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Old Yearbook Photos of Richland Mall, etc   13 comments

Posted at 9:49 pm in commentary,historic

Now that I'm back, I'm finally getting around to putting up this note and interesting photos from longtime commenter Michael Taylor:

Ted,

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.

Thanks Michael!

Written by ted on August 24th, 2010

13 Responses to 'Old Yearbook Photos of Richland Mall, etc'

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  1. Did you notice you picked up a picture of future Senator Phil Leventis?

    I am going nuts trying to place those two rocking ponies by the book rack -- Eckerd's maybe?

    Dennis

    26 Aug 10 at 8:10 pm

  2. Also, there's a picture of Bobby Robinson, son of Ed Robinson and future Clemson Athletics Director.

    E.J.

    27 Aug 10 at 8:46 pm

  3. I went to school with the various members of the Leventis family starting in middle school right up through 12th grade. As a matter of just-remembered-fact, a Leventis boy was in the yearbook class with me when I was a photographer for the '73 yearbook. So for me, this is a picture of a familiar family name from my future high school (by 6 years) in the most obvious of all the pictures in the Richland Mall photo-spread. And to top it all off, they happen to be sitting at "my" concrete table. Can't believe I never took a single photograph while sitting at that very table looking out over the mall patio through the lens of my camera, after all, for many of those years I had a fully loaded camera with fresh film just bought from Jackson Cameras, which would have been behind me had I taken the above photograph.

    Flora has graduated its share of movers and shakers. Lee Atwater, the infamous political firebrand was there, and his mother taught there for many years. The 1965 yearbook has Temple Ligon, the current business editor of "The Columbia Star" and famous local eccentric city planning guru about town. And Kristen Davis the actress was a student at A. C. Flora as well (toothbrush dropped in toilet episode of "Seinfeld" and of course "Sex And The City"). I did not know about the Robinson kid going on to be the Clemson athletics director, that's wild, however I did suspect he might be the cleaner Robinson. I was in the same class with Percival Everett, who has written truckloads of novels since graduating, lived an incredible life, and is now teaching English at the University of Southern California. He was the drummer in our progressive rock trio that I had with him and a bass player; I played the guitar.

    The more I think about it Dennis, the horses were in Eckerds at the partition wall that was adjacent to the diner. I seem to remember that this was the pulp fiction rack, at least as the memories come back to me from studying the photographs. I say pulp fiction like I was old enough to know pulp fiction from good fiction, but I seem to remember paperback covers with highly suggestive poses and vignettes that suggested a highly visceral romance to say the least. On the back side of the pulp fiction rack was the entry way for the work staff to get into the working and storage part of the diner.

    I've since discovered that Irmo High School has a couple of yearbooks, 1971 & 1982, Spring Valley has the 1986 yearbook, and Keenan has a yearbook, but it's obviously in error because the school featured is NOT Keenan, but a school from the mid-west somewhere if I remember correctly. There is also a 1964 yearbook from a school by the name of Richlex in Irmo, which as it happens is an all Black school, one that I have never heard of. It had grade 1 right on up to 12th grade. I scoured the Irmo High yearbooks looking for photos of Dutch Square or Bush River Mall, but there were very little taken at either mall. The ones they do have are even less giving than the Flora spread in terms of what you see in the background. There are some photographs in the ad section of both Irmo yearbooks of various small businesses that would probably be very familiar to anyone on this board who attended Irmo High School during those years. As a free member of Classmates.com, you are able to view a certain subset of pages for each yearbook. If you want to see the whole yearbook from cover to cover, you'll have to become a paying member, which is not that bad of a deal in the scheme of things if you're into old local yearbooks.

    Holy Cow!!! I can go on and on can't I?

    Michael Taylor

    28 Aug 10 at 1:27 am

  4. I always thought that Winn-Dixie was the grocery store at Richland Mall... not Colonial. Unless Colonial was there first and Winn Dixie moved in later.. The only Colonial GS's I remember was at Parkland Plaza, Trenholm Plaza and maybe Midlands Shopping Center and in 5 points in the Sears complex..but that's the only one's I remember..

    Del

    29 Aug 10 at 1:11 am

  5. Oh yeah..and for all you Irmo/Chapin/Dutch Fork grads of the 60's and 70's...my Dad was the band director for many many years. There was no band program til he started it.

    Del

    29 Aug 10 at 1:13 am

  6. Del - there WAS a Winn-Dixie at Richland Mall, and it was there at the same time as the Colonial Store. The Winn-Dixie was the first store on the right if you entered the mall on the Forest Drive side (end) at the open-ended entrance.

    That's neat about your Dad being the band director for those schools, bet he is in the 1971 Irmo High School yearbook.

    Michael Taylor

    29 Aug 10 at 2:59 am

  7. He was at Irmo from 1958 through 1982. He also taught at 7 Oaks Elementary and Irmo Middle School. He's in ALL the yearbooks from '58 -'82. I graduated Irmo back in 1977. I remember Winn-Dixie, but dont remember Colonial.. What did the building become after Colonial closed?...

    Del

    29 Aug 10 at 10:42 am

  8. When I left home for the first year at USC, I actually shopped at both this Colonial Store and the Winn-Dixie that was here as well, and I even washed my clothes in the laundromat that was on the Forest Drive end of the mall. There were places closer to where I was living at the time to wash my clothes and buy groceries, but the laundromat at Richland Mall was like a secret place, and it was always very clean and wide-open empty save for a few folks deep in a book waiting for their clothes to finish. It was a very convenient thing to be able to pull into the Richland Mall parking lot and get both your laundry and grocery shopping done in one fell swoop.

    There was this really cute girl from my freshman English class working a check-out in the Colonial Store briefly for a few months. So being 18 years of age, I shopped the Colonial until she stopped working there, and then I gradually drifted toward the Winn-Dixie, which is where I would shop for the next few years. I think on a certain level, I was probably rebelling against my parents (mother), and avoiding the A&P because that was the ONLY place my mother shopped for groceries, starting at the one in Midlands Shopping Center when we lived on Truman Street, and then moving to the A&P at Trenholm Plaza when we moved to Forest Acres. Of course now I miss the old A&P with very fond memories.

    When I made the transition to the Winn-Dixie from the Colonial, I don't remember ever again even walking into the Colonial or what replaced it. Here's a very small bit at wikipedia that says the Colonial morphed into The Big Star in the '70s. I seem to recall something to this effect at Richland Mall, but it's one of those extremely vague memories that I wouldn't bet on. I CAN tell you that for much of the above, my 35mm SLR camera was either in my VW van in the parking lot, or sitting on my dresser at home. I've already racked my knee silly kicking myself in the arse for leaving out all of those old buildings in my photography during that time period.

    I'm under the impression that you get paid per word on the internet. I'm still waiting for my first paycheck, it should be a doozy.

    Michael Taylor

    29 Aug 10 at 10:07 pm

  9. Michael - we used that laundromat at RM a lot when I was young. We got a big kick out of this big sign on the wall that said

    DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES UNATTENDED. PATRONS LEAVING THEIR CLOTHES UNATTENDED WILL HAVE THIER CLOTHES REMOVED.

    Dennis

    30 Aug 10 at 7:08 am

  10. One more comment for your wonderful site...these pictures are from my mom's sophomore year at Flora. I've seen them many times!

    JB

    9 Nov 10 at 2:04 am

  11. Hi, I'm (one of) Frenchie's granddaughters. His daughter Louella is my mom and Granny (Ethel) who worked at Drakes forever is still in Columbia. Thank you for the nice words about Grandpa Trahan. He died when mom was 19 but Granny's memory is crystal clear! He also cut hair at Fort Jackson and used to drive Eisenhower around the base when he visited. His other granddaughter Angel in La is a beautician...what's the old apple saying? He was a hoot!

  12. oh...and mom just told me that's his son, my uncle, to his right (4th one) Elson Jr.

  13. Thanks for stopping by Christine!

    ted

    27 Nov 12 at 10:55 pm

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