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Archive for the ‘I-77’ tag

McDonald's, 5480 Forest Drive: January 2018 (temporary)   5 comments

Posted at 10:42 pm in closing


Well, here's the latest McDonald's to undergo the chain's current style makeover. This one is at East Forest Plaza, the Wal-Mart anchored strip at the Forest Drive/I-77 interchange.

In general these upgrades have been going pretty quickly, so I don't expect them to be shut for long.

I do have to say that I have found this store to be hard to get in and out of from Forest Drive. I've gotten coffee there a few times, but have kind of crossed it off my list.

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Written by ted on January 16th, 2018

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SouthTrust / Regions Bank, 5490 Forest Drive: Summer 2017   2 comments

Posted at 12:07 am in closing















On my way to an appointment recently, I noticed that the Regions Bank branch in East Forest Plaza (the Wal-Mart shopping center at I-77) is now vacant. This is another sign of how banks are continuing to shed branches as more and more business is done over the Internet. I can see why this one was a candidate, as the place is rather hard to get in and out of. If you are not already going into the shopping center you might well think twice.

With the recent closure of the Sandhill branch, I believe this leaves Regions locally with only the main location on Gervais and a Harbision branch. Hmm, actually I don't see the Harbison location on their web site, so that may have closed too -- I'll have to take a look.

UPDATE 10 October 2017 -- Adding SouthTrust to the post title based on the comments. SouthTrust was acquired by Wachovia in 2004, so that would have been gone by 2005.

Written by ted on October 5th, 2017

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Fort Jackson Gate, Percival Road: 1980s   7 comments

Posted at 11:43 pm in closing


I've been meaning to get back up in here for several years and see what is still left, but recently I've seen construction trucks going in and out, so I figured I had better go ahead and do it now, before whatever is left is gone..

As you may know, one of the main Fort Jackson gates used to feed directly into Percival Road, not too far west of Decker Boulevard. All the gates were (and probably still are) numbered, and I used to know the number of this gate, but can't now recall it. At any rate, my father was an Army Reserve member and then retiree, so my mother and we minor children had post access as a consequence. We would frequently go to one of the post theater (where they always played the national anthem before the show), or to the PX or library (which actually had a pretty good selection of SF books, many of which were not in the RCPL).

My memory is that at the top of the hill leading from Percival onto Jackson Boulevard and into the Fort, just past the gate to the left was an AFFES convience store, and a bit further down the road on the right was an AFFES fast food hamburger joint.

As some of you may recall, building I-77 took a *really* long time. Some wag wrote a letter to the editor at The State speculating that a troop of Boy Scouts with spoons could do it faster -- but finally it was done, and the new road cut through this entrance, which had by that point been closed for several years in anticipation of the event.

Looking at Google Maps aerial view of the site, apparently taken some while ago, I can see what appears to be a parking lot just before the I-77 barriers. I speculate that the convenience store was there, but it's possible that it was actually in the I-77 roadbed.

Several wars have been fought since this gate was closed, and Fort security is a good bit tighter now. The new gate comes out onto Percival over a bridge across I-77 east of Decker at Boyden Arbor Road, but I believe that access is somewhat restricted, and that the Forest Drive/Strom Thurmond entrance is now the main entrance for general traffic.

Let's take a walk:

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Written by ted on March 30th, 2017

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Saky Japanese Restaurant, 4963 Fort Jackson Boulevard: 4 October 2015 (temporary)   16 comments

Posted at 10:06 pm in closing




Here's another Great Flood of 2015 casualty.

This little restaurant on the Fort Jackson gate off I-77 has been there under one name or another for years. Originally, it was Saki, then when the current owner, who was working for the former owners, bought it out, he changed the name to Saky. This is what The State had to say:

“Who expected all this rain and the flood?” Sun Suk said as repairs continue on the eatery on Fort Jackson Boulevard at I-77.

The 7,500-square-foot structure housing Saky was damaged by the same flash flood Oct. 4 that inundated homes in the King’s Grant neighborhood.

Saky bore the brunt of the flood on its side of the road.

Two feet of water came inside and a tree fell on part of the restaurant after the bank of a nearby creek eroded in the rush of water.

“I walked in and it was a little wet, so I thought maybe it wasn’t too bad,” Sun said. “Then I went in back and could see the sky from inside of the building, so I knew I had a big problem.”

The first picture is from some years ago, the others from after the flood, though I could not get too close.

Hopefully they will be back soon.

Thunder Road, Carowinds: 26 July 2015   4 comments

Posted at 12:52 pm in closing

UPDATE 21 March 2016 Wow, who would have thought this photo and letter would turn up at my house at this late date, but there we are: David Pearson's first ride crew on Thunder Road. See the text below for details.






Grit Your Teeth
Bear The Load
Enjoy Your Ride
On Thunder Road
-- Burma Shave

I was on the first run of Thunder Road on 3 April 1976.

As it happened, I had won a phone-in contest on WIS Radio. I suppose there were similar contests on stations all over the Carolinas to fill both cars. It was not the first time I had been to Carowinds, I remember a school trip in particular, but it was not the quick jaunt from Columbia it is nowdays, as I-77 between Columbia & Charlotte was not yet finished and it was a longish two lane drive on US-21.

