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Archive for October, 2009

Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative (MCEC) / Richland County Refuse Control (Richland County Utilities) / M & L Construction / Pametto Wood Designs, 3506 Fernandina Road: 2008 etc   1 comment

Posted at 1:27 am in Uncategorized

OK, I'm not entirely sure about this one. It appears to have been built as a bank perhaps, given the drive-through. I'm fairly confident that it was the Richland County Refuse Control office, which may have been inside an overall Richland County Utilities office. This Richland County document says:

The Utilities Department’s Administration and Engineering Divisions are currently located at 3506 Fernandina Road in Columbia. This building, which is located in Lexington County, has been leased by the Utilities Department since 1999. The existing office building has approximately 3700 square feet of office space and has been outgrown by the Department. Currently there are several offices with double occupancy and even employees within hallways.

A search for additional office space found an existing office building at 7525 Broad River Road for sale. This building is the former office of the Southland Log Home Mortgage Company. The building was originally designed and constructed to house an engineering firm. The land area is approximately one acre and includes a 6300 square foot single-user 1.5 story office building that was built in 1985. Thirty-six parking spaces exist with an entrance off the Broad River Road adjacent to the Ballentine Exit on I-26. The building is located in Richland County and is within the Broad River Sewer System service area.

As far as I can tell from google, the move did take place, and the office is now currently on Broad River Road.

The parts about google showing the place also having been home to M&L Construction and Palmetto Wood Designs seem suspect since the place was county from 1999 to 2008/2009, which leaves no open timeslot for those two businesses. It doesn't help matters that Loopnet shows a completely different building for 3506 Fernandina Road.

UPDATE 12 October 2009: Added MCEC to the post title based on the comments.

Written by ted on October 11th, 2009

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Happy the Tiger, Constan Carwash / Riverbanks Zoo: 1979   23 comments

Posted at 11:24 pm in Uncategorized

Happy the Tiger was a constant media and "personal" presence when I was growing up. I see from her plaque that she arrived in Columbia when I was three years old, and passed away when I was 18. In between those times, I must have seen her dozens of times, either at Constan Carwash on Gervais Street (where these pictures were taken), or at any number of events at which she appeared.

My memory is that her cage was behind the car wash in the area where you pull your car around to put it on the wash tramline. Such a thing would never fly in today's hyper-correct environment and I think that's good in some ways, and bad in others. I have no way of knowing how truly "happy", "Happy" was, but at any rate her situation doesn't seem to have affected her lifespan, and she got "modern" quarters at Riverbanks.

The plaque says that Marlin Perkins handled Happy's acquisition, but I'll bet he was somewhere nice and cool while "Jim" did the dirty work!

UPDATE 15 October 2009: Added a picture of Happy I forgot.

Written by ted on October 9th, 2009

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Sharpe's Hardware & Grocery Inc, 2100 Augusta Road (at Hook Avenue): late 1990s   5 comments

Posted at 2:41 am in Uncategorized

I don't remember what the name of this place was, and I don't think even the building remains now, or at least where I recall it as being is a car lot with a pre-fab looking HQ.

Anyway, there is an odd little triangular lot where Augusta Road (US-1) and SC-12 come together. The join of the two highways makes the point of the lot, and Hook Avenue makes the base. I recall that for years when I was driving out US-1 towards I-26, I would see this little building with a sign that said (more or less) "Hardware & Groceries". Finally one day I thought to myself, That's rather odd, isn't it? and decided to stop.

It was exactly what the sign promised, groceries on one side of the store, and hardware on the other. I didn't need anything, but I was the only customer in the store, and I felt like I ought to buy something rather than either letting them think I a) was an idiot, or b) had stopped in just to gawk, so I looked around and picked up a package of spaghetti noodles like I had meant to do that.

My guess is that the place started when the area was "the boonies" and had just carried on as the surroundings developed. As I said, when I went in, I was the only customer so business even then can't have been good, and with the coming of Kroger, Bi-Lo, Wal-Mart & Lowes, both the grocery side and the hardware side would have taken a fatal hit. I'm not sure when the place closed, but I don't think it made it into the new millennium.

Anyone know what this place was called?

UPDATE 18 October 2009: OK, based on the comments, I was able to identify this from the 1997 phonebook as "Sharpe's Hardware & Grocery Inc" and get the street address. I have updated the post title to reflect that and that the closing date was later than I thought.

