John Lester Sanders, Jr. was born July 23, 1914. He was a merchant, landscaper, lamp maker, photographer, furniture re-finisher, youth leader, avid historian, and brave civil rights advocate. His first job was shining shoes on Main Street; that is when he became fondly known as “Shine.” In the early 1950’s, Sanders opened Sanders Grocery Store in the Paradise community.
Sanders maintained a good work ethic, possessed strong integrity, and displayed exemplary leadership skills which made him a role model and spokesman for the Paradise community. He assisted the Fort Mill Police Department in organizing the George Fish School Safety Patrol’s summer trips to Charleston, South Carolina and he was a supporter of the Bethlehem Baptist’s Boy Scout Troop 160.
Mayor Cleve Lytle appointed Sanders to serve on the committee that was naming the first five streets in the Paradise neighborhood.
In 1998, U. S. Senator Lauch Faircloth nominated Sanders for the “Ageless Heroes Award” for community involvement.
Not only was Sanders involved in the community, but he was also a proud father. He raised his eight children at his home on Doby’s Bridge Road. Three of his children served in the Army, while two of them served in the Marines.
Sanders believed in man’s ability to improve himself, regardless of his station in life. “We only have a short time on this earth, and it is up to us to leave it a little better than we found it,” he said.
The library houses a collection of research volumes on various topics as well as original documents and photographs of people and events from Fort Mill’s history. The library and its computer are also available to visitors for genealogical research via Ancestry.com. Schedule an appointment with a research assistant by calling the museum during regular operating hours.