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Tremont Motor Inn / Riverside Inn, 111 Knox Abbott Drive: September 2014   4 comments

Posted at 8:22 am in closing






The first phonebook listing I find for The Tremont Motor Inn is in the July 1958 book where the address is given simply as Hwy No 21 Cayce and the phone number is the old style AL 4-5121.

Later phonebooks would give the address with more specificity as 111 Knox Abbott Drive and update the phone number to 254-5121.

From its inception through 1984 the Tremont did not purchase a Yellow Page ad. In fact, the first one that I saw was in the February 1985 phonebook. This one, pictured above, gave the new phone number as 796-6240, indicating, I believe, a change of ownership.

The last listing I saw for the Tremont was in the February 1994/1995 phonebook. This was followed by the first listing for the Riverside Inn in the February 2002/2003 book, leaving an eight year gap. I presume the building was run under another flag during those years, but I would have to consult a city directory to find what it was, and did not have time on my last visit to the library.

The building was in a great location on a large property close to the river with a park-like expanse of walking paths, and I suppose it was quite nice for many years. Unfortunately, by the time my cousin booked a room in the fall of 2013 (to be close to USC for some seminars), she found it dirty and run-down to the point that she felt unsafe.

The actual tear down was quite leisurely, extending over a period of about four months. On my initial walk-through, I was unsure how much of the property was actually the motel, as there were some buildings out back that appeared to be in use by other businesses, but in the event it appears everything was demolished. For some reason, every time I went out to get pictures, I either got there late just as the sun was fading, or the day would be heavily overcast. There are a few bright shots, but that was the exception.

I'm not quite sure what the green carpeted area by the pool was. It almost looked like the motel had a little putting green, but I didn't see a hole there. Of course now the whole place is more or less a hole...

29 September 2014:

7 October 2014:

29 November 2014:

26 December 2014:

UPDATE 2 February 2015 -- Commenter TahoeChic pointed out an old Tremont postcard on Ebay, which I have bought and scanned, putting the image at the top of the page. Notice the differences in the property from the time of the postcard (which gives the "AL" prefix phone number, so it probably dates from the early 1960s) to now. For instance the big roadside sign was gone, the short brick wall along Knox Abbott drive had yet to be build, there was a canopy in the parking lot, the pool area was not enclosed and had a diving board, and it does not appear the the final front-office building had been built.

Commenter fourlizards found a Tremont key and took a picture, I have added that under the postcard.


Photoset 28 September 2014

Photoset 7 October 2014

Photoset 19 October 2014

Photoset 29 November 2014

Photoset 26 December 2014

Written by ted on January 12th, 2015

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to 'Tremont Motor Inn / Riverside Inn, 111 Knox Abbott Drive: September 2014'

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  1. Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:34:58 +0000
    Author: John R

    Comment: From the early 70s til the mid-90s Tremont served as the site of the S.C. State Chess Championship. It was also the meeting place for the Palmetto Chess Club from the early 80s til it was sold. This & other factors eventually lead to the demise of the Palmetto Chess Club. The pictures of the patio bring back fond memories. We would hang out there talking, smoking & drinking in between rounds of play.

    Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 02:34:27 +0000
    Author: TahoeChic

    Comment: In the early 80s the sign for this place was a giant neon sign shaped like a motel keychain. I remember passing it many a night as my grandparents and I were driving home from The Hungry Fisherman. I always thought that was the coolest sign.

    Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 02:45:35 +0000
    Author: TahoeChic

    Comment: Googled to see if I could find any old pics, and this eBay listing for a Tremont Motor Inn postcard came up.

    Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 04:07:14 +0000
    Author: Andrew

    Comment: I'm trying to place The Hungry Fisherman that TahoeChic is referencing...I for some reason want to think it was on Blossom Street between Huger and the Congaree River bridge but I could be wrong as it predated me...

    Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 05:31:23 +0000
    Author: Homer

    Comment: @TahoChic & Andrew - I found this circa 1975 menu on a Charlotte food blog.

    They screwed the address up for the Columbia location but 701 Alexander Drive would put it close to the Parkland Shopping Center in Cayce, just across from the old Tremont.

    Check out the prices on the menu. If we could eat on the cheap like that today!!!

    Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 05:32:42 +0000
    Author: Homer

    Comment: That should have read 701 Alexander Rd.

    Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:58:28 +0000
    Author: TahoeChic

    Comment: @Andrew and Homer- It was on the river down Alexander about where those big houses are now. Don't ask me how I remember stuff like that from when I was so young...LOL. I have no idea. I've always just paid attention to buildings, architecture, and location.

    Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:05:25 +0000
    Author: MrBill

    Comment: Hungry Fisherman was so cool. They had that lighthouse. Barely recall what the food was like though. I always found the Riverside/Tremont to be really cool looking. They are tearing down the Monterrey also so they can put in some more fancy USC apartments.

    Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 22:41:03 +0000
    Author: Cam

    Comment: The Hungry Fisherman closed in the late 80s or early 90s. It overlooked the river. There was a Joe's Crab Shack there too after the Hungry Fisherman. Not too sure when they closed.

    Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 01:11:30 +0000
    Author: badger

    Comment: After Joe's Crab Shack, it was D's on the River.

    Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 04:39:17 +0000
    Author: Homer

    Comment: I do remember the lighthouse now. And I had totally forgotten that there was a Joe's Crab Shack there at one time....

    Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2015 04:12:16 +0000
    Author: fourlizards

    Comment: @tahoechic The Hungry Fisherman was off of Axtel Drive. That's the first intersection after you cross the Gervais Street bridge headed to Cayce. I ate there many times with my girlfriend in the early 90s.

    If anyone is interested, here's a photo of the Tremont key that I found:

    Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:41:43 +0000
    Author: fourlizards

    Comment: @ted - That's ok with me.

    After I described where Hungry Fisherman was, I realized that that street is Axtel on one side of Knox Abbott and Alexander on the other side. All these years I thought it was Axtel all the way to Meeting St..

    Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:20:32 +0000
    Author: TahoeChic

    Comment: @fourlizards I always thought it was Alexander all the way down until I went to pick up my cousin at a friend's house one day and she told me she lived off Axtel. I had no idea until then that it changed names across Knox Abbott.

    Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:19:50 +0000
    Author: brett

    Comment: hungry fisherman was a favorite place when i was young. especially the early 80's.

    the light house. the small deck over the water. a small playground too.

    if you go to the old mill antique mall on state street, savvy shoppers will notice tons of hungry fisherman "crap" all over the place.


    Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:21:14 +0000
    Author: brett

    Comment: love the old tremont inn sign. i grew up in weco so i have been passing that place my whole life. really miss the sign.


    Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2015 05:17:18 +0000
    Author: Homer

    Comment: I must be dense or just getting old but until Brett mention growing up in 'weco' I had never thought of WECO billiards standing for West Columbia - DUH!!

    Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2015 07:39:39 +0000
    Author: Drew Collins

    Comment: I was the Director of Sales there during part of my time in seminary. I have some good memories of the place and am sad to see it gone.


    22 Jan 15 at 8:34 pm

  2. I was fortunate to work several years at The Tremont for a giant of a man named Al Rose who owned it. Al was a Cornell Hotel school graduate and I did not realize until several years later what a genius of the business. My professors in the hotel management program at USC used him as an example of what was great about the industry. I did night audit and served as Mgr. on duty when Al was away. I quit several times because it just got to be too much with my other pursuits but Al would call and I could never say no to him and would go back. (no cell phones or caller ID back then) Beautiful property in its day with the river front setting, trails, large patio area with grills, pool and putting green. Many SC Legislatures would call it home when they were in town. If only those walls could talk! One told me one night when his "party" came in (and I will paraphrase) that what he had was great booze, great cigars and ok the morning we will have a hangover and some new laws. No doubt many a deals were made at the Tremont. Big Al and the Tremont will never be forgotten.

    Mike Brewer

    4 Dec 17 at 11:43 am

  3. The Tremont was a marquee motel and a giant to us kids. When USC would have home games the opposing teams stayed at The Tremont. I’m not sure what years but at least the late 70’s to early 80’s.

    Now look at this place!

    Chris Collins

    8 Sep 18 at 4:47 pm

  4. Looking for a picture of Christmas decorations on the lawn from the old Tremont hotel in Columbia sc. Anyone remember that?


    19 Mar 21 at 12:22 pm

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