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Archive for December, 2008

Ben & Jerry's, 2901-B Devine Street: mid 2000s   13 comments

Posted at 7:42 pm in historic,restaurants

For some reason, as we saw here, and here and here, Columbia isn't real friendly for creameries whose name isn't Baskin Robbins. I don't know why this is, but I would say that this Ben & Jerry's location on Devine Stret lasted fewer than five years.

I find there's a certain Zen purity to ice creams like Bryer's Coffee (ingredients: Cream, Coffee, Sugar) and that going much more "upscale" than that yields diminishing returns. I certainly like Ben & Jerry's ice cream -- it just doesn't seem to have the magic qualities for me that some ascribe to it. It was nice having an ice cream store in the area for its own sake though. I'm probably missing something, but with the passing of this store, I can't think of any in the Devine corridor or Five Points. I know there's a Sandy's near the college, and a Coldstone or Marble Slab in the Vista, but that's really another market area.

UPDATE 20 January 2012 -- Looks like Ben & Jerry's was the middle store (2901-B) in this three storefront building, not the end store (2901-C). Here's a better picture of their actual location (which became Hardcore Tennis:

(Also added the full street addres to the post title).

Written by ted on December 31st, 2008

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Tickled Pink, 2850-D Devine Street: Dec 2008 / Jan 2009   2 comments

Posted at 4:47 pm in stores

I don't know much about Tickled Pink except that it is apparently a "children's botique" on Devine Street. On my way to lunch at The Mediterranean Tea Room recently, I noticed the "Closing" signs in the window. I'm not sure exactly when they plan to lock the doors, but with Christmas over, I wouldn't expect it to be long.

Written by ted on December 30th, 2008

The Sub Cabin, Sunset Boulevard: 1990s   15 comments

Posted at 11:02 pm in historic,stores

The Sub Cabin was an interesting little restaurant off of Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia. The place was actually on a side street about a block off the main road and was built as a log cabin. If my memory is correct, it must have been built in at least two phases, because the front half of the building faced a wall that looked exterior and had windows as if it had originally been a porch.

The atmosphere was very casual, and the menu was fairly basic with sandwiches and burgers predominating (I suspect there was chicken as well, but that never registers with me). There were a few unusual touches however. First, each table had a Heinz Malt Vinegar bottle amongst the condiments so you could vinegar-ize your fries like at the State Fair, and second, the hamburger patties were unusual. Almost invariably hamburger patties are round or square, but at The Sub Cabin they were rectangular so they would fit in sub buns. I can't think of anywhere else in Columbia that does that.

At some point in the 90s, the church which was gradually taking over the failed plaza which abuted The Sub Cabin underwent a major growth spurt and bought The Sub Cabin's lot, eventually tearing the building down. As far as I know, the owner never relocated anywhere else -- perhaps it was time to retire. Given that the place was on the opposite side of town I didn't get there that often, but it was a quirky little joint and I miss it from time-to-time.

Written by ted on December 29th, 2008

"It was Twenty Years Ago Today.."   2 comments

Posted at 7:40 pm in commentary

Ok, it was one year ago today -- That I made the first post on this blog, the mission statement.

Looking at it again, I recall that I planned to make more "current" closing posts, and fewer "nostalgia" ones, but I'm happy the way that worked out. I'm happy as well about those of you who have chosen to read and make comments on this blog.

The process that brought Columbia Closings about was rather indirect. I had a GoDaddy hosting account already that I was using for something different, and I was very aware of blogs but didn't really have any interest in writing about the day-to-day details about my life: There could hardly be a more boring subject, or one I am less willing to talk about. Still I hadn't done any writing beyond computer programs for quite a while, and I wanted to write about something. I also had a couple of Columbia nostalgia pieces in an old notebook that I had written years ago with the vague idea of trying to get them into The State or The Free Times someday, but that seemed unlikely to happen, and would, I was sure lead to a lot of re-writing and trimming to length even if it did. Then came the closings of The Parthenon and some other favorites of mine, making me realize that the city I knew was always changing. Finally, I was sitting at the beach during winter break with nothing to do when all the pieces came together in my mind and the domain name Columbia Closings came to me. It was available, and Barnes & Noble in Myrtle Beach had a Blogging For Dummies book that gave me enough information on WordPress to get started.

In the year since then, I have learned more that I wanted to know about "comment spam", had several panic attacks about running out of material and have taken loads of photos that were so bad I couldn't imagine what I was thinking. I have also learned from some comments much more than I ever knew about certain places in town, and indeed about places in town I had never heard of at all.

And if I have failed to leverage the experience into total world domination or Daffy Duck levels of financial renumeration -- well, that will certainly come in year two!

Written by ted on December 29th, 2008

Merry Christmas To All, And To All A Good Night!   3 comments

Posted at 1:10 am in commentary

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope today finds you with those you love.

Posting will probably be light for a few days.

Written by ted on December 25th, 2008

Pizza Hut, 2001 North Beltline Boulevard: early 2000s   12 comments

Posted at 6:07 pm in historic,restaurants

The Forest Acres area used to have several Pizza Huts. There was one on Forest Drive more or less across the street from where Golden Corral is now. There was one on Garners Ferry about where Ruby Tuesday is now, and then there was this one on Beltline in between D's Wings and the Japanese steakhouse.

I was noticing that Casa Linda looks a bit like an old-style Pizza Hut (though with some additions) and that this building is one of the newer style Pizza Huts, so it's possible that they moved here from the Casa Linda building. However, I have no recollection of any such thing, so that's just speculation.

At any rate, this Pizza Hut was part of my ongoing disenchantment with the chain, becase the service was consistently... not good. In fact this store had an innovation I had not seen before, and have not seen since: A Neon Help Wanted sign.

Honestly, do you want your customers to notice that your help turns over so often that you have a built-in, lighted, Help Wanted sign? Much better to just continue to tape a paper one in the window every week. That will go below most people's radar.

After this place went under as a Pizza Hut it became a Rising High. This was sort of interesting because it was one of the most protracted re-purposings I can recall. My memory is that the Coming Soon Rising High! sign went up at least a full year before they got around to opening, with the actual work seeming to happen on a very off-and-on basis. I suspect that opening this store while also trying to cope with the road-work on Harden Street was what drove Rising High under. At any rate, this store didn't last long.

I think there may have been another operation between Rising High and the current tenant, Shane's, but if so I can't now recall what it was.

Written by ted on December 23rd, 2008

2008 Brookgreen Gardens Nights of 1000 Candles: 20 Dec 2008   no comments

Posted at 7:03 pm in attraction,events,grand-strand,landmark

Brookgreen Gardens is the famous sculpture garden established by Ann Hyatt Huntington just below Murrells Inlet in the 1930s. It has changed a lot the early days. For one thing the old style zoo with animals in concrete, steel-barred cages is long since reformed, for another it is no longer in the boonies, accessible from the South only by ferry, but is in the heart of a bustling tourist mecca.

I think that on the whole, the park organization has managed the change well while staying true to the Gardens' heritage. One of their most recent innovations is the holiday Nights of 1000 Candles which frames the Gardens' statuary and pools with light (candle and otherwise) and provides entertainment and dining among the magic settings.

These pictures were taken on the middle weekend of this year's Nights, Friday 12 December. The night was cold, though not as cold as two years ago and the skies were clear with a full moon. In the past, I have tried shooting ISO 800 film at the event with mixed results. Since I was happy with the way a lot of the 2008 State Fair closing-cam night shots turned out, I decided to try that this year. Some shots were interesting, but on the whole the results were fairly unimpressive: Neon is a lot better light than candles and pinlights. I've got a Panasonic DMC-LX3S to put under my tree this Christmas -- perhaps I'll try that next year.

Photos follow the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ted on December 22nd, 2008

Optimist Christmas Tree Lot, Trenholm Plaza: 1980s   1 comment

Posted at 11:58 pm in business,historic

When I was growing up, going to get the Christmas tree was always a big event. We would all pile into the car and head for Trenholm Plaza and the Optimist Tree Lot.