Written by ted on October 9th, 2009

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China Garden, 724 Harden Street: 2009   7 comments

Posted at 12:23 am in closing

I first wrote about this building back on 10 April 2009 when I was doing a closing on Kester's Bamboo House, and China Garden may have been closed even then, at least I don't recall seeing anyone inside, and from the pictures I took then (two of which open this closing), there already appear to be signs of work around the front door.

I'm not a big fan of Chinese food, and this wasn't one of my mother's favored places, so I never ended up eating here, but China Garden has certainly been a Five Points landmark for many years. The building has been there so long that when the fatal Harden Street renovation reached China Garden, they went under the sidewalk to shore up the foundations and found there were no foundations. This caused the street work to stall in front for an inordinate amount of time while they figured out what to do. Presumably that is all fixed now..

Anyway, it's definitely closed now, and it appears that it will reopen soon as a place called Grandma's, which I expect will no longer be Asian cusine. If they keep the "pagoda" sign as it appears they will be doing, we will have two non-Chinese restaurants in town with Chinese-themed signage. (The other is Bombay Grill.

UPDATE 24 June 2019 -- Add tags and map icon.

Written by ted on October 8th, 2009

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Total Communication Systems Inc / Indecent Exposure Hookah Lounge, 3400 Fernandina Road: fall 2009   5 comments

Posted at 12:17 am in Uncategorized

I have to admit that I always wondered about this place as I would see it from I-26 driving to Harbison. It seemed somewhat contradictory to me in that I always figured a hookah lounge would be a middle-eastern place with very modest dress, but the name Indecent Exposure made it sound like the front for a strip club.

Given the exterior windows, it plainly wasn't a strip club, and I guess the market for hookah smoking isn't that large in Columbia because I don't think the place was there much longer than a year before folding.

UPDATE 7 October 2009: Added "Total Communication Systems Inc" to the post title based on the comments.

Written by ted on October 7th, 2009

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Colonial Stores Grocery, 2638 Two Notch Road #220 (Midlands Shopping Center): 1970s   17 comments

Posted at 1:24 am in Uncategorized

Sometime recently, I mentioned how odd I had always thought it was that Trenholm Plaza had (and has) two grocery stores at which point Dennis reminded me that both the original Richland Mall and Midlands Shopping Center also had two each.

With that in mind, the last time I was driving by Midlands Shopping Center (and googling suggests it is still called that, though there is no longer any signage to that effect), this building caught my eye. It is obviously the other (non-A&P) grocery building there, though it seems to be used by DSS for some sort of job training now.

In his comment, Dennis pegged this one as a Colonial/Big Star, but I'm not so sure. First of all, it's not in the list of stores on the bottom of the ad here, and second it looks more like an old Piggly Wiggly facade to me. (Which would make sense since Midlands started as a twin of Trenholm Plaza). Anyone know definitively? If so, I'll update the post title.

UPDATE 6 Oct 2009: OK, based on comments changed post title from "Grocery Store" to "Colonial Stores Grocery". Definitely not a Piggly Wiggly.

UPDATE 5 April 2012 -- Here's some pictures with a better view of the murals described in the comments:







Written by ted on October 6th, 2009

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Fred's, 6420 Garners Ferry Road (Cedar Terrace): September 2009   6 comments

Posted at 11:00 pm in Uncategorized

OK, I'll admit it -- I like Fred's. Why? Well there's probably some history. There is a Fred's within easy walking distance from the house were my aunt lived in Fernandina Beach, and I sort of developed a respect for its no-nonsense "yes, we are a cheap store" attitude over the years. I was also always happy with the fact that they showed no desire to get rid of the huge live-oak in their parking lot:

With that initial positive impression, I was glad when Fred's started moving into the SC market, and in general I would rather shop there than other bottom tier stores like Dollar General or Family Dollar. I first saw them here when I was living in Aiken, and they opened a store on Whiskey Road. I remember buying a padlock and some other sundries there, and I'm pretty sure I've gotten motor oil at the Decker store.

I didn't even realize there was a Cedar Terrace store for quite a while (it's not very visible from Garners Ferry) and never ended up shopping there. I'm not sure how long it was there, but it certainly hasn't been very many years.

I don't know what happened here. I would have said that Fred's would be better able to deal with a recession than many other stores, since price becomes more important then. Perhaps they have been expanding too fast and have gotten overextended. Or perhaps people just like 'Sam' better than 'Fred' when there's only a mile between them.

(Hat Tip to commenter Gary..)

