Archive for September, 2009
PAVILION AND MIDWAY.
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA
"AMERICA'S FINEST STRAND"
670 Miles South of New York
735 Miles North of Miami
Home of Miss Universe Pageant of South Carolina
OK, today is an anniversary of sorts. Three years ago today was the final day of operation for the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. As it happens, I was there, and made a video essay to share with friends and family. The fact of doing that, and not really having any good forum for something like that was one of the things that started percolating around in my brain and eventually led to establishing Columbia Closings.
Below is the essay pretty much unchanged from how I wrote it then, followed by a lot of still pictures (too many, I'm sure) that I took on that day and earlier in the year:
Last Ride at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, 30 September 2006
We didn't actually go to the Pavilion that often as kids, so the closing
shouldn't be that big a deal, but we always knew that there was the
possibility that we might go, and that possibility loomed large in our minds.
In the end, Burroughs &
As I happened to be at the beach at the time, I reserved a ticket and took a CVS disposable video camera (as well as my regular film camera, and a disposable film camera) to record some last memories.
This page is devoted to the short videos I shot that day. I have converted the DVD which CVS gives you into an AVI file for each scene. While these files are not huge (except for the all-in-one file), you may not be able to stream them unless you have a fast connection. If clicking your left button on a picture does not start your movie player, or if the clip plays jerkily, I recommend clicking your right button over each picture and selecting "save target as" or the equivalent to download the clips. They should be playable with Windows Media Player on Windows, or "mplayer" on Linux.
We start off on the roof of the Pavilion parking garage, looking out at the roller coaster and other rides:
Moving to the South side of the garage roof, we look down at the lines forming to get into the Pavilion:
Coming off the roof, I took a brief shot of foot traffic on Ocean Blvd, noting the fact that the Pavilion Arcade is already closed:
Collecting my ticket and stepping inside the park, we see some kiddie rides:
More kiddie rides:
The very first thing I ever remember from the Pavilion is this 1905 German Band organ. The second thing I remember is the blow dryer in the restroom. I had never seen such a thing! I only remember Daddy being there on that trip, probably because he would have been the one taking me to the bathroom (which is alongside the organ), but doubtless Momma &
I was disappointed that Sugarbug could not see the organ on her trip to the park, but it was closed for repair at the time. When you consider that it is 102 years old, I suppose that's not surprising. I'm not sure it comes across in these videos, but the organ is loud!
The placards describing the organ claim some of the original cardboard punched music sheets are still used. Somehow I doubt that "Ob La Di Ob La Da" was that popular in 1905!
The only actual ride I remember from that (presumed) first trip to the Pavilion is this boat ride, which I thought was possibly the neatest thing in the world:
No trip to any amusement park would be complete without the Bumper Cars:
My attempt to film while driving a Bumper Car ended quickly when the
attendant stopped the ride. I thought I had broken a rule, but he was
after a kid who was old enough to ride, but not drive:
The swings is a nice ride because it goes around, but not enough to make middle aged stomachs queasy:
I hopped aboard a wooden pig for a ride on the carrousel. While not as old as the band organ, it is pretty old. I noticed that the carrousel music was coming from a sound system and not the antique music box. Perhaps they didn't feel it was worth repairing for the time left. I have no idea what will happen to the carrousel or band organ. It would be a shame if they were left to rot:
The Log Flume is the park's intermediate water ride. More wet than the
"boats", less soaking than the "river ride":
There was a pretty good beach band playing at the amphitheatre. The name escapes me, but they had just finished a very good version of "Carolina Girls" when I started filming. This song was well done, but not one I would call a classic:
I wrestled with whether to ride the big coaster or not. On the one hand, I was coming down with a cold and had something of a headache, on the other hand, I'd never have the chance again. Riding the intermediate coaster "The Mad mouse" decided me I wasn't ready for the big one, but here are some people who were:
Here's another shot of the Carrousel, which was strikingly pretty with
the setting sun glinting off the mirror panels. I like this one a lot; there's so much going on in this shot and some appropriately elegiac music for the last sunset on the working park:
Finally, we finish with the band organ again to take us out:
This is the whole video in one 306 megabyte, 20 minute lump:
After running out of video, I stayed until the end of the day, and rode
the final run of the Bumper Cars. It was somewhat of a melancholy experience, but I'm glad I did it.
Ted, 3 October, 2006
Still pix after the jump..
