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34.00056 N 81.04417 W   no comments

Posted at 10:15 pm in Uncategorized

Home Is the Sailor

Home is the sailor, home from sea:
Her far-borne canvas furled
The ship pours shining on the quay
The plunder of the world.

Home is the hunter from the hill:
Fast in the boundless snare
All flesh lies taken at his will
And every fowl of air.

'Tis evening on the moorland free,
The starlit wave is still:
Home is the sailor from the sea,
The hunter from the hill.

A.E. Housman

Normal posting resumes tomorrow if I can get recombobulated.

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Topsy's Downtown Gulf, 710 Centre Street, Fernandina Beach Florida: 1996   4 comments

Posted at 12:45 am in Uncategorized

Tonight it's time for one of my "out of area" posts, which is the category into which I throw everything that's not Columbia or The Grand Strand. I was trying to get some pictures I took back in February into shape to upload, and came across these of Topsy Smith's Topsy's Downtown Gulf on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach.

This was where we always got our gas when we were visiting Fernandina, and where we got our car worked on when we needed it. (In those bygone days, driving US-301 all the way to Florida could take a lot out of a car). The station was around the corner from my Aunt's house and I'm sure I walked past it most every day I was there, either going to the Atlantic Avenue park, or just generally wandering around town (as kids could do in those times). this appreciation of Topsy Smith says that his was one of the only two stations in town at the time, and I can believe it, at least for the town proper -- I'm sure there was something way out on 8th street as well. It had the drive-over air hoses that would 'ding' as you pulled in (a sound you don't hear anymore) and which would alert the service staff to come out, pump your gas, wash your windows, check the radiator and battery levels and inspect your tires.

The linked article says that Smith retired in 1997, though I suspect it may be off a little as this link says that an operation called Richard's BP took out an SBA loan in 1996.

After the follow-on BP station went under, the building didn't really settle on anything solid. I believe it was a bike-rental operation at one time, and then the last business in there, the remnants of which were still visible, was a beachwear/casual-wear store called apparently Island Breeze Shop. I don't believe that lasted any longer than one season, and the building is currently still empty.

I see that Topsy Smith is remembered yearly at the Shrimp Festival with The Topsy Smith Memorial Beard Contest

UPDATE 21 July 2010 -- Apparently it's going to be a Philly cheese-steak operation next:

UPDATE 3 January 2012 -- Well, the Philly Cheese-steak thing didn't last long at all, and it was in a state of tear-down last time I went through (Aug 2011). There were also scooters there, though I saw no sign of anyone actively offering them for rental:

UPDATE 4 March 2012 -- It's now a burger joint called Tasty's. Note how the logo looks like an oldtime Gulf sign:

Written by ted on September 20th, 2009

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Main Beach Arcade, Fernandina Beach Florida: 2005   6 comments

Posted at 1:18 am in closing

Welcome Facebook users 11 July 2017: I see a lot of hits on this old page from Facebook today. Welcome to Columbia Closings. Normally this site focuses on Columbia South Carolina, but there are some other Fernandina pages you may be interested in:

A1A Gas Mart, 816 South 8th Street (Fernandina Beach FL)

Amelia Con 2014, Fernandina Beach Florida

Amelia Con 2016, Fernandina Beach Florida

Island Cinema 7, 1132 14th Street (Fernandina Beach FL)

Kmart, 1525 Sadler Road (Fernandina Beach)

O'Kane's Irish Pub And Eatery, 318 Centre Street (Fernandina Beach)

Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q 2742 South 8th Street, Fernandina Beach FL

Topsy's Downtown Gulf, 710 Centre Street (Fernandina Beach)

A1A Gas Mart, 816 South 8th Street (Fernandina Beach FL)

Indian River Fruit Stand, A1A (Yulee Florida)

And check the Alphabetical Closings page for other Florida references.

And now back to the original post:

Well, I'm on the road, and didn't get all the pictures I wanted to take done beforehand, so I'm going to throw in a few ringers this week.

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