This was part of the Tison Naval Stores business which gave its name to the surrounding community and served as a commissary/general store. Thanks to Charles Tillman, a descendant of the Tison family who now operates Watermelon Creek Vineyard on the property, this and the naval stores warehouse across the highway remain intact for future generations.
As I was photographing this structure, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was grooming a horse and learned the he was Charles Tillman, a descendant of the Tison family from which the surrounding community takes its name. He noted that this was the base of operations for Tison Naval Stores.
After living away from the family lands for many years, Tison returned home and began growing grapes and operating Watermelon Creek Vineyards. He graciously shared some of the history of the area with me. His son, it turns out, is the ninth generation to farm the fertile lands near Watermelon Creek. Mr. Tison also noted that for many years the community’s name was misspelled “Tyson” on state maps and he went through the process of having it corrected to reflect the proper spelling.