Archive for the ‘historic’ Category
Once upon a time, computers were magical devices, "Electronic Brains", spoken of with tinges of awe and fear. See for instance the classic Hepburn / Tracy movie Desk Set. Nobody, in their day-to-day lives would expect to see a computer, and few people had any idea what they actually looked like. Everybody was sure, however, that they involved lots of blinking lights (and tape drives moving forever back and forth).
That first actually wasn't far from the truth. Early computers did have many lights, often signifying bits in various registers and program counters. They also had toggle switches (like the much missed computer in the old Columbia Science Museum) for setting all those bits.
The illuminated front panels of early computers loomed large enough in techie culture that you often found variations of the following sign posted in a computer room:
ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN!
ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.
and the portmanteau word blinkenlights permanently entered the hacker lexicon.
So people were interested, a bit awed and a bit scared by the idea of computers, and had only a very general idea of what they could do and how they looked. Thus: The TELEVAC 86000.
This amiable faux computer has been making the rounds for as long as I can remember, which is to say, at least since 1965 or so, and probably prior to that. Every year, it would set up shop in the Steel Building or the Ruff Building and dazzle the passers by. How could you possibly doubt a handwriting analysis from the TELEVAC 86000? IT'S A COMPUTER! IT'S SCIENCE! IT HAS BLINKING LIGHTS!
While we never did spring for the analysis when my parents took us to the fair back in the day, I have the feeling that at the time, this wonder of technology dispensed pre-printed cards dissecting your penmanship -- certainly there were no portable printers available for such a travelling roadshow.
As the years went on, the TELEVAC did add a printer, and astrological predictions as well as handwriting analysis, but the basic blinkenlights front panel stayed fundamentally unaltered, even through the name change to the less antique sounding CENTAURI-68000.
By the time I actually dropped $3.00 in 2012, the whole concept was not too credible. Whereas in 1965, nobody had seen a computer, much less had a computer, and the blinkenlights represented (to this 5 year old anyway) the apex of science, by 2012 most everybody (including lots of the 5 year olds) had a computer, and everybody knew what one looked like.
Sad to say, the TELEVAC / CENTAURI did not make an appearance at the 2013 State Fair, and I'm afraid it is the end of an era.
This is about the only good news to come out of Georgetown in the last few days.
I have been in a number of these businesses, and they are right in the heart of the downtown boardwalk.
Facebook is a weird animal. I get a lot of hits from there, but unlike a normal website, I can't check to see what people are saying when they link here becuase you have to be a facebook member to access almost anything. Likewise there's a lot of content on Facebook that's probably interesting to ColumbiaClosings readers, but in general it is not accessible outside of Facebook and never gets indexed by google. The exception is that for some reason or another, content often leaks out of foreign language Facebook subsidiaries.
A case in point is this posting which leaked through the Korean site:
Pat Seay Garvin다음 장소에 게시Georgetown Wooden Boat Show (Georgetown, SC)
2010년 10월 10일 오후 2:22 ·
Looking for any old SEAYCRAFT wooden boats made at 3132 Two Notch Rd. in Columbia, SC in the 50's. My uncle Tom Seay owned a boat shop and made several models of wooden powerboats. My father worked for him when I was little, and I remember those boats well. Would love to see an original still alive.
It's an unlikely little storefront for a boatwright, but I suppose they may have had the whole building at the time, and probably a back lot.
Long after that, during the era when the other part of the building was Mr. B's, 3132 was
Diamond's Liquor Store.
Marion Burnside Chrysler Plymouth, 7201 On The Sumter Highway / Jim Hudson Cadillac Sabb 7201 Garners Ferry Road: January 2012 (moved) 11 comments
Marion Burnside Chrysler Plymouth was a constant breakfast-table presence while I was growing up due to their memorable commercials on WIS Radio. At this remove, it a little cloudy what the exact lyrics to their jingle were, but clearly they spelled out the word "Marion" and drove home the fact that they were at "Seventy Two Oh One on the Sumter Highway!". Here's the way several people recall it (as first seen on the Ads & Jingles page:
Mar-i-on is the name to remember,
7201 on the Sumter High-Way!
M-- "More Service"
A-- "Able to Serve You"
R-- "Real Value"
I-- "something something!"
M A R, I O N,
Marion Burnside Plymouth in Columbia
M for Marion Burnside Plymouth in Columbia
A at 7201 the Sumter Highway
R ready to serve you
N now go!
M- Marion Brunside Chrysler Plymouth in Columbia
A- address 7201 Sumter Highway
R- ready to serve you
N- Now Come
It's a bit hard to conceptualize now, but before I-77 and the growth of the metro area, this lot was way out in the boonies, or at least that's how I considered it. It was something we would pass on the way to the beach, and not something I considered as being "in town" at all. In the event, we were a Ford/Mecury family in those days (something 1970s' Mecurys cured us of), so I never actually paid a visit to Marion Burnside, and am a bit hazy as to when it closed. I'm thinking the late 1970s, but I could be wrong.
Jim Hudson moved into the Marion building sometime later, and had been there quite a while by the time they got caught up earlier this month in the general flight to Blythewood that has already taken Dick Dyer Toyota, Lexus of Columbia and a surprising number of other dealerships.
