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Cornell Arms Pharmacy, 925 Sumter Street 1970s   22 comments

Posted at 11:11 pm in historic,stores

I've always liked Cornell Arms, the apartment building on the corner of Sumter and Pendleton Streets. I'm not sure why exactly, except that it has been there my entire life (that I can recall) and that the name with the antique "Arms" designation harkens back to the era of classic movies (and, admittedly, Hee-Haw). The section underneath the residences is retail space, and the tenants have come and gone through the years. I know that for decades, my father's barbers were there, and the restaurant space now housing Tio's has in the past had both McDonald's and Lizard's Thicket.

I can only vaguely remember the pharmacy, as our main drugstore was Campbell's. It was in the space now occupied by Carolina Cafe & Catering. I think we may have gone in a time or two if we were visiting my father's office, or if we were in the area taking the bus to the fairgrounds (which we used to do both to avoid the parking crowds there and to give us kids an 'adventure'). I am pretty sure it was fairly no-nonsense from a kid's point of view, except for the soda fountain, with few of the mini-department-store pretensions of modern big-box drugstores.

I don't really have a closing date for this place, but I started at USC in 1980, and I think I would recall it if it were still open then, and I don't, so I'm saying 1970s.

Written by ted on October 1st, 2009

22 Responses to 'Cornell Arms Pharmacy, 925 Sumter Street 1970s'

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  1. I sort of remember the Cornell Arms Pharmacy back in the mid 60's.. My Dad bought the 45 of The Monkey's Uncle for me then..I guess they must have sold 45's or other records too, but I guess most places did at that time. I dont remember when they closed though, but like you, I think it was in the 70's sometime. There used to be a restaraunt there in the 60's where McDonalds was and it could have been called The Cornell Arms Restaraunt, but I'm sure it had a name other than that..but I really dont remember it all that well. The Barber we used to go to was Sailor's Barbershop..typical of the early 60's when the Crew Cut was still in style (at least in Columbia) and I think Mr. Sailor ran the place til the 70's til he retired. But by the early to mid 70's, places like King's Row, Mayfield's and Village Squire took over when the longer mens hairstyles came in and the older am-was barbershops were a thing of the past.

    Del

    2 Oct 09 at 12:14 am

  2. According to one of the local history books I have, the Cornell Arms bldg. was built in 1949 and was very briefly the tallest apt. building in the Southeast.

    Dave

    2 Oct 09 at 5:23 am

  3. There was a radio station studio on the top floor for a number of years. I think it was either WNOK-AM or WCOS-AM - I can't remember. I do remember that the pharmacy sold Bud bottles for $2.09 a six pack when I was at Carolina in the late 70's. It was the closest beer stop to my dorm.

    Lou B

    2 Oct 09 at 7:51 am

  4. The radio station was WCOS. They did a comedy bit with the main character named Sumter Pendleton which is the location of the building.

    gary

    2 Oct 09 at 12:50 pm

  5. I remember going there as a child when my mom was re-starting college in 1979, and begging her for candy. The McDonald's was there at that time, because we (my brother and I) always wanted to go there too. As you mentioned, the McDonald's spot was a Lizard's Thicket throughout my college years at USC (1993-97). The drug store site has had no long term businesses since it closed. I'm not sure of the date of the drug store closing either - I'm pretty sure it was there up until I started kindergarten in the fall of 1980.

    Alex

    2 Oct 09 at 12:53 pm

  6. I want to say the drugstore at one time had a small lunch counter, but I could be wrong. i do know they would cash checks for students and had a large magazine selection.

    Tom

    3 Oct 09 at 9:25 am

  7. The drug store was there well into the 90's. The only reason I know this is because I did YEARS of theatre across the street at Town Theatre and we'd often steal over the the drug store for a drink or any sort of odds and ends we may need. We also spent many a meal at the Lizard's Thicket over there! I lived on their chicken strip salad!

    PK

    3 Oct 09 at 3:38 pm

  8. I remember a very small lunch counter there too, Tom, a loong time ago. Mostly I remember the place being very crowded and cramped inside.

    When I was a USC student in the 70s, instead of catering to the students and making piles of money, they seemed to want to keep them out and just be an apothecary for the older folks upstairs. They had signs on the door with messages like "only two sudents allowed at a time."

    At some point it became a Long's Drug store for a few years. Then it was a bagel and coffee place -- New York Bagels maybe?

    Dennis

    3 Oct 09 at 3:39 pm

  9. The bagel place is still there, just renamed.

    ted

    3 Oct 09 at 5:57 pm

  10. I was at Carolina in the 70s and early 80s on the Shoe and Cornell Arms and the old Gulf station on the other corner were the closest places to buy beer. Also, when I went through my Shoal/chewing tobacco phse during that time, Cornell Arms was well-known for having the freshest-dated Copenhagen (it was so fresh it would give you a buzz when you first put in a dip!). Mr. Long's son was in a few of my classes; he majored in pharmacy and ended up working there. Great, close place to get odds-and-ends, esp if you didn't have a car.

    doc

    30 Oct 09 at 7:52 pm

  11. As a student at Carolina in the mid-70's, the Cornell Arms was a regular spot to visit every Friday afternoon to cash a $10 or $20 check for weekend money. They would charge 10 cents to cash your check and there was typically a line of students every Friday. I can recall, while merely waiting to get my $10 weekend money, standing behind one young female who pleaded and then threatened the pharmacist. She kept repeating "I've GOT to have those pills - it's the weekend." Use your imagination.

    Tin Man

    10 Dec 09 at 9:50 am

  12. I worked at the cornell arms resturant and i use to carry breakfast up to Woody, uncle mike and dottie loyd, the swap and shop girl for WCOS am 1400.

    jerry roberts

    16 Mar 10 at 6:40 pm

  13. I worked at the cornell arms resturant and i use to carry breakfast up to Woody, uncle mike and dottie loyd, the swap and shop girl for WCOS am 1400.

    jerry roberts

    16 Mar 10 at 6:40 pm

  14. Anyone remember when there was a McDonald's here? A friend of mine used to hang out between classes here when she went to USC (before I came along)

    Andrew

    11 Feb 11 at 3:53 pm

  15. Yes, there definitely was a McDonald's there (that is to say, in the Cornell Arms building, not the old pharmacy suite itself), and a Lizard's Thicket as well. It's currently Tio's mexican

    ted

    11 Feb 11 at 5:17 pm

  16. I remember the pharmacy and WCOS AM. In the 1960's that was the station all my friends and I listened to. We would sit by the phone for hours waiting for Woody Windham to have an "Instant Request", If you were the first caller after he announced it, you would be "On Air" with Woody and get to request a song. Maybe one of your friends would hear you on the radio. Man could we dial those old "Rotary Phones". One night my friend and I snuck out of our houses at midnight, we were only 12 years old, and rode our bikes from Leesburg Road to Cornell Arms and went upstairs. The DJ was the only one there. He let us in and we saw how the radio station worked. Boy, can you imagine two kids out that time of night now, going all that way?

    Rick

    20 Feb 11 at 8:44 pm

  17. Looking at the old phone book add, it says E.P. Long R.Ph. I wonder if he is the same or relation to Longs Drugs in Columbia now.

    Rick

    20 Feb 11 at 8:48 pm

  18. I remember a head shop that was on or near the Cornell Arms premises back in the 70's. My buddies and I would buy BeeDee Indian cigarettes thinking that they would give us a buzz. They just produced a nasty cough!

    joel

    20 Feb 11 at 9:37 pm

  19. I remember visiting WCOS in the building back in the early 70's. They were giving away old 45 records. Were they ever located in the hotel on the corner of Main and Gervais?

    joel

    20 Feb 11 at 9:42 pm

  20. I worked at WCOS summer 1963 - spring 1965. Studios were in the Cornell Arms building. Yep, Gene Long was the guy that ran the pharmacy. I think it was Campbell's Drug Store at the time. Food was good there, too.

    I also did the "Doug Broome's Nightbeat Show" at Doug Broome's Drive-In on Main Street at Confederate Avenue. Wow, the good'ole days. So many fond memories.

    Not sure if WCOS was ever located on the corner of Main and Gervais. If so, it was prior to 1963 but WQXL was located in the old Columbia Hotel at Sumter and Gervais Streets. They had a studio at street level with a window so you could watch the dj's. That was in the mid-sixties, i think. Mackie Quave, alias "Cactus Quave" did his show from there.

    I, too, enjoyed visiting another radio station the the "Barringer Building" on Main Street. It was WMSC. Bill Brown allowed me to watch him on Saturdays through the station.s lobby studio window. Wow, sure started my love the the business and I did 21 years from DJ to Corporate Manager. Love to travel in time, back to visit those days for a bit. :)

    Jeff

    21 Feb 11 at 7:41 am

  21. The name of the Barber shop that was located there was called "Sailor's".. Mr. Sailor died a few years back..but he has/had a twin brother.. Their "specialty" haircut was the "crew cut"... NO THANK YOU.. Not on your fireless cooker!

    Del Bazemore

    22 Feb 11 at 12:28 am

  22. I believe the "head shop" near The Cornell Arms might have been one block over on South Main. I remember shopping, and generally hanging out at "Mother Earth" I only remember because of the radio ads (WCOS?) that ended with the musical "you've got to come down to Mot--her Earth".

    Robert

    22 Jun 11 at 4:30 pm

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