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McDonald's Hamburgers, 4801 Garners Ferry Road / 4336 Wildcat Road: August 2012 (open again)   18 comments

Posted at 11:08 pm in closing














This should be some sort of lesson to me as I had several daylight pictures of this place, but a few weeks ago I decided they weren't very good, and deleted them with an eye to getting some better ones at some point. That's not the first time I've done that sort of thing either. I should learn!

However I did manage to hold onto the two nighttime pix of the place which are presented up top.

Commenter Joe Hinson remarks on the "old style" of the demolished building, but when I tood the night pix, I was thinking how modern it looked. In part I suspect that's because I remember at least one other version of the store here, and probably two.

The initial building sat much closer to the road than the most recent one, and was, I think, still in the classic McDonald's "walk up" style. It was something like this retro building from Starke Florida:

I believe this version was the first McDonald's in Columbia, and indeed, the 1970 phonebook lists 4801 Garners Ferry Road as "No. 1", with 1303 Charleston Highway as "No. 2", 2907 Two Notch as "No. 3", and 1729 Broad River Road as "No. 4". (4336 Wildcat Road was listed as the office location). Certainly it was the first McDonald's I had ever encountered, and it played a big part in my elementary school days at Satchel Ford. This was because, while we normally got our burgers at Bell's on Forest Drive, when report cards came out in Richland One, this McDonald's always ran a promotion such that if you had all 'A's & 'B's, you got a free hamburger.

Now, in those days, I was a pretty good student, and I always had all 'A's & 'B's, *except* for handwriting for which I always had a 'C'. In my mind, handwriting was not a "real" subject, and I always had my father make that case to the window clerk, and it always worked. In retrospect, I know he didn't relish the idea of arguing with some guy over a burger, but he was proud of me, and a great dad, so he did it every report card period without demur. I believe that mascot "Ronald McDonald" debuted in this era. Initially he was a pantomine clown with an overbearing boss whose tasks for Ronald always turned into a series of pratfalls..

The second McDonald's here, I think was a non-descript 70s building that did emphasize inside dining more than walkups, but had no play area. We didn't go to that one often because by that time, there was one more or less at the corner of Decker & Trenholm which was closer and involved fewer traffic lights. (And Bell's was gone by then). I believe it was at this point that the restaurant was set further back from Garners Ferry.

I'm not sure when the play-area, boxy looking remodel came in, but I think it was while I was living out of town in the 80s or 90s, by which time I was essentially never eating at McDonald's anymore. (Lately they have learned to make a very good cup of coffee, and provide wifi so that I finally have been back some).

(Hat tip to commenter mamarose)

UPDATE 1 September 2012 -- I found another set of daylight (well, twilight..) pictures of the building:




UPDATE 12 September 2012 -- Construction has started is moving at a pretty good clip:






And here's a yellow pages ad from the walkup days:


UPDATE 18 September 2012 -- The frame appears complete, and hiring has started:



UPDATE 9 November 2012 -- As mentioned in the comments, this store is open again:




18 Responses to 'McDonald's Hamburgers, 4801 Garners Ferry Road / 4336 Wildcat Road: August 2012 (open again)'

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  1. This is part of a bigger plan for the golden arches to remodel most of their 14,000 US locations over the next several years.


    17 Aug 12 at 12:30 am

  2. I think this is at least the sixth rebuild on this store. Must really be a profitable endeavor.


    17 Aug 12 at 6:34 am

  3. My friend and I drove by here on Saturday and thought that the Closed for Rebuild sign was hilarious as though the demolished building doesn't speak for the fact that it's closed!

    I heard that the McD's are getting rebuilt because of some unsafe building material that was used in the 70s stores but who knows if that's true or not.


    17 Aug 12 at 9:06 am

  4. Hello,

    I just noticed that the old Kmart store on Bush River Road has been sold. Someone also has parked 3 huge dump bins out front. Does anyone know what is going here? Also the old hotel right near there on the right has been sold and has a zoning change request.



    17 Aug 12 at 11:17 am

  5. William, I have been wondering myself. The Kmart you mention is the closing that lead me to discover this site.

    I have checked the City of Columbia zoning pages and The State's business section online but have yet to find anything. Once I do, I shall post it on the Kmart's closing page, which can be accesed via the Alphabetical Closings link at the top.

    I am looking forward to what type of boost this will be for Bush River Road, especially after the chain reaction set in motion by the relocation of Hamrick's.


