Bluffton myths & misconceptions: The Rate wasn’t built for virtue
Setting the record straight on some of the town’s most historic events.
Story By Barry Kaufman
The Rate wasn’t built for virtue
Recently restored to its former glory, the squat structure known as The Rate serves as a freestanding testament to Bluffton’s small-town roots. Built by Gaillard Heyward as a grocery store during a time when buying groceries meant spending the day traveling to Savannah, its first claim to fame wound up being as an ice cream store. Named “The Rate” by proprietary Shorty Dugger, it served for years as a place where Bluffton’s children could buy sweets and enjoy summer.
It would eventually become a post office under the watch of Bluffton’s post mistress, Gaillard Heyward’s wife, Lucille. The reasons why, however, may have been transformed over the years by Bluffton’s rumor mill.
“The original post office was located where The Store is, along with a barber shop,” said historian Rodney Vaughn. “Obviously men hung out there, and the story is that when Lucille Heyward became post mistress, her husband didn’t want her around those men so he built a post office for her.”
A jealous husband makes for a juicy story, but alas, that’s all it is. “That’s really not the reason that post office exists,” said Vaughn. “Bluffton had just outgrown that other post office.”