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Fountain Bleau Club Restaurant & Lounge, 5321 Farrow Road: 1970s   18 comments

Posted at 9:33 pm in historic,restaurants

Personally, I don't want "Drama in Dining". That's when one of the couple at the table next to yours becomes aware that this is the "break up date". Drama is not pretty! I think I would also prefer my date not look like she comes from one of those societies where the women stretch their necks to prodigious lengths (not that there's anything wrong with that..).

I see that today the Fountain Bleau Club building houses The Fountain of Youth daycare center. Since the "fountain of youth" is normally something you think of in connection with old people, I suspect the name is a hat-tip to the former occupant. I'm afraid that I was shooting against the sun, so the pictures are not very good at all. I also note that in one of the pictures you can see a boarded up building to the right of the Fountain of Youth which appears to have been an old motel -- perhaps I'll run across its name someday.

(Ad is from the 1970 Southern Bell Greater Columbia phonebook).

Written by ted on August 23rd, 2009

18 Responses to 'Fountain Bleau Club Restaurant & Lounge, 5321 Farrow Road: 1970s'

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  1. When I was a senior at C.A. Johnsom the Fountain Bleau was a "see and be seen" place for a big date, such as prom night. I can promise you, though, that in 1975 a white hippie like me did not fit in at all!

    Even though the name was spelled Fountain, everyone on that side of town pronounced it Fontaine, which I figured was an affectation to make it sound swankier (like Miami's famous Fontainebleu) but was very confusing since Farrow Road is parallel to nearby Fontaine Road.

    There used to be an actual fountain in the parking lot. The side building makes it pretty clear that this all started out as an old fashioned tourist court motel.

    Dennis

    24 Aug 09 at 2:00 am

  2. For some reason I want to say that the motel was still in business in the late 1960s-early 1970s but I would not bet the farm on it.

    Tom

    24 Aug 09 at 8:49 am

  3. I think their radio spots on the Big DM were "The Fountain Bleau - the club for you"

    Lou B

    2 Oct 09 at 8:06 am

  4. Ted, I am enjoying your site. The motel next to the club used to be called "The ABC Motel" and had nothing to do with the club, though they did a brisk business renting rooms from patrons on the weekends as you can imagine. Yes Tom, this place was definitely open in the 60's and 70's.

    Michael

    22 Feb 10 at 10:36 am

  5. The Fountain Bleu was the "roadhouse" of the 40s and 50s for every black entertainer on the east coast. It was in the country at that time--not much of anything along that stretch of Farrow Road but the Fountain Bleu. It was a place where everyone from James Brown to Wilson Picket to the Shirelles performed. And, pretty much a place where white kids might sneak in the back to watch the bands. Around the corner (sort of) on about the same latitude on North Main Street was a place called the El Roco Club, which was the white counterpart. That's where the country bands like Ira Dimmery and the Hired Hands played. I've got pictures if you want 'em!

    Becky

    15 Jun 10 at 12:39 am

  6. Sure!

    ted

    15 Jun 10 at 12:50 am

  7. Wow Becky, I haven't thought about the El Roco Club in years. Not that I would want to post it here, but I have an ancient black & white photograph of my parents taken there before I was born (mid-50s). It's one of those "official" photographs probably taken by some freelancer who made a percentage of each photograph. Kind of like the photographers who used to take photographs of people walking down Main Street back in the day. There's a label in the lower right corner that identifies the club and the address (The El Roco Club, Fine Food and Square Dancing, N. Main Hwy. 21, Columbia South Carolina). I don't think there was much square dancing going on that night judging by the fact that my father was wearing a coat & tie, and my mother looks like she is ready for church. My father is drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon with a few empties spread out, and perhaps whiskey as well, because there is an empty bottle laying flat on the table. I think I would have tidied up the table of all the empties before I let someone snap a photograph of me drinking at a club, but that's just me.

    By the way, I notice that you're originally from the Eau Claire neighborhood and have co-written a book about your memories there. My father and his siblings grew up in that neighborhood, and I would love to read your book. Wonder if it's at the library, because I don't see it listed on Amazon or anywhere else?

    Michael Taylor

    15 Jun 10 at 5:36 am

  8. Hey, Michael. Just happen to have a few copies of Eau Claire Memories. There should be one at RCPL, but if not, I'll make sure they have copies. I've got one of those "Main Street photos" of my dad and my sister and me on Easter Sunday. ca. 1955. It's in the book, too. Don't know now we connect off line. Ted? Would be glad to share pictures and get you a book.

    Becky

    15 Jun 10 at 7:30 pm

  9. Well, I don't give out commenters' email addresses without permission, but if you both say "yes", I can put you in touch with each others email.

    Becky, I'd certainly be glad to buy a book, and upload any scanned pictures you may have onto the relevant postings.

    I'm at "closings at columbiaclosings odt com"

    ted

    15 Jun 10 at 11:04 pm

  10. I certainly appreciate your discretion Ted, but by all means give Becky my e-mail address.

    Michael Taylor

    16 Jun 10 at 12:38 am

  11. My mother always told us that the fountain Blue was a great place to be back in her day. By the time I saw it, it was an old abandoned building.

    Amanda

    7 Jul 10 at 8:15 am

  12. My mom told me she and her best friend used to go there all the time back in the day. It used to be the place to be. She said she had a lot of fun times there.

    Lady L

    10 Dec 10 at 7:11 pm

  13. You mean James Brown played not far from where I live? I feel famous . . .

    Kenneth Johnson

    14 Dec 10 at 9:39 pm

  14. KJ, James Brown was born and raised not too far from where you live. Did you not realize he was from SC, Beech Island maybe?

    JBL

    15 Dec 10 at 10:43 pm

  15. I knew he was from SC . . . but that's not the same as performing two blocks from my house :-p

    Kenneth Johnson

    21 Dec 10 at 8:02 am

  16. Touche'. :-b

    JBL

    21 Dec 10 at 6:12 pm

  17. Just checking out your site and it is GREAT!! In the mid to late 70's, my father was the night manager of the club. It was one of the few places to get a rather good T-bone steak cooked to order. In reality, the club never should have closed but due to differences between the general manager, owner and others, the closing was inevitable.

    Vincent McClerklin

    3 Aug 11 at 11:45 am

  18. Wow, my aunt and uncle Ned and Carrie Weathers owned the Fountain Bleau Inn and later the Farrow Inn (both on Farrow Road). I used to visit in the summers during the early 70's and go w/ my uncle Ned to open the club during the day to let the bands set up and then bus dishes at night and stand on the side of the stage to watch the performances. Mt aunt Carrie was always on the cash register between the night club and the restaurant. It was an amazing time and place for Columbia.

    Ray Anderson

    8 Feb 12 at 10:04 am

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