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Downtowner Motor Inn / The Governor's House / Rodeway Inn, 1301 Main Street: 2011   12 comments

Posted at 11:23 pm in attraction,business,historic,landmark

As reported by The State this venerable hotel at the corner of Main & Lady Streets will be converted into a upscale condo called The Palms with 54 "resort-style" units. They will also have a view of what is apparently the only pool on Main Street.

Given that the article talks about the developer struggling to find financing for the project for several years, and the fact that the Rodeway Inn is listed in the Feb 2011 phonebook, I can only guess that the developer owned the property and continued to run it as a hotel until things came together. I admit to being surprised how long it lasted as a mid-to-lower-mid market motel in an area that if it gets anyone (after all who in the general population wants to visit Columbia and stay on Main Street?) would get high-roller business and government connected types.

(Hat tip to commenter Tom)

UPDATE 26 May 2012: Here's a State article on the opening of The Palms.

Written by ted on June 28th, 2011

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12 Responses to 'Downtowner Motor Inn / The Governor's House / Rodeway Inn, 1301 Main Street: 2011'

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  1. I was looking at a building in Charleston a few weeks ago that is now dorms for College of Charleston and wondering if it might be the Downtowner Motel I stayed at a couple of times when I was a child. Pretty sure it is. Here's a pic I found on Flickr:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/hdescopeland/4713540858

    Also, FYI, the Marriott on Main St. has a huge pool.

    Dennis

    29 Jun 11 at 6:02 am

  2. It sure looked a lot cooler back in the sixties.

    I was surprised to see this project move forward as condos. As I understand it, financing is very hard to attain for condos.

    tonkatoy

    29 Jun 11 at 6:44 am

  3. Downtwoner was a chain of motels back in the 60s and 70s. Apparently quite a few of them are still around, though it seems that the parent company is no more.

    Tom

    29 Jun 11 at 10:41 am

  4. @Dennis -- the pastel colored end panels make a strong case..

    Also, perhaps the claim The State story is making is that it is the only outdoor pool on Main? That's not exactly what it says, but you could interpret it that way.

    @tonkatoy -- Yep. Stuff from that era had a certain verve that has really been lost in the move to "tasteful" and "community standards". It has sucked the life out of commercial architecture (except for Vegas, Florida and maybe Myrtle Beach..)

    ted

    29 Jun 11 at 11:48 am

  5. @ Ted. You hit the nail on the head about commericial architecture. It used to be that every motel, gas and fast food chain had its own unique aritectural style and color scheme. Even today I can look at an old building and know what brand of gas or fast food was once sold there. Now they all seem to be about the same.

    Tom

    29 Jun 11 at 12:00 pm

  6. Before the Downtowner was built in the early 60's, The Jerome Hotel sat on this same spot. I'm surprized this old Motel wasnt torn down when Bob Coble was in charge of things and had everything old torn down.

    Del Bazemore

    29 Jun 11 at 7:20 pm

  7. Interestingly, there was a hotel on this spot in 1865 when Sherman came to town. Mary Chesnut wrote some of her famous diary from the Hotel.

    Tom

    30 Jun 11 at 3:59 pm

  8. tonkatoy

    11 Oct 13 at 10:00 am

  9. Here's a pic of the Jerome Hotel Del spoke about:

    http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/rmaxey/id/689/rec/29

    tonkatoy

    24 Oct 13 at 9:33 am

  10. Actually, I have original postcards of The Downtowner from 1962, The Jerome Hotel from the early 1900's, and an original 50's postcard of the Sherman/Mimnaugh house when it was the "Martha Washington", along with the original Columbia Hotel when it was on Main Street just past and on the same block as Mimnaugh's and Belk's store from the early 1900's. There's a lot of old original postcards of Columbia that I have. I actually have more than the Richland County Library, though they have a few of them I don't have.

    CayceKid

    24 Oct 13 at 1:48 pm

  11. There was a Downtowner in Sumter at Main and Loring. It is still there, but now named Downtown Sumter Motel.

    tonkatoy

    13 Dec 13 at 12:45 pm

  12. Who would stay here? Me, often when I came to Columbia for football games, and did not want to pay the confiscatory prices of most downtown hotels.

    They'd charge about $69 a night on weekends with games.

    It was a great location-you could walk to the Vista from here in minutes, it was also not that far to walk to 5 Points. Of course it is close to Williams Brice.

    I was surprised when I called before the 2012 [?] season to make reservations and it was gone as a hotel. It clearly wasn't the nicest place and some of the guests could be a little sketchy, sometimes, but I never had a problem.

    It had a h*** of an underground parking garage! Only one car could use it at once. I'd send someone to the street to hold up any oncoming cars so I could make it up the tight spiral ramp. And the spaces were very tight.

    I am sorry to see it is gone.

    JR

    16 Jan 14 at 6:49 pm

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