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Don's Marching & Music Society / The Library, 805 Harden Street: 8 November 2013   22 comments

Posted at 12:46 am in Uncategorized

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Having a bar called The Library is an old tradition in college towns. Whether it actually happens, or just the notion is enough to hang a name on, the idea is that the hard partying student will truthfully tell his parents he's spending a lot of time at the library.

Recently, in Columbia, that tradition is reported to have taken a nasty turn. Five Points has been having a terrible year as far as crime goes, and according to The State, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lot called out The Library by name:

Lott says he sent both uniformed and undercover officers to Columbia's Five Points on Oct. 26. He says the officers found a number of gang members hanging out at a bar called The Library and other people hanging out looking for fights or to rob people.

Shortly thereafter, The State reported:

The owner of a Columbia nightclub that the sheriff says is a hangout for gang members says he could be forced to close.

Justin Kershner of The Library nightclub says he was told by the state revenue department that he must pay $18,000 in back taxes by 2 p.m. Friday or give up his permits to sell beer, wine and liquor.

Finally, The State Reports:

The Library nightclub is closed indefinitely

.....

The decision to close came a day after he said paid his back taxes and was trying to figure out how to get back into the good graces of local law enforcement.

Because of trees, it is difficult to get a good picture of The Library building from across Harden, and even on the right side of the road, the view is still a bit obstructed. When I took the first set of pictures, the signs for The Library were still up, if not easily visible. When I took the night pictures, the signage had already come down, and there was a crew inside that looked to be cleaning the place out.

UPDATE 7 December 2013: Added Don's Marching & Music Society to the post title, and check the comments for a not from the original "Don"!

Written by ted on November 14th, 2013

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22 Responses to 'Don's Marching & Music Society / The Library, 805 Harden Street: 8 November 2013'

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  1. I recall it being mentioned on a comment board on thestate.com that a group of Five Points merchants had a 'short list' of Five Points establishments that were the root of many of the issues Five Points faces and this makes me wonder if The Library makes that list...

    Andrew

    14 Nov 13 at 1:19 am

  2. Over the years, I have always had a list of establishments in 5 Points that I had no care to set foot in. As I grow older, there are only a few that I frequent from time to time and then only for happy hour or the early evening.

    I know someone that lives in the housing area around Martin Luther King Park. He inherited his house from his parents and he told me that he was going to put bars on the windows and doors because of all of the gang/drug activity going on that neighborhood. He said that it's a crying shame that he has to be afraid to sit on his front porch after dark at the same house where he played in the yard with friends as a child.

    I saw something written (I think in the Free Times) about the increase of people, in general, congregating on the sidewalks thereby making themselves easy targets for panhandlers, muggers or any other person with an 'agenda'. Well, unless a bar has a patio or deck, then people that smoke have no other choice that to take to the sidewalks.

    I hope that Group Therapy is not on the 5 Points short list. I can think of several others that should be. I've been in and out of that bar since 1978 and if they ever close, I'm getting a room at the Claussen's Inn, gonna drink enough tequila to float a battleship and sleep for two days...lol!!!!

    Any comments are welcome......:^)

    Homer

    14 Nov 13 at 2:57 am

  3. 1) The no smoking inside ordinances put folks on the sidewalks

    2) Columbia's longstanding denial/tolerance of gang activity puts thugs where they can find victims

    3) Rather than address the problem of thuggery and foolish laws, we have a sheriff who, in this instance, is blaming the victim (the bar) rather than the true problem (the thugs)

    Five Points was much, much better when it was nearly all retail. The bars ruined Five Points.

    tonkatoy

    14 Nov 13 at 8:18 am

  4. The Library was known for almost two decades as "Dons marching and Music Society." It was a private club that catered to college students. I went there a lot in the 80s and never felt unsafe and never heard anyone complain about it. It also had one of the best jukeboxes in Columbia.
    It was sold and went through oen or two other name changes before becoming "The Library" and again, I never heard of any issues with the place, until the most recent owner took charge.
    BTW-I think there used to be a place on Ft. Jackson Blvd. that was also called the Library.

    Tom

    14 Nov 13 at 9:34 am

  5. I don't think Lott's putting Library on blast is "blaming the victim". It has been a known trouble spot for a long time now. There are quite a few bars that welcome a young black clientelle or a diverse clientelle without becoming a gang hangout.

    Becky

    15 Nov 13 at 10:26 am

  6. @ Tom - I don't remember a bar on Ft. Jackson Blvd. called the Library, but there was a bar on Rosewood called The Library back in the 80's. It was near the end closest to the Fairgrounds. The bar was on the left if you were heading towards the Fairgrounds just before the railroad trestle. The Library was in the same building as another bar, The Tabbard Inn. Went there many times. Tuesday night 10 cent drafts, Whew......
    @Homer - Talk about floating a battleship.

    Rick

    16 Nov 13 at 6:32 am

  7. ted

    19 Nov 13 at 11:57 pm

  8. tonkatoy, when was Five Points nearly all retail? It has been mainly bars since the early 80's when I was in high school and all through my college years? Anybody, about when did things really start getting bad down there? We still go every now and then to eat at Saluda's, Gourmet Shop or grab a beer at Group or Goatfeathers. The retail is not really worth going down there for at all. Wish it were.

    A

    29 Nov 13 at 9:25 pm

  9. My mom said that in the 50's there were a lot of stores down there to shop at. She said they had drug stores and clothing plus there was a Pig on one of the corners that her and her grandma would shop at. I am like you "A" I grow up in the 80's so I don't remember any kind of good shopping being down there.

    William

    30 Nov 13 at 9:56 pm

  10. The only retail stores I remember in 5 Points as a kid are Sears, Hiller Hardware and a grocery store (it may have been a Pig or a Winn Dixie). When I started hanging out in the area in the late 70's it was already mostly bars and independent shops.

    Homer

    1 Dec 13 at 12:37 am

  11. There were indeed several retail businesses in Five Points in the past. I used to enjoy parking the car and Christmas shopping all through the area. Most of the names escape me now but there were:

    Roses or Dodds drug stores
    Jackson Camera
    a shoe store and Gerald's Shoe Repair
    a florist
    Gibson's gift shop
    BackPacker
    various record stores
    Columbia Music store (instruments)
    Kenny's auto supplies
    Joyful Alternative
    Grocery stores
    Sears
    Hiller Hardware
    Five Points Theater
    banks
    art galleries
    Loose Lucy's
    book stores
    and dozens of others. Restaurants were everywhere.
    I imagine Ted could run an entire blog called FivePointsClosings.com

    By the way, did everyone participate in Small Business Saturday? Truly a worthwhile effort for our neighbors and friends who have the fortitude to be self reliant. Long live the Independents.

    Terry

    1 Dec 13 at 2:52 am

  12. I had totally forgotten about Kenny's Auto and Jackson Camera. About the only reason I ever go down there is to visit Papa Jazz, grab a beer at Group Therapy or eat at Yesterday's.

    I know it's a pipe dream since the building has been so carved up but it would be cool to reopen the 5 Points theater is some form, whether it be film of live theater.

    Homer

    2 Dec 13 at 1:03 am

  13. Yeah, back in the 70s when I was a kid, it was practically all retail. It probably started changing when Sears left for Columbia Mall, because by the time I was in college in the eighties, it was trending more and more towards bars and restaurants as the decade went on.

    tonkatoy

    2 Dec 13 at 7:28 am

  14. I OPENED DON'S MAY 12, 1964 AND WAS THERE ALMOST 20 YEARS, WE NEVER EVER EXPERIENCED WHAT IS GOINGON TODAY IN 5 POINTS, WHAT A SHAME THT MY HOME TOWN AND SCHOOL HAS COME TO THIS POINT. WHEN I OPENED DON'S THERE WERE ONLY DON'S & JACK SKENES UPSTAIRS BAR THERE. THE 5-POINTS MERCHANT'S ASSOCIATION ATTEMPTED TO CLOSE BOTH BARS AND A PETION WAS CIRCULATED TO ACCOMPLISH THAT. THE RESULT WAS THAT THE UPSTAIRS BAR WAS CLOSED BUT BECAUSE I WENT AROUND AND EVERY PETIONER THAT SIGNED AGAINST THE OTHER BAR SIGNED MY PETITION TO LET ME STAY OPEN AND I DID FOR ALMOST 18 YEARS BECAUSE I MADE A PROMISE TO MYSELF THATN WHEN MYOLDEST CHILD WAS OLD ENOUGH TO COME TO THE BAR I WOULD NOT OWN IT AND I DIVESTED MYSELF OFTHE BAR AROUND 1978. BUT IT WAS A GOOD RIDE AND I HAD NOTHING TO REGRET OR BE ASHAMED ABOUT, MAY OF MY BARTENDERS DEPENDED UPON THEIR SALARIES TO FINISH USC AND I KEEP IN TOUCH WITH MANY OF THEM.... DON RAY-74 YEARS OLD AND A PROUD COLUMBIA NATIVE BORN NEAR ON MAIN ST NEAR THE CORNER ELEMWOOD AVENUE.....

    DON RAY

    7 Dec 13 at 2:29 pm

  15. @Don- sadly too many people today don't have the ethics or morals you have. As a former customer, I have nothing but great memories of the place.

    Tom

    8 Dec 13 at 3:26 pm

  16. I have spent most of my adult life working in 5 Pts. First
    job was in 1972 at a little blue jean shop, Jolie's, on the 700 block of Saluda Ave. Brief stint at the Local Gentry restaurant located where Yesterdays is. Then the Happy Dashery from 1976-1986 610 Harden St. That was when that block was almost all retail with The Peddler, Stage Door & Pugs-all wonderful places. I opened Revente on Saluda Ave. in 1992 and hope to stay there as long as the former tenent, Aiken's Antiques, who was there for 40+ years. So many changes in our village over the years......

    Debbie McDaniel

    4 Jul 14 at 6:21 pm

  17. Pugs was one of the first bars I went to in 5-Points. It was very unique in its layout. At the time I didn't realize that it was part of the old 5-Points theater.

    Homer

    7 Jul 14 at 1:54 am

  18. Don's was the first bar that lasted in 5-Points, I opened it May 12th, 1964 in order to finish at Carolina. I never intended to stay there the almost 20 years that I did, but the darn place took off and I had to stay there though four additions to the original bar that involve three different street addresses. I went though many ruminations in the later years to get back to a normal life as when you have a young family and a spouse you love the bar business is not condusive to that environment. I opened the Beverage store next to Don's - later Performance Van's of America, where I converted several hundred Van's for local car/truck dealers, it lasted until the Arab Oil Embargo in the 70's. I put the bar up for sale and had a sale for many $$$$$$.$$, but my Dad needed a job and I gave him my majority interests in the bar to him. God blessed me with all I learned building all the bars (The Other Place on Rosewood Drive as well) that a friend of mine and a former Don's bartender got me a job with Daniel's Construction and for a few years traveled from job to job across this land eventually winding up at International Paper in Georgetown, SC and the City of N Myrtle beach for 18 years as Building Official and then Barefoot Landing and finally Burroughs & Chapin where I oversaw new construction projects until my retirement 6 years ago. We have enjoyed life here at the beach, but in Nov will be moving to Georgia to be close to family as we are in our mid 70's now.... Bottom line- there is hope for all those closed up places in 5-Points, it sure is a shame what has happened to my home town City of Columbia and that it appears that after dark in town center and 5-Points it's not a safe place to be.... Come on City official's get your City back to a safe place for USC students and others to frequent places like Don's and others in the 60's, 70's...

    Don Ray

    4 Oct 14 at 6:00 am

  19. Don - Great story, thanks for sharing.

    Rick

    4 Oct 14 at 8:53 am

  20. Great to hear from Mr. Don. Don's was a safe, fun place to be with your friends. Many of my USC Band Friends and Kappa Kappa Si brothers were bartenders. Steve and Jamie, my big brother, you know who you are! What people should also know the Mr Don was quite supportive of the USC Band program. So many of us are very grateful to him. Sorry to see an area that was so much of a safe social seen become a haven for thugs.

    jd

    13 Dec 14 at 1:56 pm

  21. I'm still hanging in there, will be 3/4 of a century old October 15th, and still with my spouse of 56 years (Gail) did enjoy the 21+ years I had several businesses I 5-Points including the Bar, Performance Van's of America & Discount Beverage Store, both next door to Don's after I gave the bar to my Dad...

    DON RAY

    27 Sep 15 at 3:30 pm

  22. Some of my bartenders who have passed: (RED DOG) - Phillip Thorman, Randy Dickens. Dick Bernish-Not a bartender but a regular, Buddy Blanks, Frank Barco of Franks Hot Dogs across the street from Don's, my DAD - Rupert Ray

    DON RAY

    11 Dec 15 at 6:48 pm

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