Saturday, March 23, 2019

Superb Alabama Folk Art: Snuffy Smith's of Wilmer

Snuffy Smith's, 1990, Kodachrome slide, Leica M3, 50mm lens
Snuffy Smith's gasoline station and antique emporium was a familiar sight on U.S. Highway 98 near the Mississippi-Alabama state line. Google gives the address as 14860 Moffett Rd, Wilmer, AL 36587, but I am not sure if that is correct. Regardless, it is an example of folk art magifique.
I found two 4×5" Fujichrome frames from 1990. The large negatives, of course, preserve a lot of detail (click the pictures to enlarge to 1600 pixels wide). There is surprisingly little information on the web about this site. A 2009-vintage blog states that "Snuffy's got its name from a previous owner, Arthur Drake Smith, who dipped snuff."
1995 Kodachrome slide, Leica M3, 50mm lens
Notice a few changes between 1990 and 1995. A new armored man is on patrol guarding the gasoline pumps. And an antique blue pump has been placed on the left of the island, replacing an overflowing trash can.

This amazing example of home-made art may be gone. I did not see it the last time I drove on U.S. 98, but maybe I simply missed it. If any readers have information, please advise.


W. White said...

Google Street View shows the building still there, apparently unoccupied and shorn of its Snuffy Smith decoration, though its faded Snuffy Smith signs are still in situ.

Wild Child said...

I grew up in this store an do did my kids til it closed. It was an amazing place to be where everybody knew everybody. Someone from New York tried to reopen in 2006 but they couldn't pull it off. It's a southern thing. I do know as of 2006 the fuel tanks and all utilities were still in excellent condition. I'd love to see this part of my childhood brought back to life

Unknown said...

When was snuffys opened

Unknown said...

Cool old place used to stop by there on the way to the river every weekend.

Kodachromeguy said...

Thank you all for your comments. Snuffy's was an amazing piece of local art.