    17 Aug 12 at 12:43 pm

  6. I know this will be at least the 4th McDonalds building at this location. I remember back in the sixties it was of the old style walk up. That was torn down and a more modern version was built sometime around 1970 with inside dinning. That particular building was situated a little closer to Garners Ferry Road. I worked there then in 1971 to 1973. Had lots of friends from Lower Richland High working there with me. My future Wife worked there with me as well. It was owned by a franchisee back then. *** I can't remember the owners name but he passed away sometime in the late eighties or early ninties and his wife sold the entire sha-bang, all the stores, back to McDonalds Corp for $$$$$$$. I know this because my Mother use to get her hair done at the same place the former owners wife did. The owner had the Franchise in Sumter and Myrtle Beach also. Wonder what a single McD's would be worth, building and all ??? Sorry I got off track there a little, just thinking about all that money. Anyway, there was a building out back near the old NAPA store that was formally called the Pussycat Club if I remember correctly. That was transformed into a warehouse for the McDonalds Stores here in town and housed all of there cups, wrappers, fry boxes, napkins etc. Sometimes Managers from the other McDonalds in town would come pick up supplies if they ran out before regular deliveries were made to their store. Sometime later, and I don't recall when, that building was torn down along with the old Pussycat Club building. With the warehouse gone, they were able to set this most recent building further back from Garners Ferry Rd. But ever since the 70's, McDonalds just hasn't been the same to me.


    17 Aug 12 at 12:52 pm

  7. We had a couple 1970s McDonald's rebuilt around here (Oscoda, Michigan). The Oscoda store opened in 1976 and was rebuilt in maybe 2004 or so. It's noticeably smaller but still a good size for our town. If I remember correctly, the article said something about the old store's kitchen being too big for present use.

    The odd one was East Tawas. It was a huge late 70s mansard rebuilt ca. 1999-2000 as a REALLY tiny store. It had a small counter running at a 45 degree angle, with the drink dispenser shoved off to the side. Seating was limited and very cramped. I generally only see this tiny style in the absolute smallest of towns, which East Tawas is not. Finally around 2006, East Tawas relocated to a new store. The new store has a dining room about the size of the first store, and a double drive-thru lane.


    17 Aug 12 at 7:40 pm

  8. I can remember at some point in the early 80s they built a new building farther back and knocked down the one closer to the road. As far as I can recall they didn't look very different. I think they kept the old one open until they were ready to open the new building. I must have been about 5 or 6 so my memory is a bit fuzzy. Anyone else recall this?

    Mr Bill

    21 Aug 12 at 12:39 pm

  9. I was driving downtown Columbia Friday to the Huger area when I drove by the one there getting remodeled.

    Delle Sherer

    26 Aug 12 at 7:08 am

  10. According to an aunt of mine, this was the first McDonald's in the Columbia area.

    This was one I was looking to see get redone (most likely because it didn't have a self-serve beverage bar the way most McDonals's do now).


    1 Sep 12 at 1:35 am

  11. This McDonald's was on all the high schooler's cruisin' stops during the early 70s. Dreher, AC Flora, Lower Richland & Cardinal Newman students would circle the parking lot to see and be seen. We probably created headaches for the store managers but we also spent lots of cash on burgers and shakes so they had to put up with us.


    1 Sep 12 at 5:48 am

  12. This was the place to hit after swim meets in the seventies, and early eighties, before we started hitting LaBrasca's after the meets.


    4 Sep 12 at 6:44 am

  13. The best cheeseburger I ever had was sitting in the car with my dad at this McD. It was a wonderful childhood moment. I was about 5 and we had gotten up very early and gone fishing in a farm pond somewhere out on the Sumter highway when it got cold and started pouring rain and chased us home. On the way back he took us through the drive thru. Up till then all my burgers had come from Bell's. We sat there in his old '55 Ford and laughed about the rain and our pitiful fishing skills and ate those hot burgers.


    4 Sep 12 at 1:48 pm

  14. folks the McDonald's at the intersection of Elmwood and Assembly is now back in business

    I suspect this one will be back in business shortly but no word when


    6 Nov 12 at 8:48 pm

  15. folks this McDonald's is now back in business as is the one at Elmwood/Assembly meaning the golden arches are back to full strength location-wise in the Columbia area


    9 Nov 12 at 6:14 pm

  16. I love the old picture of the former McDonalds at this location. I had been meaning to get over there and shoot the building that was just knocked down, but did not get over there in time. I have shot the old stores in W. Columbia, Cayce, Sunset, the Winnsboro exit off of I-20 andIrmo. Is the location down Garners Fery close to the old Wal Mart still an older building?

    Joe Hinson

    1 Mar 13 at 1:39 pm

  17. Joe, the location at Garners Ferry and Atlas Road that you reference was rebuilt sometime in the 1998-01 timeframe after a fire. My grandmother heard it was started by an unattended lighted candle in a back room.


    1 Mar 13 at 3:49 pm

  18. tonkatoy

    22 Nov 13 at 11:00 am

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