 1924.
Luther’s legs were so long that when he would sit on the counter to wait for a customer, he would swing his feet back and forth. He did it so much that there is an indentation forming a slope in the floor about 2 inches from the cash register. When you visit Cline's Store today, you can get a sense of how tall this man really was by seeing the height of the counters.
Information from an interview with Mike Cline.
Cline Cotton Gin
Cline's Store operated in Waleska as a general store from 1924 until 1970 and is now only open on the weekends as an antique store. For many years, though, it was where people came to get everything from groceries to farm supplies.
This photo shows the cotton gin that was built behind Cline's Store, torn down by Bill Cline. Local farmers brought their cotton crop to the Cline gin to be processed.
Bill Cline said he hated working at the gin. He said:
“Green cotton stopped up the saw that takes the seeds out. . . . The cotton was weighed, then the seed was separated, and the cotton baled. Seed was bought on the spot, and cotton could be bought or carried to the Canton Cotton Mills. Mr. Young graded the cotton there, or other places would buy it.”
Inside Cline's Store, you can still see the original hook that was a part of the scale to measure the cotton.
Information from Cherokee County Historical Society oral interview with Bill Cline and from interview with Mike Cline.
Cline's Store Today
Some people say that Cline’s Store reminds them of Ike Godsey’s Store from the television series The Waltons.
When entering the store, you feel like you are stepping back in time. The store sold everything from car parts to dresses to canned food to chewing tobacco.
Historic records show that Reinhardt College had a credit account with the store. When the bill was paid, an X was written over the debt to mark it off.
The store still has the original cash register, the original safe, and the original account books. The Cline family decided to close the general store in 1970 after Bill Cline was mugged and robbed.
Cline's Store is now owned by Mike and Tracey Cline and operates as an antique store.
Cline's Store, Waleska, Georgia
Bennett's Store in the Salacoa Valley
John Bennett, Sr., opened Bennett’s Store on Salacoa Road in 1940, after the store had been passed down through a few previous owners.
This photo is from a Cherokee Tribune
article (April 18, 1984) about the history of the Salacoa Valley.
Bennett’s Store served as not only a supplier to the community but also as a gathering place. For many years, Salacoa
residents even voted at Bennett's Store.
This scale was used in Bennett’s store up until its closing in 1979. Many of the old utilities and traditions remained in the store as long as Mr. Bennett himself was the proprietor, keeping a down-home, welcoming feeling in the atmosphere.
John Bennett Jr. told us that the shelves seen behind the scale in this photo were the medicine shelves at one point.
Next to the store stood a cotton gin. In the peak of the farming period in Salacoa, farmers could have their crops processed here for what was called a “toll.” This means that Bennett’s Store would keep a small portion of the processed crop in exchange for their services.
Photo by Abigail Merchant.
This now-antique air compressor was used in Bennett’s Store for helping anyone with a flat tire, or anyone who needed compressed air for any other purpose. The hose that leads to the wall ran outside, where the air was available to fill up flat tires. Materials to patch the tires were also provided completely free of charge.
Photo by Abigail Merchant.