Cumming, GA

Historic Building in Cumming, Georgia Gets New Life, Again

DarrylBrooks

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Old Sinclair Station in Cumming, GeorgiaImage by Author

As you drive around the downtown Cumming, Georgia area, you can’t help but notice the modern brick courthouse and city hall. But hidden among all the brand new is some very old. Tucked in amongst all the modern brick buildings is the old Sinclair station. On the corner of Atlanta Hwy and Main Street, the iconic former gas station is still sitting there, having been giving one more lease on life by the Cumming Cigar Company.

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Modern Forsyth County City HallImage by Author

Few gas stations, or fillin’ stations, as we knew them, still exist from when we were kids growing up around Cumming, Georgia. And the familiar shape of the original gas stations has been replaced by modern convenience stores that just happen to have pumps out front. But the one I remember most and the first to disappear was the giant green dinosaur on the old Sinclair Stations. Sinclair is still pumping gas out west, but in the Cumming, Georgia area, they have been gone for decades.

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Old Sinclair Station in Cumming, GeorgiaImage by Author

But the Sinclair station in downtown Cumming, Georgia, has been sitting on the same corner for almost 100 years. You can still hear old-timers tell tales about the gambling that used to go on in the old basement. Moonshine and cigars, along with poker, are what the stories talk about. Well, there probably won’t be gambling and moonshine, but cigar smoke will once again permeate the old brick walls.

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Old Sinclair Station in Cumming, GeorgiaImage by Author

The Sinclair gas station closed over 50 years ago, but the old white brick building has somehow survived the modernization of downtown Cumming, Georgia. In 2008, the city bought the building and property to turn it into a welcome center. But, as you know, 2008 was the start of a recession, and efforts to reopen the building slowed to a crawl. For seven years, work on the building started and stopped while the new county jail and other construction projects were completed.

According to Mayor H. Ford Gravitt, who used to wash cars at the site, the Sinclair station was the first in the city to have electricity. In the 1990s, the gymnasium of the school he attended as a child was torn down, and the mayor had had enough. He got a judge to issue an injunction against further destruction, and that began a preservation movement in the city that still exists. The rest of that old school is the Cumming Playhouse and the famous Tam’s Backstage restaurant. “This place has more history than most people know,” he says.

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Old Sinclair Station in Cumming, GeorgiaImage by Author

The welcome center never really got off the ground, and the building stood vacant again until 2019 when Carter Patterson, co-owner of the Cumming Cigar Company, decided to bring it back to life. They had to work around strict historic preservation parameters to remodel the building and ready it for new occupancy. According to Patterson, they actually found a jar of moonshine while remodeling one of the rooms in the basement.

The building has two rooms and both indoor and outdoor seating areas. In addition to premium cigars, the company offers beer and wine on tap. The store had its grand opening on August 11, 2019, but had barely got started when the pandemic struck. They have struggled through these past months, like many other small local businesses. But the outdoor seating area and the bays which can open to turn the inside rooms into open-air smoking rooms and a bar have saved the day.

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Old Sinclair Station in Cumming, GeorgiaImage by Author

You can visit Cumming Cigar Company Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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Old Sinclair Station in Cumming, GeorgiaImage by Author

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I am a writer with over 16 years of experience and hundreds of articles. I write about photography, productivity, life skills, money management and much more.

Alpharetta, GA
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