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Archive for August, 2008

Yogi Bear's Honey Fried Chicken, Two Notch at Parklane: 1960s?   19 comments

Posted at 6:20 pm in historic,restaurants

Commenter Dennis sends this picture noting:

There was a Yogi Bear's at the corner of Two Notch & Decker. Where K-Mart's parking lot is.

This sign is actually in Hartsville, and the store there is about the last one in the US. The one in Columbia had a sign identical to this one.

I don't recall this place in Columbia; I know several things have come onto that K-Mart corner though. The one in Hartsville I have seen many times -- we drive by it on the way to visit our cousins there. I believe they still prefer the chicken there over other larger brands like KFC and Church's.

UPDATE 22 June 2010 -- I get a lot of hits looking for Yogi Bear's Honey Fried Chicken. Just for fun, here are two pictures (like Dennis's above) from what I believe is the last Yogi Bear's still in operation. It's located in Hartsville South Carolina at 514 South 5th Street:

Written by ted on August 22nd, 2008

Spring Valley Theaters, Two Notch Road: 1980s   20 comments

Posted at 6:10 pm in historic,stores

The Spring Valley Theaters were on Two Notch Road near I-20, where the Lowes now is. In order to build the place, they first tore down The Dreamland Motel, one of the stalwart US-1 motels, and where both my sister and I had swimming lessons once upon a time. I'm not sure why the place got the "Spring Valley" tag. Certainly it was closer to Spring Valley than, say, The Statehouse, was but "closer" isn't "close".

I know we saw a number of films at the theater, but one in particular stands out in my mind. It was 1977, and I was 16 years old. I finally had my unrestricted license, and I could drive by myself and at night. My pure unbridled freedom was marred only by my total lack of money, and my total lack of a car.

Earlier in the day, I had been listening to the radio. I'm not sure which station it was. I was still listening to WIS a good bit, but I had discovered rock & roll in 1976, so it could have been WNOK. Whichever it was, they were running a call-in contest. I used to try these quite often, and won several. (I won a ride on the first run of the Thunder Road roller coaster at Carowinds, a chance to meet Foreigner backstage, tickets to see The Beach Boys and a couple of free meals).

This particular contest was for tickets to a sneak-preview of a new science fiction movie, one I had never heard of. I had enjoyed written science fiction for years, and had seen my share of SF movies, both first run and on TV. I guess the "biggies" were 2001, which was visualy impressive, but ponderous and confusing, Silent Running, which was visually impressive but based on a silly concept and The Planet of the Apes movies which were less effect laden, but more fun. As it happened, I was caller number five, and I talked my parents into letting me drive myself to the show. So, I was out tooling around Two Notch in our 1972 Comet coupe and having a good time, actually getting to use the headlights as the sun went down.

I got over to the Spring Valley Theaters, showed my ID which was checked against a namelist (I think -- I'm a bit fuzzy on that), and went on in. I didn't have any money to buy popcorn or a drink, so I just went in and sat down. I also didn't have any great expectations and from what I could tell, the other winners didn't either, but I was quite prepared to have a good time, and to not be in any hurry driving home.

Of course the movie was Star Wars. I had never seen anything like it -- nobody there had. It's hard to remember what movies were like in the 70s, but "fun" was optional and present in a fairly small subset. Take a movie like The Great Waldo Pepper which should have been fun what with the chances for stunts and dogfights, but decided to go another way.

This film had the effects of 2001 -- heck it had better effects than 2001! -- and decided to be fun! I had never heard an audience applaud at the end of a film before, but they did, and I did too. Leaving the theater, I knew this film was going to be huge, and in fact after it opened, it was weeks before you could get a ticket. Not only was Star Wars a bright spot in the decade of stagflation, but it totally changed the way we see movies by paving the way for "the summer blockbuster". Now, that has had good effects and bad ones, but I sure wouldn't want to go back to "70s" films!

I forget exactly when the place was torn down. I believe it was the 80s, but it could have been the 90s, I suppose. At the time, Columbia was over-theatered, so it wasn't a painful loss, but I'll never forget that night!

Written by ted on August 21st, 2008

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Burger Chef, Two Notch & Covenant: unknown   8 comments

Posted at 2:14 pm in historic,restaurants

Commenter Dennis sends in this link to a set of flicker photos he found of the old Burger Chef which apparently was at the intersection of Two Notch & Covenant roads. You can page through them with the "browse" box. I don't remember the place myself, but going by the picture captions, the owner was a forward-looking, stand-up guy.

Written by ted on August 21st, 2008

Roger's Car Stereo, Two Notch Road: 2008   4 comments

Posted at 6:49 pm in stores

In 1983, I bought my first car. In a fit of what I can only call insanity, I chose a Renault Alliance. The only thing I can say in my defense is that it was Motor Trend's 1983 Car of the Year, that I was naive enough to think that meant something, and that it was cheap.

The dealership was on Two Notch down near Beltline, where that children's dental clinic is now, though the old building and lot are completely gone -- I can't even remember what it was called anymore. The car was a complete piece of junk, and an unmitigated disaster. I can't even begin to remember everything that went wrong with it, but here are some of the highlights.

First the gearshift knob came off. Then something went wrong with the accellerator system somehow such that the engine was always running at top speed. It certainly was an adventure driving it back to the dealership in first gear -- hopefully I would be smart enough today to call a towtruck. Then the electrical system melted while I was driving back from the 1986 Worldcon in Atlanta, and I didn't know if it were going to fail completely before I got back to Columbia (let alone trying to get all the way to Fayetteville) or if the fumes were going to knock me out first. Then a window cracked from the Fayetteville heat. Then the speedometer melted. Finally a headlight burned out, so I sold it.

Anyway, that's somewhat discursive, but does sort of relate to my post: I should have known something was up when the dealership claimed they couldn't put a radio in the car, and recommended I take it to Roger's Car Stereo.

Roger's was on Two Notch Road between Pinestraw and Fontaine and was something of a hole-in-the-wall, but they seemed to have a general idea of what they were doing. I got the radio, and it was OK for what it was (a cheap am/fm/cassette). It never melted, had the knobs fall off, or suddenly started playing at top volume. I was happy enough in fact, that when the radio gave out in my father's 1980 Corolla, I took it to Rogers for a replacement, and later when the speakers gave out in my 1991 Corolla, I got them replaced there. They seemed to close rather suddenly (I can't recall any going-out-of-business sale), and the place is now some sort of custom shop. I doubt there's anything they could do for a Renault Alliance though..

Written by ted on August 20th, 2008

Standard (Federal) Savings & Loan, Washington at Main (etc): 2 Aug 1991   8 comments

Posted at 6:50 pm in historic,landmark,stores

Does the phone number 252-6341 mean anything to you?

If you were here when the whole state's area code was 803, it probably does. Certainly there were many times I dialed it to set my wind-up watch to the dulcet tones of Standard Federal Savings & Loan's time of day service. That was a time when you couldn't turn to CNN and get the time off the bottom-scroll, or get it to within a second over the Internet. Around here, it was pretty much wait for the NBC news-tone at the top of the hour on WIS or call Standard.

I don't know much about the early history of Standard. Apparently it was founded in the aftermath of the Panic of 1907 and weathered WW-I, The Great Depression, WW-II and the 70s. Up through the 50s and probably into the early 60s, it was known as Standard Building & Loan. You can see from my first passbook here that in October of 1962, they had just put a paste-on label reading Standard Savings and Loan Association over whatever had been printed there before. My guess is that they had just switched from Building & Loan given that the inside of the passbook and the coin-banks their kid members got still bore the B&L verbiage:

The passbook cover notes the association's two locations, Washington Street & Trenholm Plaza. The Trenholm location had to be pretty new at the time, given that the area was a golf course into the mid 50s, at least.

In that era, the way savings & loans worked was that you would bring your passbook with you to the bank (OK, technically it wasn't a bank..) whenever you made a transaction, and your passbook would be run into a printing machine (similar to the way checks are still sometimes handled at supermarkets) which would print the day's transactions on seperate lines. (I'm not sure how long it had been since the teller's actually wrote in the passbook, but there still seemed to be a lot of hand-inking involved.) If you didn't have any actual transaction, the bank could still compute your interest (dividends) and enter that for you.

On 12 October 1962, I had $396.36 in my passbook -- very likely the first money I had ever had in my own name, though as I was probably more concerned with learning to walk, I doubt I really thought on it much. I did enjoy later visits as the Trenholm branch had a magical coin machine into which the teller would dump all your coins and it would sort them out and give you a total after much pinging and whirring.

By the time 1973 rolled around and I got my second passbook, you could see that the intervening decade had been good to Standard:

With five locations in Columbia and new branches in Newberry, Orangeburg, Sumter, Mount Pleasant, Charleston and Myrtle Beach, they were obviously an institution on the move.

This was even reflected in the passbook itself, which had moved from being strictly utilitarian to a design with some panache, embossing and even gold-leaf for the text.

You could see the effects of inflation too in that the FSLIC guarantee had been raised from $10,000 per account to $20,000:

At some point in the 1980s, Standard started offering checking accounts as well as passbook accounts, and that's were I got my first checks. They were also fairly early into the ATM market, and though they never had many, the Trenholm location was convienient while I was living in town. (It was a walk-up, and I can distinctly remember thinking, I hope I'm never so lazy that I need to use the ATM without getting out of my car).

