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Dr. Harvin's Office, Hampton Street: 1970s   20 comments

Posted at 6:55 pm in Uncategorized

I'm not totally sure of this, and I can't ask anymore, but I think Doctor Harvin delivered me. I am certain that he was my pediatrician, and I spent many unpleasant hours in the waiting room here, sick and surrounded by other sick kids, waiting to see him.

It seemed to me at the time that I rarely saw him by appointment, but that I would get sick, and when I didn't get any better, my mother would call the office and they would "see if we can work you in". and somehow they always did.

The waiting room was behind the blue door with the blinds (which I'm pretty sure weren't there back in 'the day'). By the receptionist's window, there was a large tank full of colorful tropical fish, and chairs and couches lined the walls. Apart from the usual long-out-of-date magazines for adults, there was the ubiquitious Bible Stories book that was a free come-on to get you to buy the others and comic book leaflets with the government vaccination cartoons. Nobody seems to remember these today, but they were big at the time, and featured Rolly Polio, Locky Lockjaw and Whoopie Whooping-Cough. (I'm amazed that the one link to Rolly Polio is all I can find via google!). Once you made it past the receptionist, there were a series of examination rooms where there would be a further wait for Dr. Harvin to actually arrive. My favorite had a lamp with a rotating shade that made a sort of illuminated diorama, except for the fact that it was always broken. I suspect it must have had some sentimental meaning since it was never replaced with something new.

Outside, there as a fascinating (for a child) little enclosed courtyard which can still be seen through the bars and patterns of holes in the bricks. I recall it as having more shrubbery than now, but I could be wrong. It was something of a treat to be allowed to go out into it, and in fact that rarely happened. Of course the skeleton now visible through the windows was not then there -- that would have given us quite a case of The Willies!

We thought the building was kind of neat because as well as having an entrance from Hampton Street, it also had a "sneak-up" entrance on, um, Barnwell Street I think. The hill was a bit steep going that way, but that made it better for sneaking-up.

I have it in my mind that I heard Dr. Harvin had passed away though I hope this is incorrect. At any rate the last time I saw him was when I was about 16 since he was still the only doctor who had my records. I believe he retired some time after that. The building is apparently still in use by two medical practices.

Written by ted on September 15th, 2008

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20 Responses to 'Dr. Harvin's Office, Hampton Street: 1970s'

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  1. I remember Rolly Polio and his crew!

    This building is now an orthapedic clinic and yo0u'll be glad to hear it still has its quirks. The current doctoer has a big arboretum full of zebra finches in one of the large windows. Very cool!

    Don't even get me started on memories of my childhood doctor, Frank Martin Sr. (Doc's Barbecue is run by his son and named in his honor).


    15 Sep 08 at 7:37 pm

  2. I remember Dr. Harvin!!!! He was one of the original owners/developers of Kiawah Island. I think he made a ton of cash when he sold the island to the Saudis when the development was still in the early stages.

    You are correct, the office design was very cool to a child in the 70's. Dr, Harvin was agreat guy and a very good Doc.


    16 Sep 08 at 9:22 am

  3. Really think your Web site is interesting, and I'd like to write a feature story about it. Would you contact me at

    Mike Fitts

    16 Sep 08 at 1:27 pm

  4. Ted,

    Thanks for this post! I hadn't seen that building in YEARS. Dr. Harvin delivered me in '75 and was my pediatrician until my early teens, I think. I've remembered his office as a really special place. The fish tank (were there two?) was so fun. And I just remember being sort of in awe of the style of the place -- it had this very mid-century modern vibe with the Nelson-style slat benches, planters here and there, and things like that. I'd forgotten exactly where it was located, but I'm pleased to see the building itself hasn't changed much.


    24 Sep 08 at 4:32 pm

  5. 1975? Maybe you came in with colic or whatnot while I was on one of my last visits there :-)

    Not sure about a second fish tank. I definitely remember one in front of the receptionist's window, but it's possible.


    24 Sep 08 at 4:40 pm

  6. Dr. Harvin was a wonderful man . I still think of his office and the many times I would go in there with my brother and our Nanny.Thanks for a great website. Avery K. Bartlett

    Avery K. Bartlett

    11 Oct 08 at 4:43 pm

  7. Dr. Harvin (known to some folks as "John R.") died about '85 or '86. He ran for one of the councils; city, I believe.

    The waiting room also had one of those mirrors
    that makes your body look deformed.

    And weren't there clown pictures?

    Outside each waiting room were 3 mini-light bulbs. I assume each color indicated in which stage your visit was in.

    He was a kind old fella!

    Midnight Rambler

    16 Dec 08 at 9:10 am

  8. I had totally forgotten the mirror!


    16 Dec 08 at 12:26 pm

  9. I think this is where my intense dislike of clowns came from.

    I always thought this was a cool building. Glad it is still around.

    Great site, BTW.


    2 Jul 09 at 9:51 am

  10. Yikes! I have mentioned the vaccination PSAs to many people, and have NEVER met a single person who remembered them. I remember one of them showed some kids playing with a baseball or softball, which went over the fence and into the mud. Rolly Polio was right there in his wheelchair, poking at it with a crutch, presumably infecting it for the hapless kid who went to retrieve it. Locky Lockjaw, as I remember, had his face frozen in a squinting grimace, with his arms stiffly stick out behind him. There was also a Dippy Diphtheria.


    2 Jul 09 at 10:03 am

  11. I don't know why this comes to mind, but I seem to remember that Dr. Harvin would rattle the door knob as he was getting ready to come in the exam room. This added to the dread that I was about to get a shot.

    Lou B

    15 Oct 09 at 7:09 pm

  12. Dr. Harvin was my pediatrician as well..I remember the fish tank..and Him being a very soft spoken man

    And yes the Courtyard was a very interesting place as a kid


    21 Jul 10 at 8:55 pm

  13. The lights by the doors are still there, but they don't work anymore...


    26 Jul 10 at 9:21 am

  14. Wanted to thank the creator of this site and for all of the great comments. Dr. Harvin was not only my pediatrician, but my grandfather. I too have many fond memories of the fish tank, the clown pictures, the funny circus mirror and of course always getting a lolly pop from the nurses after those awful shots. It's amazing just how many people he treated and how many lives he touched in such a positive way throughout SC.
    Thank you again for bringing back some great childhood and family memories.

    Christopher Harvin

    17 Dec 10 at 5:15 pm

  15. You're welcome! Your grandfather saw me through many of childhood's unpleasant times.. I had forgotten about the lolipops though -- those were always nice!


    18 Dec 10 at 2:09 am

  16. Dr. Harvin delivered me on April 1st 1957, I'm a April fools baby. I made many trips to his office as well. I do remember the fish tank and I believe there was a Dr. James that was maybe his partner or at least in the same office. Dr. Harvin also delivered my sister in 1960. We were both born at Providence Hospital.


    21 Jul 11 at 8:10 pm

  17. Rick gets to share a birthday with Jon Gosselin as well as Susan Boyle and will have the chance to celebrate his birthday on Easter in 2018...


    21 Jul 11 at 9:04 pm

  18. I remember everything y'all are talking about!! I remember the clown pictures so well!!! In fact I put up clown paintings in my classroom just because Dr. Harvin's and Dr. James' office had them. I"m probably one of the few people who love clowns. I was sick a lot as a child. I"d love to see some pictures of the inside of the building as it was back then.


    28 Apr 12 at 4:51 pm

  19. Sylvia was Dr. Harvin's nurse, I believe Dr. James also practiced with Dr. Harvin.


    19 Jan 14 at 1:09 am

  20. One of my friends just posted this obituary for Dr. James on Facebook today. I recognized the name when I was reading this post.!/Obituary


    20 Jan 14 at 10:53 am

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