Written by ted on October 4th, 2009

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Bush River Mall, Bush River Road: early 2000s   43 comments

Posted at 10:20 pm in Uncategorized

Bush River Mall was built as the twin of Decker Mall, and as far as Decker Mall has fallen, it has so far avoided Bush River Mall's fate.

Like DM, BRM was built as a long corridor with a Kroger Sav-On anchoring one end, and a Richway with the "TR7 Garage" roof anchoring the other. The central corridor was not all on one level, and as I recall it, moving from Kroger to Richway was a gradual uphill slope.

The mall also had a business mix similar to Decker Mall's, and I can recall in particular, a record store and a video arcade. One thing it had that Decker Mall did not have was movie theaters. I believe the Bush RIver Mall theaters were almost in the middle of the mall midway between Kroger and Richway. It was definitely a "plex" of some sort, I believe it was an eight-plex. I know I saw a fair number of movies there, but the one I recall best is Private Lessons in 1981 (the original one, not that Japanese version that used to come on cable all the time). I was living at USC in The Towers when my roomate and I decided we had to see a movie. He had a car, and I assured him I knew how to get to Bush River Mall, so we picked that venue. Well, I did know how to get there -- From Forest Acres! It turned out that the only way I could think of getting there from campus was the asinine route that involved going down Bull Street to Sunset Drive, taking Sunset to Broad River Road and then taking Bush River Road at Boozer. Needless to say we were 15 minutes late. Luckily, it's not a movie where the plot is paramount (or hard to figure out, come to that).

In the late 80s or early 90s, Bush River Mall, like Decker Mall, started to go downhill. When Richway went bankrupt it was taken over at Decker and Woodhill Malls first by Gold Circle and then by Target. I'm not certain, but I don't think that happened at Bush River. At any rate, both Kroger and whatever was in the Richway slot pulled out, and that didn't leave much in the center to attract trade. A couple of also-ran stores tried the Kroger building. I think there was a Ben Franklin and then maybe some sort of clothes store. The theater didn't help much either, though I'm not entirely clear why. It may have been that the new Dutch Square multiplex started before the Bush River Mall theaters went under though I can't swear to that timing.

Whatever the causes, the mall finally ticked over from troubled to dead with no businesses left. This state of affairs lasted several years, and would have been an ideal time to get pictures of the old place if I had thought of it (and it used to be a real choice whether use up $20 shoting and printing a 24-exposure roll of Kodacolor..). After a while they knocked the whole place down, and the only remnants were a "now playing" sign for the theaters at the corner of Bush River Road and the mall north access road, and some down-at-the-heels beauty and etc shops in an outparcel in the same corner.

Now, of course, Wal-Mart has moved in, and has brought more businesses with it than ever were in the mall. For a new Wal-Mart, it was a bit odd when it opened in that it was not 24 hours, something unexpected that bit me once, but that may have changed by now.

UPDATE 8 June 2010: Several commenters send this link to a really great set of pictures from the last days of the mall. Check it out!

Written by ted on October 2nd, 2009

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Places *Not* On This Site   no comments

Posted at 4:39 pm in Uncategorized

In case you haven't already noticed it in this week's Free Times, here's some places which have managed to go large chunks of a century without getting listed here:

Columbia’s Oldest Restaurants


More Longtime Local Restaurants"

Written by ted on October 2nd, 2009

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Cornell Arms Pharmacy, 925 Sumter Street 1970s   22 comments

Posted at 11:11 pm in Uncategorized

I've always liked Cornell Arms, the apartment building on the corner of Sumter and Pendleton Streets. I'm not sure why exactly, except that it has been there my entire life (that I can recall) and that the name with the antique "Arms" designation harkens back to the era of classic movies (and, admittedly, Hee-Haw). The section underneath the residences is retail space, and the tenants have come and gone through the years. I know that for decades, my father's barbers were there, and the restaurant space now housing Tio's has in the past had both McDonald's and Lizard's Thicket.

I can only vaguely remember the pharmacy, as our main drugstore was Campbell's. It was in the space now occupied by Carolina Cafe & Catering. I think we may have gone in a time or two if we were visiting my father's office, or if we were in the area taking the bus to the fairgrounds (which we used to do both to avoid the parking crowds there and to give us kids an 'adventure'). I am pretty sure it was fairly no-nonsense from a kid's point of view, except for the soda fountain, with few of the mini-department-store pretensions of modern big-box drugstores.

I don't really have a closing date for this place, but I started at USC in 1980, and I think I would recall it if it were still open then, and I don't, so I'm saying 1970s.

Written by ted on October 1st, 2009

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