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What’s the history behind The Coffee Pot in Winston-Salem?

This coffee pot is not one you can put on your stove (sorry to disappoint).

WStoday: The Mickey Coffee Pot standing in grass ares on Main Street in Old Salem

This famous coffee pot is certainly brewing visitors’ attention in the city.

Photo by Digital Forsyth (left) and WStoday (right)

This landmark is not your average (cup of) joe. In fact, the Mickey Coffee Pot is a grinding grounding spot where Brookstown Avenue and South Main Street meet. While it’s not brewing any beans, the 12-ft-tall pot can hold 740 gallons. If its history has ever perked your interest, keep reading.

A clever act

Brothers Julius and Samuel Mickey made the pot in 1858, which stood in front of their tin shop in the town of Salem. The sign was an advertisement and drew in visitors. Before the Industrial Revolution, it was common for vendors and artisans to hang symbols of their trade outside of their shop.

Preserving history

In 1920, the City of Winston-Salem wanted to remove the sign due to safety hazards, but the public fought for it to stay, as it had become a beloved landmark and a symbol of the city. City officials moved the Coffee Pot due to the construction of Interstate 40. It was stored until the early 1960s, when James A. Gray suggested placing it on a small grassy area between Brookstown Avenue and South Main Street. It still stands on a pole there today.

On March 14, 1976, the Wachovia Historical Society placed a commemorative plaque to mark its significance. Today, the pot serves as a public piece of art, a historical landmark, and a conversation piece. Don’t worry, we have plenty of coffee shops around town where you can get your caffeine fix.

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