In 1985, I took my first real job and moved to Fayetteville NC. I kept my Standard accounts, but as there were no branches up there, mostly dealt with the (now defunct or subsumed) Southern National Bank. While I was living out of town, the S&L crisis of the 80s struck.

I know it's a complex issue, but I think it can be boiled down to the following: Gradually the state and federal governments took the position that George Bailey could go head to head with Mr. Potter -- and kindly, befuddled Uncle Billy was in charge of the new direction.

Standard was far from the only solid-seeming institution to dig its own grave at the time, but it was still a shock to me. I'm sure the taxpayers, en-masse, took it in the shorts as usual, but the government handled it pretty well from a member perspective. There was no panic, just an orderly takeover of the bank. It went so smoothly in fact, that my father decided he wasn't going to move his money and would just keep it in whatever institution ended up with the assets. At this remove, I can't remember what bank that was. It may have been NBSC. They certainly have the location at Trenholm Plaza which used to be occupied by the Standard Branch (which was a much smaller building, and was torn down when the current NBSC was built).

The downtown building is still there (it was obviously remodeled or replaced after 1908 if that was the original location), with its distinctive landmark clock beside it. My memory is that when Standard was at its peak, the building had one wall which was a waterfall -- that now seems to be gone. I have no idea what happened to the other branches either in or out of town.

The 2 August 1991 date for the closing comes from an online lawsuit which references the RTC takeover.

And that little coin-bank? It still has some change in it.

The Time At The Tone Will Be: Too Late

UPDATE 23 March 2010 -- Here are two pictures of the old Trenholm Plaza branch. They were taken inside another Trenholm Plaza store where Standard just happened to be in the background through the window, so the quality is not high:

UPDATE 21 June 2011 -- Here is an older picture of the Trenholm Plaza branch from a Chamber of Commerce promotional book:

Written by ted on August 19th, 2008

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Kroger Sav-On, 2322 Augusta Road (US-1 near I-26): 2000   45 comments

Posted at 6:55 pm in historic,stores

I've written about Kroger Sav-On before. I believe the fate of this Kroger, near the Wal-Mart on Highway 1 near I-26 came about for similar reasons.

When Kroger first hit the Columbia market (and I believe this store, like Decker & Fort Jackson, was in the initial build-out), it was upscale, but by the time these stores closed, it had been leapfrogged by other chains' new generations. This store in particular has a nice new Bi-Lo across the street from it, and a Wal-Mart Supercenter just a block or two away. So (and this is all pure speculation), they weren't as nice as the Bi-Lo, and couldn't be as cheap as the Wal-Mart. Kroger's answer, in general, has been new stores like the one near Spring Valley High School, but that requires new construction.

Anyway, I noticed the other day that the building is no longer empty -- Kimbrell's furniture has set up there now. That's good to see, and I wish something would take the buildings on Fort Jackson & Decker!

UPDATE 11 March 2011: Changed closing date to 2000 based on commenter Andrew's research. Also added full street address.

Written by ted on August 18th, 2008

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The Crate, Two Notch Road: Aug 2008   5 comments

Posted at 6:50 pm in stores

Whatever exactly it is that they sell at The Crate, they'll not be selling it much longer. This place is on Two Notch more or less across from the Big Lots plaza, and is, I think, a pretty bad location for retail. Unless you're specifically going there, by the time you see any of the places in there, you're past the whole strip, and there's no easy way to get back. I'm vaguely aware of having seen their sign driving by that way before, but if it made any impression on me, I suppose I figured in the back of my mind that it was some sort of "organizer" store, one of those places that sells boxes, bins and other miracles of storage so that you can get all your stuff off of the couch in the "junk room" and actually put up. Or it could be WW-I bi-planes. Anyway, on actually stopping to take these pictures, it looked more like a clothes store, which I find rather less interesting than either of the alternatives..

Written by ted on August 17th, 2008

OfficeMax, 10204-A Two Notch Road: 2006   12 comments

Posted at 8:33 pm in historic,stores

I've written before about OfficeMax pulling out of the Columbia market. I had forgotten that they had the store on Two Notch as well as the one on Bush River Road until I drove by and saw that a new tenant was going in.

I don't have any problem with a Haloween store, per se. I don't know that it's happening as much around here, but in some places at least, Haloween is becoming quite the big adult party holiday. I remember spending one Haloween in DC, and taking the Metro to Dupont Circle for supper. Now, I won't say the escalator into the Dupont Circle station is long, but I will say that after you're on it for a while, you expect to see an Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here sign. Of course, what goes down also comes up, and being on that escalator behind 20-somethings costumed as naughty nurses and "wicked" witches is, um, inspiring.

