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Archive for April, 2009

Micato Japanese Restaurant, 8909 Two Notch Road: Spring 2009   3 comments

Posted at 11:57 pm in restaurants

I wrote about this building before when I was talking about River City Cafe and Yesterday's. At the time, I commented that Micato had lasted a good bit longer than the other two operations. Well, I'm afraid I jinxed them, because they have now closed up shop.

On the other hand, the sign says they have retired, and anyone who can retire in this economy has my admiration. I'm not sure exactly when they closed, but they were open at the end of Janurary when I made the other post. Looks like the area's "Wandering Minstrels" will have to forego appearing before The Micato on Open Mic night.

(OK, that last was way forced, but it was the best I could do!)

UPDATE 10 April 2013 -- As commenter Ken Holler notes, this place has been razed to make way for a new Family Dollar:

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Written by ted on April 19th, 2009

Ritz Camera, 10136 Two Notch Road # 100B: April 2009   1 comment

Posted at 11:44 pm in stores

I noticed the closings signs out yesterday for this Ritz Camera location in Sparkleberry Square by Kroger on Two Notch Road.

I've used Ritz and their predecessor Wolfe off and on over the years. In general they seem to have a friendly and knowledgeable staff with the downside being that you sometimes get behind someone with an involved consultation when you just want to drop off some film. I went by today to take some pictures of the place, and maybe get a spare battery for the closing-cam. I got there too late to shop, but I'm guessing the sale will last another week or so at least.

I was totally unaware that the chain had gone Chapter 11 in February -- This blog post has some of the details and a complete list of Ritz store closings. It appears that the store I normally use, on Beltline by Richland Mall, will not be closing. In fact, the Two Notch store seems to be the only one in Columbia on the list -- We'll see how things develop.

UPDATE 26 March 2014 -- Add tags.

Written by ted on April 18th, 2009

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Dreamland Motel, 7447 Two Notch Road: 1970s   no comments

Posted at 12:55 am in business,historic


DREAM LAND MOTEL

Four Miles North of City Limits, U.S. Hiway No. 1, Columbia, S.C. Thirty Ultra Modern, New Units with private tile tub and shower baths. One hunder per-cent Air Conditioned. Courteous Service. Phone 33453 or write R. 3. Columbia, S.C. for reservations.

Mr. and Mrs. M. Sendler, Owners
Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Webb, Managers


Dreamland was one of the many small motels that lined Highway 1 ("The Camden Highway" it was called on that stretch) when it was a major inter-state (as opposed to "Interstate") artery. Since we lived in town and had no reason to stay in a Columbia motel, the place probably would have gone without me being fully aware it was there except that in the 70s we had swimming lessons there.

I'm not sure how it works today, except that it's different, but in the 70s, it seemed that most swimming lessons were sponsored, or perhaps just certified, by The Red Cross. They had a standardized curriculum with different proficency levels. The ones I recall were: Beginner, Advanced Beginer and Intermediate. I suppose there may have been an Advanced somewhere, but I never got that far. In fact, I think I had Advanced Beginner about three times. To a certain extent this was just to get us out of the house during the summer and I don't think my mother was overly concerned about the "level" we were taking as long as they covered the "don't drown" part.

As you can see by the Yellow Pages ad, by 1970, Dreamland found itself by the new I-20. I guess this had plusses, but the minuses were that the Interstates were homogenizing the country to the extent that people expected a national brand motel at an "I" exit, and that the long-haul traffic on US-1 was drying up. That's my speculation at any rate. Whatever the reason, they decided to make a little money by holding swimming lessons in the motel pool. My mother liked this as she could in theory drop us off there and then go to K-Mart or the grocery store for an hour or so before coming back for us. I don't remember much abou the lessons, I suspect it was another Advanced Beginner session, and we did in fact get through the "don't drown" part.

A few years after that, Dreamland was torn down to make way for the Spring Valley Theater which was in turn torn down to make way for Lowes (which is still there). The picture above is of the Lowe's parking lot more or less where I think the theater and motel were.

UPDATE 13 October 2009: Added scanned postcard and the text from the back.

