Celebrating 20 years of S&T's and over a century of Soda Shoppes in Pittsboro.
In 1880, three young man left Manchester, England and headed to America. Brothers Thomas and William Culvert and George Pilkington came in search of a new place to live and work. Thomas practiced law until later becoming a Superior Court Judge and eventually moved to Raleigh. William moved to Portsmouth, Virginia and became a treasure of Seaboard Air Line Railroad. George opened and operated the first drug store in Pittsboro.
"Doc" Pilkington, as he is still referred to by the local people, owned the first drugstore to fill prescriptions in Pittsboro. He was well liked by all and there are many stories about him, the lives he touched, and the memories made at the old drug store/soda fountain.
George Pilkington was active in the North Carolina Pharmaceutical Society, being the third vice president and fourth president. Meetings were held at the soda shoppe, as well as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The first business was located on the east side of Hillsboro Street in a building called W. R. London & Son's. He had a small section in part of the store. Things went well and in 1916, L. N. Womble build a building across the street (the current site of S&T's Soda Shoppe) to house the new drug store.
George Pilkington had a successful pharmacy and soda shop until 1944. After his death that year, the shop became the "Upchurch Soda Shoppe." From 1952 through 1962, Dave Roberts ran the business. Mr. Roberts had a watch and jewelry repair shop, while also serving ice cream and treats. Before the decade was over, the trend for newer, modern facilities brought an end to the soda shoppe and Mr. Roberts moved to a newer location. The Colon Shaw family then occupied the building, opening a furniture store.
Gene Oldham purchased the building in June, 1996. He planned to recreate the soda shoppe as it may have been between 1900 – 1940. The building, which was a shell at that point, had to be true to the time in every way. The mahogany furniture was purchased from an old drugstore in Mebane, North Carolina. Each piece was carefully restored. Arthur Bouldin restored the woodwork, while Keith Moore refurbished each piece to its original beauty. A tin ceiling was added, tile floor laid and a marble counter with barstools was crafted from three older counters.
Ray Bouldin was the main drive behind everything in its place. He worked countless hours planning, nailing, gluing and listening to all Gene's suggestions and changes. To him, we owe so much.
Arthur Bouldin is the master behind the beautiful woodwork inside S&T's. He created three of the five booths from the original drug store, the frame for the mirror, built the tables from a drawing and handcrafted the wonderful ice cream sign, complete with a removable straw in the soda glass!
We owe a special thanks to Tommy and Cindi Edwards, Pam and Snuffy Smith, Dee Hearne, Mike Eubanks and Keith Moore for the countless hours they spent helping make our dream a reality.
The soda shoppe opened the third week in October, 1997. Gene named the shop S&T's after his two sons, Steve and TJ.
In the 20 years since it opened, S&T's has seen Pittsboro grow, countless good times enjoyed, made some great friends, mourned the loss of a few and served hundreds of thousands of happy customers. We have hosted impromptu family reunions, birthday parties, holiday events and the occasional rehearsal dinner. It is the Oldham Family's hope that this will continue to be a place one can come to enjoy a shake and a smile, reminisce about the past and make memories for the future.
S&T's is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 AM to 7:30 PM. We are located at 85 Hillsboro St., across from SunTrust Bank in historic Pittsboro, NC. Our phone number is (919) 545-0007. Calling in advance may reserve special parties and meeting space.