So, anyway, I'm fine with a Haloween store, but I do have to cavil a bit about the timing. I mean, come on Haloween is the last day of October -- that's two and a half months from now! If you're in the mood to pick out a Haloween costume now, you're probably one of those annoying folks who already have all your Christmas cards written..

And oddly enough, this was the second Haloween store I saw today. There's one setting up on US-1 out near I-26 as well!

"I got a rock".

UPDATE 11 March 2011: Updated the closing date based on the comments. Also added full street address.

Written by ted on August 16th, 2008

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Taco Cid, 2444 Decker Boulevard: 1990s   25 comments

Posted at 6:41 pm in historic,restaurants

Taco Cid is a local (a fact I didn't know until just now) Mexican fast-food chain. Well, I say chain but from their web site, they are down to one location, on the Charleston Highway, at present.

When I first became aware of them, they had at least three locations. The one on Charleston Highway, one on Broad River Road near Intersection Center, and this one, on Decker Boulevard just up from Decker Mall. At that time, I was just starting to sample Mexican food, and I was never a steady customer, but I had this odd custom that whenever I was going to drive to Charlotte (usually for the Heroes Convention, but sometimes for other reasons), I would hit the Decker Taco Cid for lunch first (I will rarely start any voluntary trip before noon!). I'm not sure exactly why this was. The food was better than Taco Bell, but not spectacular, and before the Completion of I-77 to Percival, Taco Cid really wasn't on the way to Charlotte in any meaningful fashion. Even now that connection is tenuous since you can only get on I-77 going the wrong way if you use Decker, but I would drive down Decker to Parklane to 277 and tell myself that made sense.

The Decker location was the first to close though it predated the total collapse that happened to Decker later. The Broad river location lasted years longer. I don't know exactly when it went under, but I don't think it has been more than 5 years ago.

The vet's office moved in a few years after Taco Cid vacated the building, and has been a steady presence there ever since as Kroger, Target, The Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and most recently Zorba's have crashed and burned around them.

UPDATE 15 Aug 2009: Added scans of Taco Cid matchbook provided by commenter Melanie.

UPDATE 18 April 2013: The building is to be Atlantic Seafood.

Written by ted on August 15th, 2008

Commercial Bank & Trust / First Citizens Bank, Forest Lake Shopping Center: 1980s   2 comments

Posted at 10:21 pm in historic,stores

I'm not entirely sure of the details, but when I was growing up, my parents had two different banks. I suppose they had each had accounts before getting married, and decided to keep them, or perhaps there were different banks for checking and for savings (the family definitely had passbook accounts at Standard Savings & Loan). At any rate, First Citizens at Forest Lake seemed to be the one my mother stopped at most often to cash checks when in the car with us kids.

From time to time, she would go inside (and perforce drag us with her), but usually she would go through the drive-through, which we always looked forward to since the teller would usually pass out a sucker to each of us along with my mother's cash.

This particular branch of First Citizens was a bit unusual in that the drive-throughs were staffed seperately from the main building. As you can see, there was a little outbuilding by the drive-through lanes. I doubt very much that it was plumbed; I imagine the tellers had to make a trip back to the main building when nature called. Of course in those days bankers' hours were short enough that it probably wasn't a big issue.

I think the lane that was on the side of the building facing Trenholm was a drive-through as well and would have been staffed from the main building, but if I recall correctly, it was harder to get in and out of (and it may have been simply a night depository lane rather than a real teller window).

My memory on timings is always very suspect, but I think this branch closed before the main part of Forest Lake Shopping Center (with Campbell's Drugs etc) was torn down and a new First Citizens was built there, so that there was a period whn First Citizens didn't have a branch in the neighborhood.

I'm a little hazy on what happened after the bank left. I think there were a few tenants in the building before the current arrangements gelled, but I'm not sure. At any rate, I think the current clients have been there for at least the last ten years: A gallery and frame shop in the "main" building, and a garden shop in the outbuilding, teller lanes and the rest of the exterior.

I was a little surprised that the garden shop made it, as I would have guessed that that space was really to constricted to work with, but they have really prospered. I suppose the closure of Forest Lake Garden Center around where the Lazy Boy store now is opened up the area for a new store. I've been to the garden shop a few times (this spring for a pair of gloves, last year for some mint plants), but I've never been in the gallery. I like art galleries, but I always have the feeling that if one is small enough that I'll be the only person in there other than the proprietor, I'll feel like I need to buy something..

Oh, and that Flood Hazard Area sign?

They weren't kidding:

UPDATE 19 October 2013 -- Just found out the original name of this place was Commercial Bank & Trust so I have added that to the post title. Here's a picture of it in operation from 1964.

Written by ted on August 14th, 2008

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