As I was driving back from Hiller the other day, I noticed this rug store on Devine Street with the going-out-of-business signs up. I had never noticed it before, but I do have to say those are some nice looking rugs. Unfortunately right now, I suppose people are deciding that the threadbare ones at home can take another year or two of traffic.
Although there was another, more old-school Hiller Hardware down somewhere in the Vista, this is the one I knew from my childhood as my mother liked to look at the non-hardware, gifty, stuff from time to time when we were in 5 Points. I always thought the place was pretty cool too because of the hardware (not the gifty stuff!) and because, if memory serves me correctly, they often had junior science experiment type kits for sale as well (I suppose that was gifty under some rubric, but it wasn't painted or ceramic..)
Hiller had its own parking lot, as well as metered spaces in front and on the sides, and it was one of the odder lots in town. There was an entrance on Blossom Street by the store back door, and another entrance on Hilton Street which you would not expect at all. The second entrance comes down a rather steep hill and the whole thing is banked like a racetrack. One of my cousin's boyfriends liked to drive up around the bank at an insane speed when the store was closed. It was pretty scary and I was never tempted to do it myself (I did come in from Hilton a number of times myself at a sane speed). It appears that in later years, the Hilton entrance was roped off.
When I heard the store was closing a few months ago, I went by for the first time in years. It hadn't been too picked over at that point, and I got some light bulbs, WD-40 and dust-off spray. The place was still much as I recalled it with the no-nonsense hardware section and the gifty knick-knack sections living together in harmony.
Why did the store close, well, this State story cites the interminable 5 Points street work and big box stores. I'm pretty sure it was the later.
It's an old story in retail. We say we like mom & pop stores, but we shop where there's acres of parking and the stock is both a bit deeper and a few cents cheaper. I'm no different -- as I said above, it had been years since I was in Hiller but I've been to Home Depot or Lowes probably a hundred times in the same period.
It appears to me from the plywood sheeting over some of the front and side windows, that the store was vandalized (or burglarized) at least twice in its final months, and that is a real shame.
The good part of the Hiller closing (again from The State story above) is that the owners own the lot outright, so they will do OK under the new arrangements. In fact, it appears that the incoming bank will only be leasing the property, so they or their heirs will be able to make other deals in the future as well.
Lots of pictures after the jump.
I remember three events coming to The Coliseum with some regularity when I was growing up. They were the The World Famous Royal Lipizzaner Stallions, Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus and Holiday On Ice.
I think I saw the Stallions, though I can remember nothing about it, and I saw the circus at least twice. I'm pretty sure I saw Holiday On Ice only once, and am also pretty sure (through the 'Green Giant' connection) that this was the year I saw it.
Ice skating was (and is!) pretty exotic in Columbia. I think Rockbridge club has had the only rink in town for ages, and it's private (though I did get to go there once with scouts -- unfortunately I hadn't mastered even roller skating at that point, and ice skating was a total debacle). Also, there weren't sports channels where you could see it every day as there are now. Pretty much, you saw it if you watched the Olympics, and that was about it -- Unless you saw Holiday On Ice.
I can actually only remember one thing about the show though. One segment was called "The Age of Asparagus" which 12-year-old-I thought was just astoundingly clever, and featured skating vegetables. That's the part where "The Jolly Green Giant" made his appearance.
It appears from Wikipedia and Holiday On Ice's own web site that they have exited the North American market, and now tour in Europe, Asia & Latin America -- I guess for us, The Age of Asparagus has passed.
This Quonset hut is on the corner of Blossom & Pulaski Streets, off to the side of the overpass that the main stretch of Blossom takes. I know I have seen it in business in the past, but I can't recall as what. I think someone on another post suggested that it was an auto battery store. If that be the case, I could find no evidence of it. Indeed there doesn't seem to be any signage at all from any former lives.
This building, now a Monterrey Mexican was once a Denny's. The chain has fallen on hard times in Columbia, losing stores on Two Notch, Wilson Boulevard and Airport Boulevard. They seem to be down to one store on Harbison at the current time. I believe the last time I ate in a Denny's was after a disasterous software demo somewhere in Texas when were were too beaten-down to even leave the hotel parking lot, and the time before that was at 3am after working 18 hours straight and the time before that was at 2am after spending all day preparing for another iffy demo, so even aside from the chain's checkered reputation, the place holds no draw for me. Give me IHOP or even Waffle House instead!
I suspect from the placement of this building that the Denny's may have been the "house restaurant" for the adjacent motel, but I don't know that for sure.
