One place that screams kitsch-Americana, cheesy, not politically correct roadside architecture, is South of the Border in Dillon, South Carolina. It’s located at the intersections of SC Highway 9, NC 15-501, and I-95. Ever since traveling to Florida with family, years back, the terribly amusing billboards stretching hundreds of miles North and South have intrigued me. Finally, senior year of college, Maria, Amy, Elyse & I stopped there on our we’re-dorks-preservation-spring-break to investigate the shops and take pictures. However, we did not explore too much as we were trying to get to Florida as fast as possible. I’ve since been through a few times to take pictures of the concrete flamingos. (I know you’re not surprised.) In the next few weeks, Kristin (see contributors page) is going to come visit me and although she is my best friend, she has somehow been immune to my ridiculous adoration of roadside America. This is about to change when I introduce her to South of the Border and a drive-in movie theater.
I write this post to inform you roadside lovers to visit South of the Border soon. From reading the blogs of others who mention South of the Border, it’s becoming quite the seedy place and much is in disrepair & neglect. Is it possible that South of the Border will someday be completely abandoned, dismantled, and a thing of the past? I would have to guess that, yes, someday this might be the case. As a pre-mitigation measure, I will take as many photographs as possible and report back in a few weeks (possibly saving this for an actual Preservation in Pink issue – expect June to be the next one.) However, the seediness of South of the Border could be just the nature of it, similar to Coney Island. You know what you’re getting yourself into, but that’s the draw.
Here are two links to articles of concern:
[I can’t find the other one – I’ll update it when I do.]
In the meantime, keep those cameras with you at all times! And here is one of our many South of the Border photographs: