Now that I'm back, I'm finally getting around to putting up this note and interesting photos from longtime commenter Michael Taylor:
I just discovered Classmates.com has a new feature that allows folks to upload yearbooks IN TOTAL! They can be viewed with a special "player" that lets you expand and magnify each page-pair giving the viewer an incredible close-up of life from years ago. So far, Columbia only has a few yearbooks: A.C. Flora has two (1964 &1965), Dreher has one (1975, done as a take-off on MAD magazine), and Columbia High has four (two from the early '60s when it was downtown, one from 1976 and one from 1980, both from when it moved to the Dutch Square area). I had looked at all except for the 1964 Flora yearbook when I came across the following two pages, which was a double-page spread of all the "best of" kids from that year and happened to take place at the old Richland Mall.
The scenes in the top page (left page in the pair) are pretty easy to place for the most part: the top-left is looking toward Beltline Blvd. through that dark entrance hall that went between the Colonial Store and Woolworths. I had forgotten all about that fountain. Below that image is the one where the boy & girl are sitting with a monkey (insert joke here), which was no doubt from the pet store that had the monkeys, but where that was posed is not so clear. It could be the Forest Drive end of the mall looking toward the back of the strip mall where the Sportsmans Barbershop was (more on that later)? Directly below the monkey, two kids are posing at the bookstand in either Eckerds or Woolworths because I remember the horse rides at the bookstand in one of those stores; I want to say it was probably Eckerds, but I wouldn't bet on it. I don't think the Happy Bookseller was there at this time, but it could have been from another bookstore I suppose. The image on the bottom-right is the easiest to recognize from the whole photo spread, and that would be the kids sitting at one of those never-forgotten cement picnic benches with the Colonial Store clearly in the background. Even the pebbled flooring with the drain looks familiar in this photograph. This photograph, out of all the images, is the one that really brings back the memories for me. I sat at this very table most every time I visited Richland Mall.
The images on the second page are pretty vague for the most part. I'm assuming the two top photographs are from one of the clothing stores in the mall. The bottom-right photograph must be from some sporting goods store that was at the mall (don't remember one), or it could just be from the sporting goods section of Whites (don't remember a sporting goods section there either). There is a possibility that Woolworths at one time had a sports equipment section, but I don't remember one. The middle picture must be from either the office of the mall manager or perhaps the manager of Whites. There could have been an insurance office at the mall ( or something like that, seem to remember some sort of office), but I don't remember that for sure. The bottom-left picture would be pretty hard to pin-point if it wasn't for the reflection in the window over the girl. You can clearly see the backwards 'ND' of the large Richland Mall sign that was at the main Forest Drive entrance, so I'm thinking this photograph must have been taken in front of the bank that used to be immediately next to that entrance (don't remember the bank's name however). The windows in this photograph also look like a much larger version of the vague background in the page-one photograph with the monkey.
After I found the Richland Mall photo spread, it occurred to me that the ad section of a yearbook quite often has ads with pictures of the business as part of the ad. As a matter of fact, I was a yearbook photographer at A.C. Flora for the 1973 yearbook, and I personally took photographs at Belks on Main Street (don't ask me where those photographs are because they only used one, and it didn't have anything recognizable in it). I looked through all of the yearbooks for Columbia and all I could find with pictures were the two ads for the Sportsman Barber Shop in the A.C. Flora yearbooks. The top page is from the 1965 yearbook and the bottom page is from the 1964 yearbook. The top photograph doesn't show the outside, but anyone who got their hair cut here would instantly recognize the pine wall paneling. I got my hair cut at just about every barbershop in Forest Acres at one time or another, but the last old-style barbershop that I personally remember using was the Sportsman. As a matter of fact, the first barber on the left was my barber for most of those later-day haircuts. I think that's Frenchie third from left, and I'm guessing that the barber on the right in the background is Temple.
The bottom page doesn't really have much in the way of memories, but it does have a picture of Frenchie and Temple standing on the roof in front of the sign. Actually, that's Frenchie standing and getting ready to cut Temple's hair in the barber chair, which was a fixture on top of the barbershop for years. Of course, Frenchie was a Forest Acres barbershop legend in his own right, I think I've read you reference him in one post or another. My very first job, other than cutting grass around the neighborhood, was shining shoes at the Ravenwood Barbershop when I was either 13 or 14. If I'm not mistaken, the last place Frenchie worked before he either retired or died was the Ravenwood Barbershop. Yeap, I can actually say that I worked for Frenchie the Barber.
I guess this proves that those "missing photographs" can be found just about anywhere. Not sure if you want to use these or not, but I had to share them with you because I knew you would appreciate at least a few glimpses of the old Richland Mall; I suppose we would take any glimpses of the old mall that we could get, eh? Technically, since these yearbooks don't have a copyright notice anywhere, they can be considered public domain, making them free to use for Columbia Closings. However, I'm guessing that though they are great for a blast-from-the-past reflection, they are probably not too practical for your blog. They really don't show much of the overall mall or barbershop, and only someone who already knew what they were missing would know what they were looking at. At any rate, thought you would enjoy them.