UPDATE 26 September 2009: Added 1976 Southern Bell Yellow Pages ad
H. Salt, esq. Authentic English Fish & Chips, 1212 Augusta Street / 2529 Millwood Avenue: 1970s 2 comments
I wrote about Chappy's and Cedric's here, and wondered how popular an English fish & chips theme was ever going to be in Columbia South Carolina. As it turns out, more popular than I expected. In addition to Cedric's & Chappy's, there was Aurthur Treacher and this chain, H. Salt.
The ad from the 1970 Southern Bell phonebook lists two Columbia locations for the chain. As far as I can tell, there is currently no 1212 August Street in West Columbia. If there were a building there, it would be in the parking lot of the former Triangle Safe & Lock at 1210 Augusta Road. (And yes the issue of "Augusta Road" vs "Agusta Street" is fraught at 12th Street!)
2529 Millwood Avenue however, still exists, and I can imagine the building on that lot being a fast food place at one time (though not a modern one as there is no space for a drive-through). I don't know when the Columbia stores closed, though I don't recall ever noticing them. I'm guessing the later 1970s. It appears the chain still exists though these days, it is confined to California where it started in 1965.
Two Miles North on U. S. 1
Columbia, S. C.
Famous for Smorgasbord, Chicken and Steaks
Here's another bygone Columbia restaurant I knew nothing about. Commenter Melton asked about it in Have Your Say, and commeter Dennis supplied this information:
Mr. Amerigo “Rick” Busa died Saturday, August 11, 2007. Born in Philadelphia, PA, he was the son of the late Joseph and Susie Formosa Busa. He was a veteran of WW II and the Korean Conflict. Mr. Busa was a Shriner and member of the Richland Masonic Lodge and Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Columbia. He was the owner of the Zephyr Restaurant in Washington, D.C., the Belvedere Restaurant and Rick’s Mammy’s Shanty in Columbia. After his retirement, he provided consultant services for food and beverage corporations.
Dennis also supplied the site information where I was able to order the postcard which forms the top picture above. In fact, looking there and finding other links, I've been able to get a number of postcards which I'll feature from time-to-time.
I'm not sure when the postcard picture was taken as there are no cars visible, and no postmark on the card. The building already seems a bit weathered though. Melton says he recalls commercials for the place going back into the 1950s though. I can verify that it was still around in the 1970 phonebook, but since I don't really remember it I'm guessing it didn't make it through the 1970s. I'm almost sure that when we bought our 1980 Corolla Station Wagon (which I stil have..), that Dick Dyer Toyota was already at 3201 Two Notch as pictured above.
Tonight it's time for one of my "out of area" posts, which is the category into which I throw everything that's not Columbia or The Grand Strand. I was trying to get some pictures I took back in February into shape to upload, and came across these of Topsy Smith's Topsy's Downtown Gulf on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach.
This was where we always got our gas when we were visiting Fernandina, and where we got our car worked on when we needed it. (In those bygone days, driving US-301 all the way to Florida could take a lot out of a car). The station was around the corner from my Aunt's house and I'm sure I walked past it most every day I was there, either going to the Atlantic Avenue park, or just generally wandering around town (as kids could do in those times). this appreciation of Topsy Smith says that his was one of the only two stations in town at the time, and I can believe it, at least for the town proper -- I'm sure there was something way out on 8th street as well. It had the drive-over air hoses that would 'ding' as you pulled in (a sound you don't hear anymore) and which would alert the service staff to come out, pump your gas, wash your windows, check the radiator and battery levels and inspect your tires.
The linked article says that Smith retired in 1997, though I suspect it may be off a little as this link says that an operation called Richard's BP took out an SBA loan in 1996.
After the follow-on BP station went under, the building didn't really settle on anything solid. I believe it was a bike-rental operation at one time, and then the last business in there, the remnants of which were still visible, was a beachwear/casual-wear store called apparently Island Breeze Shop. I don't believe that lasted any longer than one season, and the building is currently still empty.
I see that Topsy Smith is remembered yearly at the Shrimp Festival with The Topsy Smith Memorial Beard Contest
UPDATE 21 July 2010 -- Apparently it's going to be a Philly cheese-steak operation next:
UPDATE 3 January 2012 -- Well, the Philly Cheese-steak thing didn't last long at all, and it was in a state of tear-down last time I went through (Aug 2011). There were also scooters there, though I saw no sign of anyone actively offering them for rental:
UPDATE 4 March 2012 -- It's now a burger joint called Tasty's. Note how the logo looks like an oldtime Gulf sign: