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Dutch Square: Then & .. Then   53 comments

Posted at 10:17 pm in closing

(Commenter Andrew sent in a link to a much better map [above], than the scan of the handout at the mall I originally used [below], and the numbers are the same, so I'm adding it).

Well, I finally had a chance to go looking in some old City Directories for information about Dutch Square. I was looking at about 5 year intervals, and only had time to get up to 1997 before the library closed, so rather than a "Dutch Square: Then & Now" post, this is a "Dutch Square: Then & Then" one.

The 1971 directory is the first one to list Dutch Square, but notice that it uses completely different suite numbers than the later listings I have here. And all the City Directory listings use different suite numbers than Dutch Square itself uses on its current handout map.

In any event, it's not always possible to do a complete mapping of the old numbers to the current floor-plan as there has been a good bit of remodeling over the years (for example, the Woolco space being broken up), and some of the old exterior-only slots like Jackson Camera and Baskin Robbins don't seem to be pictured on the current map. That said, here is a mapping of some of the City Directory to Map numbers that I'm pretty sure of:

Directory Map
2 120
11 138
12 150
19 168
21 176 (part of)
23 182+186+188
37 270
100 80
151 85+90
336 95







2 Vacant
3 Dollar Tree
4 Vacant
5 Briar Patch
6 Baskin Robbins
7 Vacant

UPDATE 17 June 2011: Added the leaseplan map from a link provided by commenter Andrew.

UPDATE 21 June 2011: Added [at top] an artist's conception of the original Dutch Square from an old Chamber of Commerce promotional book.

53 Responses to 'Dutch Square: Then & .. Then'

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  1. I have a pdf from Phillips Edison (who owns Dutch Square) from ≈2008 that would be a good fit for this list...

    here's the current site plan for anyone interested


    16 Jun 11 at 11:13 pm

  2. This is odd. I remember there being two toy stores in Dutch Square circa 1977. One was the Playhouse, which I recall being in the corridor leading to Woolco as one left Chick-Fil-A. The other I recall being in the two story store area where Round Robin was for some years (roughly across the corridor from the old Thom McAn storefront. The two story toy shop was open as early as 1977, and probably closed around 1979-1980 and became some other store. Anyone else remember this?

    59 Ford Wheelman

    17 Jun 11 at 8:43 am

  3. I might have seen the answer. Southco Gift House. Anybody else remember that as a toy store?

    59 Ford Wheelman

    17 Jun 11 at 8:49 am

  4. Great post! I used to love Dutch Square as a kid in the 80's - it was so much busier then. Barrel of Fun, Cromer's, Ray's Hot Dogs, Todd and Moore, Baskin Robbins and the twin theaters were my favorite places. I seem to remember Cromer's had a live monkey in the store - can anyone confirm this?


    20 Jun 11 at 8:43 pm

  5. Lotsa monkeys actually..


    20 Jun 11 at 11:03 pm

  6. inquiries such as Alex's make me wish I had some sort of telepathic power to take a current camera of mine, time travel into times before mine, take some pics and report back to this site with pics that would refresh memories of folks that remember places gone by of the 70s/80s...


    20 Jun 11 at 11:23 pm

  7. #73 from 1987 - The Eyewear House was the Sunglasses kiosk were I use to work in '88 - '89. Good times!


    22 Jun 11 at 2:08 pm

  8. A&P in the mall? Where would this be?

    Bobby P.

    29 Jun 11 at 12:04 am

  9. ted

    29 Jun 11 at 12:05 am

  10. You may remember Southco as a toy store but it was more of a potpourri/gifts/bric-a-brac kind of place. They had a lot of hanging beads everywhere and a lot of gifty type things, but it really was never a toy store. Yes, early Cromer's had a tile room above the floor of the store with small capuchin (?) monkeys in it and it went ugly rather soon. I remember the row of soft-serve dips that Cromer's sold with stylized colored ice cream cones with faces, and the marionettes they sold.


    3 Jul 11 at 8:41 pm

  11. Neffs, thanks very much for sharing that. It really doesn't help my memory much, because I was very young when this store was open. I recall it having a decent inventory of Star Wars action figures when they were all the rage (1977), but now I'm starting to wonder that I might not be confusing this place with somewhere else....

    59 Ford Wheelman

    4 Jul 11 at 8:50 am

  12. in recent months, Dressbarn's Dutch Square location closed up shop


    9 Mar 12 at 11:43 pm

  13. When my family moved to Irmo in 1973, Dutch Square was THE shopping center. Real estate ads showed how far the homes were from Dutch Square. The monkeys at Cromers were a local landmark. But after Columbiana opened around 1990, businesses started shifting over there. Dutch Square held on for a while. But when I was last there around Xmas of 2011 or 2012, half the stores were empty and the mall wasn't even decorated for the holidays. It was a shadow of what it had been, and looked rather depressing.


    13 Nov 15 at 12:35 pm

  14. I don't remember an A&P at the mall. Maybe that was on Bush River or St. Andrews. The anchor stores through the 70s were Whites, Tapps and Woolco. After the Woolco chain went out of business in the early 80s, that spot had quite a few stores. Tapps went out of business around 93. Cromers and the monkeys left about 94. Whites became Belks, and the Tapps spot became the AMC Theaters.


    13 Nov 15 at 12:41 pm

  15. Tapp's folded in 1995.

    JB White became Belk in 1998.

    A&P is linked earlier in the comments. They were in a separate building on mall property that now houses GB Shoe Warehouse.

    Burlington Coat Factory moved to Dutch Square somehwere in the 1996-98 timeframe from Bush River Mall.

    Burlington Coat Factory looks to be undergoing a remodel but that is about the only positive thing Dutch Square has. About this time last year Belk liquidated and since then Subway has left as has a thrift store called The Giving Tree and another eating place called Café and Claire's has folded and there's another spot that has had 4 eating places come and go in the last 5-6 years.

    Dutch Square does have Christmas decorations typically and they do have a Santa but you have to bring your own camera.

    Phillips Edison definitely has a tall task to try to see Dutch Square into the future...more than likely they've been working on different ideas but the details are nonpublic at this point.


    13 Nov 15 at 2:31 pm

  16. "Jerry Weber, Tobacconist"!

    I used to get his wonderful "El Camino," coconut-flavored pipe tobacco there. I really missed that stuff after moving out of Columbia.

    Well, for awhile, that is. My pipe smoking tapered off some 15 years ago, and I haven't smoked at all for maybe five years.


    14 Nov 15 at 12:22 am

  17. @Don - one of my favorite stores. Even though, for the most part, I was way too young to smoke at the time I would always wander through the store because of the aroma. Even though I smoke, I will admit that cigarettes and cheap cigars do stink. But a good pipe tobacco blend is awesome. I had a friend in high school whose father smoked a vanilla and a cherry/brandy blend that smelled so good!!


    14 Nov 15 at 2:00 am

  18. Any other places coming to Dutch Square other than the Crab Scack?


    16 May 16 at 12:28 pm

  19. I don't see Crab Scack on the Phillips Edison site plan but I can think of two vacant restaurant spots that would be ideal for them on hte ouside as well as within the food court...I'll consider it official when Phillips Edison has it on their site plan for Dutch Square...


    16 May 16 at 4:10 pm

  20. @Toby - what the heck is a Crab Scack? Surely you mean Crab Shack, as in, maybe Joe's? That would be a welcome addition to Columbia, but I question the location. I went to the Joe's when it was on the river between the Blossom and Gervais St bridges (this was years ago) and enjoyed it.


    17 May 16 at 1:31 am

  21. @Homer I think so....


    17 May 16 at 6:56 am

  22. I don't think so. 'Crab Shack' is a common name for seafood places whose purported specialty is crab. I've been to many places called 'The Crab Shack', and in general they were not related to one another.

    Other than Joe's, which is a really big chain, the Folly Beach Crab Shack used to have multiple locations, and one of them was briefly in the Old Mill mall in Lexington. But those are the exceptions.


    17 May 16 at 7:56 am

  23. Yeah, it should be open next week.


    17 May 16 at 9:57 am

  24. I hadn't heard of Joe's Crab Shack until someone mentioned it in a video of 50 things she hates in a video called 50 shades of negativity and checked and the closest locations are in Greenville and 2 in Myrtle Beach


    17 May 16 at 11:37 am

  25. There used to be one in Cayce in the former Hungry Fisherman/D's on the River location on Alexander. Today that site is occupied by apartments. [Although I don't recall whether Joe's preceded or succeeded D's on the River.]


    17 May 16 at 2:38 pm

  26. Joe's Crab Shack came after D's Wings. D's was the first restaurant in that building after the Hungry Fisherman occupied it.

    59 Ford Wheelman

    17 May 16 at 4:57 pm

  27. I found a WLTX article speaking to plans to bring The Crab Shack to Dutch Square...

    I'll consider such plans official once I can see the space listed in terms of where they are to occupy on the Phillips Edison's Dutch Square siteplan...


    17 May 16 at 6:00 pm

  28. Grew up about a 1/4 mile from Dutch Square. Actually remember when it was being built. There was a beautiful white house where McDonald's now stands on Broad River Rd. The owners property was fenced in with large grass fields that occupied the entire property of where Dutch Square now sits. We actually used to fly kites and play in that field. Remember people from our neighborhood walking to Dutch Square the first day it opened. It was a big deal at the time in the Columbia area. It seemed that Dutch Square went down hill as soon as Coulmbianna Mall was built. The last straw of course was when J.B. White announced it was leaving. Had a lot of good memories and stories of that mall.


    16 Jul 16 at 9:59 pm

  29. JB White managed to stay at Dutch Square and become Belk in 1998. I remember it happening as I was a 5th grader at the time. Belk continued at Dutch Square for a good number of years but finally liquidated in late 2014 and closed in January 2015.

    Now in the food court The Crab Shack is open and plans are in the works for two other eating places and I have a feeling that this could be the spark needed to bring new life into Dutch Square and for the first time in a while, I feel optimistic about where Dutch Square is heading...


    17 Jul 16 at 12:21 am

  30. @Bill--
    That sounds really nice. I would love if there were any way to see some pictures of Broad River rd. before it went so commercial. Don't know where to look for any though.


    19 Jul 16 at 9:40 pm

  31. Interesting story from way-back-in-the-day here


    20 Jul 16 at 12:54 am

  32. Sidney

    20 Jul 16 at 10:36 am

  33. Sidney

    20 Jul 16 at 10:38 am

  34. Sidney

    20 Jul 16 at 10:39 am

  35. Did any of y'all used to cruise up & down in front of Dutch Square on Friday nights in the late '80s? It was like we did on the boulevard in Myrtle Beach in the summer.
    I grew up on the Northeast side of town, but worked at my cousin's sunglass shop in Dutch Square back then when I was in high school.
    Our mall was Columbia Mall, but we never cruised it like the kids did at Dutch Square.


    21 Jul 16 at 12:29 pm

  36. @Ted-- Interesting story. I'll bet if that robbery was attempted on the same spot today, there would be a few more than one passerby to witness it.

    @Sidney-- Thanks for the links. A lot of good stuff to look through there.


    21 Jul 16 at 4:05 pm

  37. My parents took us to Dutch Square in the early 70's. It was so cook then.


    21 Jul 16 at 8:17 pm

  38. Does anyone recall a store in the mall called Comstock Lode? I think it may have been upstairs near Record Bar. This would have been in the 1970-72 era.

    Joe Shlabotnik

    22 Jul 16 at 3:17 pm

  39. Joe, I remember Comstock Lode. That and the Record Bar are two stores I remember being in...72 or 73. But I can't remember kind of where they were in the scheme of things. Seems like that store was some combination of clothes and head shop? I was in HS at Eau Claire in those days, spent some time in head shops, and seem to remember having a Comstock Lode tshirt.

    Crazy Chester

    29 Sep 16 at 5:07 pm

  40. Dutch Square opened shortly before my 4th birthday and I have a lot of fond memories of it from growing up back then. I remember a lot of the stores that have already been mentioned as well as Hickory Farms, Thom McCann shoe store, and there was a piano/organ store. At 6 years old, I remember getting lost in Woolco around the Christmas season. There was also Annabelle's restaurant and I remember the Dutch Square Twin Theaters back in the early 70s (standing separately from the mall itself). Someone mentioned A & P grocery store. It was in a convenience shopping center that stood separately from Dutch Square Mall. Lots of great memories but that's all I can think of right now.

    Susan Beverly

    19 Apr 20 at 3:07 am

  41. I've been on the hunt for the name of the other bakeries that were in Dutch Square Mall that our Mom used to take me and y younger to on the weekends and we used to spend our allowance monies on these delicious individual custom cookies that had white glaze over a biscuit like sugarcookie/shortbread cookie...not sure but thought it was called The Cookie Factory? The lettering was all different colors...does anyone else remember it was located across from the Chick fil a...

    David Amaker

    12 Jan 21 at 4:25 pm

  42. @David Amaker:

    I'm thinking maybe "Gingerbread House"?


    13 Jan 21 at 8:47 am

  43. @Palmettoconnection. I definitely remember my cruisin' days at Dutch Square. A carload of friends with all windows down and music blaring...late 80's for me. I remember playing "Push It" by Salt-N-Peppa on my cassette player in my car. Did I just admit to that? Ha! Good times!


    13 Jan 21 at 9:49 am

  44. […] I remember Sam Solomon and Brendles. is a great if you want to get nostalgic about this area and have some time to kill. Here’s some former maps and store listings of Dutch square Dutch Square: Then & .. Then at Columbia Closings […]

  45. Cromer's DID have live monkeys, and as it happens I later worked with one of the children of the owners. I asked him what happened to them, and he sadly explained that all were re-homed except for one that they kept as a pet.

    A&P was not in the mall itself but on the building closer to Broad River Road, next to McDonald's.

    Ariella Cohen

    16 Jan 22 at 4:38 pm

  46. The stores I can remember at Dutch Square when it opened was Tapp's, Woolco, Woolworth's, Cromers, Hickery Farms, Record Bar, A World of Gifts, The Rogue (Barber), Sharps, Lourie's, Britton's, Eckard Drugs, Morrisons Cafeteria, Thom McAnne ? shoes, some kind of pet store where the Barrel of Fun eventually took over, Baskin-Robbins (outside the Mall) and Chck-Fil A. A book store but I can't remember the name of it off hand, some cigar/Tobacco store that I can't remember the name either, JB White's also.


    18 Jan 22 at 10:44 pm

  47. Oh yeah, and Radio Shack too..


    18 Jan 22 at 10:46 pm

  48. Waldenbooks & Browsz-A-Bit were the book stores. Actually Browz-A-Bit had some other stuff too. The Tobacco store always smelled really good to walk by.


    18 Jan 22 at 10:57 pm

  49. Forgot to add Orange Julius that was around the corner from Eckards.


    19 Jan 22 at 2:50 pm

  50. Speaking of Mall's, the only reason the one at Harbison does as well as it does is because of Location, Location, Location. Harbison in general does right well still from what I can tell, though I'm sure some places have closed due to the virus and all the problems it's brought with it. Other than Columbiana Mall, Malls are a thing of the past, and strip malls don't seem to do all that well anymore either. But don't go out near as much as I used to.


    19 Jan 22 at 3:00 pm

  51. Here are some other more recent stores that have come and gone from Dutch Square (off the top of my head):

    The Giving Tree (which was a Dressbarn previously)
    West Marine (which moved to Columbiana Station)
    Distinguished Gentlemen (moved to 6801 St. Andrews Road)
    Stuft Stuff
    D'Avino's Pizza
    Gabby's Pizza
    Merrit's Jewlery

    I have also heard a theory that certain areas go through certain 'rise and fall' cycles whereby over time certain areas will build up, be doing well, gradually start to decline but eventually come back (different areas go through it at different times). What that means for Dutch Square going forward is yet to be written in the life of the 52 year old facility...


    20 Jan 22 at 1:42 pm

  52. I drove by Dutch Square today and I was immediately taken by how terrible the parking lot and street light poles looked. All of them are rusty and in serious need of new paint, if not replacing.

    To me this just about proof positive that the mall's owners don't really care about it anymore.


    14 Mar 23 at 5:38 pm

  53. I hate to tell the new owners of the old Richland Mall, that all this redoing the entire place (again), isn't gonna help bring more people over there. My personal thinking is that they should have kept the old original look of the Mall and not try something like a "Fashion" Mall...Columbia isn't the place for something like that. Atlanta or Charlotte or Charleston maybe...but Columbia? Dutch Square Mall's day has come and gone. It'll never be what it once was (not that things stay the same), so who knows what'll happen with that place. It's now a 53 year old Mall. That entire area of Broad River at one time was a jumpin' place for sure. But that was 38 to over 50+ years ago now...but it is what it is. Columbiana Mall is the only one that does well still..but due to the shootings last year over there at the's turning into another "Dentsville/Columbia Mall and Decker" type place where troublemakers go to cause havoc whatever it is.


    16 Mar 23 at 9:11 am

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