After a long series of days when I could only take pictures as the sun went down, or when the day was completely overcast, I had some hopes for these pictures. In particular, the sidelot with all the little plastic flags strung up was quite photogenic as they glittered in the early afternoon sun. Of course, the instant I got out of the car, the sun went behind the clouds, and I got yet another gray set of pix. The only partial benefit was that shooting against the sun as I had to do for most of these was a little less bad (Less bad, but still *bad*).
(Hat tip to commenter Frank)
This site for the current owners of the building (note the clever URL) says it was built originally as a grocery. It was still operating as a billiard hall in the February 1997 phonebook, but by the time of the next one I have here at home (February 2007), the listing was gone. Since then it appears to have been a thrift store, and now houses a number of operations as detailed at the previous link.
Columbia, S. C.
Best food on Highway One, north of Columbia. A spe-
cialty Restaurant serving good clean food. So duck in at
Drakes and enjoy a delicious meal.
Columbia, S. C.
Best food on Highway one, north of Columbia. A specialty
Restaurant serving good clean food. So duck in at Drake's
and enjoy a delicious meal.
"Good Clean Food" -- I'm not sure I've ever seen that exact phrase used as a selling point before..
Over the years I've been running Columbia Closings I've gotten a number of requests for Drake's Restaurant on Taylor Street. I've never done much about it because we never ate there, and I really didn't remember the place, and because the building was gone.
Recently though, I was searching an online postcard site, and found two good postcards of Drake's. As fate would have it, commenter Dennis emailed me the same day with a copy of one of the same postcard images, saying:
This is Drake's Restaurant that stood on the southeast corner of Two
Notch/Millwood and Forest Drive. It's been long demolished and is now
a Church's Chicken. This view is from the south on Millwood. My family
ate there a lot in the early 1960s. It was a nice, quiet, "white
tablecloth" place that I truly miss. The Drakes ran a florist business
in the same building, no doubt doing a lot of business with Providence
Hospital patients across the street. And Yes, there is a connection to
Drake's Duck-In on Main Street, or at least there was originally.
I'm not sure what years these cards are from. I'm confident however, that the first card is earlier, as you can see that the roof air-conditioning units are the old wooden-slat type, while in the next card they are more modern.
I'm not sure when Drake's was started either. It *is* listed in the 1954 Southern Bell phonebook, the first one available at the RCPL. That, and subsequent phonebooks up to 1960 give the address as simply "Taylor Street". The December 1961 book is the first one to give the street number of "2436 Taylor Street". As far as I can tell, the place never bought a full yellow-pages ad. However, also starting in the December 1961 book, it did start buying a small box ad (pictured above) touting its "Go Service" wherein you could phone in your order and pick it up to go. This continued (with the same design and text) through the final listing for Drake's, which was in the January 1977 phonebook.
As Dennis mentions, the Drake's address is now a Church's Chicken fast food outlet, which is a completely new building.
One thing about the whole situation which blows my mind is that Drake's had (and Church's has) a Taylor Street address. If there was anything I thought I knew, it was that Taylor Street was West of Millwood and Forest Drive was East of Millwood. Full stop end of story. There's probably some sort of street re-routing story there...
(Hat tip to commenter Dennis, and a few others over the years)
Here's one for you history buffs!
I ran across this 1907 City Directory when I was googling for "926 Gervais". As it turns out, Google has been working with libraries to digitize public domain books they might have in their holdings, and somehow or other this one was found at UV.
You can download the whole directory here. It is in PDF format, but you may need the latest version of Acrobat Reader to make it open correctly.
More sample pages after the jump. Also, remember that this is a historical document and that it follows the unfortunate mores of its times.
[Front Row Bottom left-to-right: Brian Wilson-Piano/Vocals, Jeff Foskett-Guitar/Vocals, David Marks-Guitar, Mike Love-Vocals, Al Jardine-Guitar/Vocals, Unknown, Bruce Johnston-Keyboards/Vocals]
(Wanted to get this out last night, but my uploads didn't finish..)
Commenter Larry points out this State story on the closing of Palmetto Candy & Tobacco. This Columbia institution is on Lincoln Street across from the Seaboard station, and is someplace I have always meant to check out. In the event, as is often the case, I have apparently waited too long.
As the 21 April story (which places the closing time as "about a month ago") notes, there is a "remodeling" sign on the store door, but I find that more often than not in these cases, that is kind of a "the cat is on the roof and won't come down" way to break bad news. This is especially the case given the customer base was apparently largely "filling stations, corner markets, baseball leagues and swimming pools" -- the types of operations which will quickly change to new suppliers and then be reluctant to make yet another change if the place reopens.
(Hat tip to commener Larry)
I noticed this abandoned gas station a few weeks ago coming back into town on the Sumter Highway. It sits where US-378 (The Sumter Highway) and SC-764 meet at a fork in the road.
I'm sure that the painting on the facade is sufficient to identify what brand of station it was, but I'm drawing a blank on it right now, and as often as I have driven (or ridden..) that road since the 1960s, I'm almost certain I never stopped there.
These pictures were taken about 5 minutes too late -- Just before I got to the area, the sun had broken through the storm clouds for that glorious late-afternoon-post-storm light you get sometimes, but by the time I started snapping, the clouds were already rolling back in. I wish I had the honey-suckle pumps in that light..