Written by ted on April 18th, 2009

Dairy Queen, 5437 Forest Drive / 1366 Rosewood Drive / 135 Sunset Boulevard / 3939 Beltline Boulevard (etc): 1970s   28 comments

Posted at 1:17 am in historic,restaurants

Site of the 5437 Forest Drive DQ:

The old 1366 Rosewood, DQ building:

The old 135 Sunset Boulevard store (now an Eggroll Station):

This fish market at 3939 Beltline Boulevard isn't on the phonebook list above, but was clearly a Dairy Queen at one time:

Actually the ad lists a lot more Dairy Queens in town than I was aware of back in the day. The one I remember was the one on Forest Drive at Percival Road, about where the oil-change place is now. I'm not even sure we ever stopped there -- after Bell's closed, we were more of a McDonald's family as far as fast-food burgers went back then.

The main reason I remember this Dairy Queen was because of the national ad campaign featuring Hank Ketchum's Dennis The Menace. Dennis was one of the comics I always read in The State, so it really caught my attention when he and his pal "Joey" started doing radio spots for Dairy Queen. Most of them were not that memorable, but there was one where Dennis & Joey were discussing all the "brazier" treats that it was possible to get at Dairy Queen in those days, and Joey delivered the line

Yeah, Dennis, like a super-brazier chilli-dog!

so memorably that it became sort of a catch-phrase with my friends. Almost any conversation could be punctuated by dropping Yeah Dennis, like a super-brazier chilli-dog! into a lull.

I'm not sure what happened to the Forest Drive Dairy Queen. I have it in my mind that it may have burned down, but I know that happened to the very nearby Forest Drive Pizza Hut, so I may be confusing the two stores. At any rate, the whole brazier thing which was supposed to propel DQ into the top ranks of fast food joints didn't really work, Dennis The Menace or no, and the chain exists today under much reduced circumstances.

UPDATE 22 April 2009: Added pix of the Forest Drive site, and the Rosewood building.

UPDATE 13 May 2009: Added pix of the Sunset Boulevard building.

UPDATE 25 May 2009: Added pic of a Beltline location

Written by ted on April 17th, 2009

NAPA Auto Parts, 1500 Millwood Avenue: early 2009   2 comments

Posted at 10:57 pm in stores

Man, this is a cavernous space! My eyes tend to glide over buildings that I'm not interested in, and most of the time auto parts stores fall into that category, but it's hard to believe how many times I must have driven past that behemoth without noticing it. Apparently this place was a machine shop as well as a parts store, so I guess that explains the larger footprint. Perhaps it explains why the place closed as well. I admit I have very little idea of what exactly a machine shop does, but if it involves auto repair, wouldn't most people use parts from the factory rather than having them machined locally?

According to a really cool real estate listing that you should look at, if just for the ariel view, the place has 9600 square feet in the main space and 2690 square feet in the mezzanine. Notice the curtains hung in the mezzanine window too!

Hat tip to ChiefDanGeorge..

UPDATE 28 Sep 2010 -- It's now a church:

Written by ted on April 15th, 2009

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Jeff Price Tennis, Ski & Skate / Peter Glenn Ski & Sports, 2127 Devine Street: 8 March 2009   2 comments

Posted at 11:15 pm in stores

I noticed on the electronic sign you see when you're at the Harden Street light heading downtown on Gervais a month or so ago that Peter Glenn Ski & Sports was going out of business.

The only time in my life I've even almost gone skiing was in, I think, ninth grade when we had a class trip to a North Carolina slope but I got sick and had to give my place to a cousin. It's probably just as well as I'm sure I would have broken something. All that is to say that I never went into, or considered going into, Peter Glenn.

The window "murals" were nice though!

UPDATE 16 April 2009: Commenter Brian notes that this place used to be "Jeff Price Tennis & Ski". I have updated the post title to include that. He also notes that the last day of "Peter Glenn" was probably 8 March 2009, and I have made that update to the post title as well.

UPDATE 13 May 2010: Rearranged Post title to put "Jeff Price" first, and added the "& skate"

Written by ted on April 14th, 2009

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Colonial Groceries, 4825 Forest Drive: 1970s   23 comments

Posted at 1:22 am in historic,stores

This building across the street from Trenholm Plaza in the remnants of the Forest Lake Shopping Center is now Coplon's department store, but in the 60s and 70s, it was the store where my mother most like to shop for groceries: Colonial.

Although I went there many times, I was young enough that certain very specific things stick in my mind rather than a good overall memory. In particular, I recall that if you came in through the main doors (which were on the Sakura side of the building, I think), took your cart and jinked left across the row of checkout lines, you would find a wire cage filled with boxes of Barnum's animal crackers, and we would always try to wheedle our mother into buying some (it rarely worked). They also shared a house brand for cheese, Farm Charm with Big Star groceries, and we all felt that this was the best cheddar of all the local groceries.

In the right back corner of the store, there was a Coke machine (presumably mostly for employee breaks) which stayed at $0.10 long after all the other Coke machines I was familiar with had gone to $0.15. The restrooms were, I believe, through a swinging door behind the machine. As was common with grocery stores, and indeed most other stores, in this period, these were not official restrooms -- there was no customer access. Of course all bets were off with childhood emergencies and a persuasive mother. I recall she talked the staff into letting me back there once, and I was tremendously impressed by the raciness of having an exasperated handwritten sign taped up over the urinal: Those of you with shorter bats please stand closer to the plate. That never would have flown in an "official" restroom.

And then of course there was the park behind the store where we spent many hours while our mother shopped, and where I climbed the monkey bars and got stuck hanging from my knees.

Groceteria has a history of Colonial and Big Star. It's clear from that that Colonial was in trouble by the 70s and was rebranding as the lower margin Big Star, but I don't know exactly when this store closed. I know it was well before I went to college, so I'm thinking mid-70s. After it closed, we sometimes shopped the Big Star co-located with the Fort Jackson Boulevard K-Mart for Farm Charm cheese, but in general that was too far, and I think my mother usually went to Trenholm Plaza after that.

Coplon's remodelled the Colonial building to add the front drive-under canopy, and moved the main entrance to the Forest Drive side of the building. I have never been inside since Colonial left but I feel sure you can't get a $0.10 Coke there anymore.

Written by ted on April 14th, 2009

And the hunt is on..   no comments

Posted at 1:35 am in commentary

Everybody have a great holiday weekend!

Written by ted on April 11th, 2009

Kester's Bamboo House, 724 Harden Street: 1970s   10 comments

Posted at 2:04 am in historic,restaurants

Kester's Bamboo House occupied the spot on Harden Street now held by China Garden and Jungle Jim's. The first (rather unflattering) image comes from the 1963 Southern Bell directory and the second from the 1970 one. I'm not sure when the place closed, but I suspect it was sometime in the 1970s. I'm pretty sure I recall hearing about it as a child, but don't recall seeing it after I began to drive myself. A posting to a genealogy website says that the original Mr. Kester passed in 1966, but I don't know if the business stayed in the family after that or was sold at that point.

I also don't know if 724 Harden was split into two businesses at that point, or if Kester's occupied the whole space by itself, though the 1970 Yellow Pages ad claims banquet seating for 100, which seems larger than the current China Garden capacity. At any rate, I'm pretty sure the current China Garden building was at least part of Kester's and does date back to that era, and is somewhat responsible for the closing of The Parthenon.

As I remember it, the story in The State was that when the interminable Five Points road work of a few years ago reached The China Garden a snag developed. As the work crews went to replace the infrastructure under the building's foundation, they found that the building had no foundation! The front wall was basically supported only by the sidewalk, so before they could go under the building to work, they had to shore everything up and this took a lot longer than they expected -- and all the while they were there, access to The Parthenon was very difficult.

Written by ted on April 10th, 2009

Popeyes Chicken / Aloha / El Valle / Eric's San Jose / Best China Buffet / Panda Inn / Albert Tzul / Los Alazanes / etc, 2630 Decker Boulevard: 1980s - 2008   18 comments

Posted at 12:30 am in historic,restaurants

You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and you don't open a restaurant at 2630 Decker Boulevard.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ted on April 9th, 2009

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