The lot was set up yearly on the back side of the plaza (at the entrance which now has the traffic light) between the plaza proper and what I remember as then being woods, though I could be wrong about that. We would always get there after dark, and the place would be kind of a minature forest of Christmas trees standing in holes in the ground with white Christmas lights strung around the whole affair and there would always be a barrell with something burning inside around which the lot hands would warm themselves in between customers.

The trip would always play out as something of a contest between we kids, who wanted the biggest tree imaginable, and our parents who wanted a reasonably priced tree, and one, moreover, which would fit in or on the car for the trip back (we always had sedans or coupes growing up -- no station wagons). In the end, of course, our parents would get the tree they wanted while convincing us that it was the one we had picked out. The lot hands would always have plenty of twine on hand and would somehow get the tree secured for the 2 mile drive home. I believe we usually managed to get most of the tree in the trunk with the lid tied down rather than closed and several feet of tree hanging off the bumper -- I can't remember actually having the tree tied to the top of the car.

In the 80s, the lot beside Trenholm Plaza was developed, or further developed, and the space available to set up the tree lot was no longer sufficient. At that time, the Optimists moved the lot down Trenholm to its current location (pictured) by the Children's Home and the Methodist Church. In recent years, the garden center in the old First Citizen's Bank location in Forest Lake Shopping Center has added Christmas trees in season, so there is still a lot in the general area, but it's not the same.

Written by ted on December 21st, 2008

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Forest Drive Church, 4128 Forest Drive: summer 2008   6 comments

Posted at 12:30 am in landmark

Forest Drive Church, or Forest Drive Baptist Church (I think the sign specifying the Baptist part had been covered for years before they moved), was at the corner of Forest Drive and Falcon Drive, just above A.C. Flora High School.

Earlier this year, the church sold at least part of its property to Gold's Gym which will be moving there from its current location in the old Columbia Athletic Club building. The church itself will be moving somewhere in the North East area, though they are now meeting in temporary quarters until their new home is built.

As you can see from the last pictures, the outbuildings below the church have now been knocked down. I missed what would have been a dramatic picture of them knocking down the small house-like outbuilding that faced on Forest Drive -- I was on my way to Walgreens when I noticed them starting in on it, but I was already past and on the wrong side of the road to stop. By the time I finished my errand and started back (about 20 min), they had already finished the demolition, leaving the rubble pile you can see here. So far the sanctuary itself hasn't been touched, though I presume it has been deconsecrated by now. The land behind the sanctuary is for sale, so I guess Gold's isn't getting the whole complex.

Update 10 May 2009 -- Work continues, and now they have the entire front side off of the former sancturary:

UPDATE 10 November 2009: Work continues apace as pictured below. Also added the street address to the post title.

Written by ted on December 21st, 2008

Spring Valley Commons Theater, 9005 Two Notch Road: 1990s   4 comments

Posted at 6:30 pm in business,entertainment,historic

This small multiplex was located in the Spring Valley Commons strip mall on Two Notch Road. I believe the complex has a strong grocery anchor, but the rest of the place has been pretty transient.

I can only recall seeing one movie at this venue, the baseball comedy Major League in 1989. Through an odd sequence of events, involving a teenager, my father had become the semi-involuntary weekend host of a USC Japanese exchange student who spoke no English. (I wonder from time to time how that whole "go to college in a country where you don't speak the language" thing worked out for him). At something of a loss as to how to entertain the guy, my father recruited my sister and me to take him to a movie. As it turned out, the movie had a Japanese grounds-keeper character who spoke only Japanese, so at least the kid was able to understand a few words of the movie.

The theater itself was fine, not memorable in any way, but certainly OK. It was a pretty volatile time in the cinema market though, and I don't believe the place made it more than a few years into the 90s. The space is now one of the ubiquitous "self storage" operations.

UPDATE 23 October 2012: Add full street address and tags.

Written by ted on December 19th, 2008

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