In its initial configuration, the two track coaster was promoted as a "race" between moonshiners and police with the trams on each track having automobile body front ends. For the initial ride, we contest winners were divided into two teams, one per car, and in the front seat of each car was a then prominent NASCAR driver. I'm afraid I didn't (and don't) really follow NASCAR so the names of our team leaders has totally slipped my mind. I have the feeling that our team was on the right hand track, and that we were the law, but I couldn't swear that to you. What I do remember in particular is the set of four Burma Shave signs, quoted above, which were between the two tracks as the cars were chain pulled to the top of the first hill. They gave you something to laugh about just before cresting the hill and that first precipitous descent.

At the time, my experience with roller coasters was pretty limited. My father did not trust the travelling coasters at the State Fair, so the only coasters I had ridden were the Swamp Fox in Myrtle Beach, and the mining themed Goldrusher also at Carowinds. There was really no comparison, and Thunder Road was a thrill ride far and above either (though I still love both the others). There was just something about that initial jerk and the clank of the chains as you went up that first hill, then teetered on top of the world for a second before the bottom dropped out..

I rode Thunder Road many other times over the years, though probably not any after the early 1980s. I totaly missed the era when they ran one of the trains facing backwards.

When I heard that Thunder Road was to be retired, I wanted to try and be on the last ride, but in the event I was on vacation that day, and while I seriously considered making the ten hour round trip drive, in the end I didn't. It would make a better story, but that's life.

I did go out last weekend though and get what pictures I could of the attraction before it is all torn down. The entrance is in what is now the Snoopy section of Carowinds while the main body parallels the water park area.

It's kind of sad how little of the original Carowinds remains. Really, I think the only two remaining original rides are the Eastern Airlines Skytower and the aforementioned Goldrusher. While I was googling some Thunder Road facts for this post, I ran across a teriffic site Carowinds The Early Years where most of the links above come from, and which you should definitely visit. Who could forget The Oaken Bucket, The Hillbilly Jalopies, The Powder Keg Flume, the awful food at The Grubsteak (You expect grubs to be good steak? we asked..), The Paddle Wheel Steamer, The Skyway and The Monorail?






































UPDATE 14 August 2015: My sister (who was also there the first day of Thunder Road though she did not have a first ride ticket) says she remembers that the NASCAR teamleaders were Cale Yarborough and David Pearson and that I was on Pearson's team. She has also found online sources saying it was Bobby Allison & David Pearson though that's not the way she remembers it (and all it takes is for one source to get it wrong and then be quoted by everyone else..)

I have also found a number of Youtube videos of Thunder Road. Here are a tribute video and then a front car POV video:

Anna's Linens, 5560 Forest Drive: July 2015   2 comments

Posted at 12:40 am in closing











The standard-issue closing signs have gone up at Anna's Linens at East Forest Plaza. You know the ones -- we've seen them often enough here..

I'm not sure what the final date for this store will be, but as commenter Andrew noted, the whole chain is in Chapter 11 and liquidating:

“Over-expansion and excess inventory led to increased indebtedness and, ultimately, a default with the debtor’s long-time lender, Union Bank,” according to court documents.

(Hat tip to commenter Sidney)

Written by ted on July 8th, 2015

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Grashopper Club / Legion Hut / Vet's Hall, 3001 Bluff Road (@ Gills Creek): circa 2007   20 comments

Posted at 11:05 pm in Uncategorized

This delapidated bar is on Bluff Road just south of I-77 on the banks of Gills Creek next to the old Diamonds strip club. The whole area has had a lot of recent land clearing, and since I took these pictures, a real-estate sign has been put up on the property.

I didn't see any street number on the building and so wasn't able to google it to see exactly what it had been. I suspect that if I had gone in, some of the notices on the door or something else inside might have given me a clue, but from the state of the place I figured I would need a hard hat and steel toed shoes to be comfortable doing that.

Some of the bar fixtures and chairs are still in there, but the stuffed animals are something of a puzzle.

UPDATE 29 April 2014 -- I've updated the post title from "Bar" to "Grasshopper Club / Legion Hut / Vet's Hall".

Also, commenter BJ sends in this Vet's Hall playbill:


Now, there is not a year listed, but we know that 30 March fell on Friday in 2007, and that "Burns Out Bright" apparently debuted in 2004 and "Skull Baby" debuted in 2003, so I'm saying this has to be 30 March 2007 and not 30 March 2001 or 30 March 1990. Therefore, I'm updating the closing date to "circa 2007".

UPDATE 21 August 2014 -- This place is not long for the world, as a demolition order has been posted. Interestingly, given that we never came to a firm conclusion about the address of this place, the order gives it as 3001 Bluff Road, so that is what I am updating the post title to:




26 January 2014

Written by ted on April 22nd, 2014

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Tony's Restaurant, 3055 Bluff Road: January 2014   no comments

Posted at 9:26 pm in Uncategorized







Tony's is a small breakfast and lunch operation on Bluff Road just South of I-77, in the Cricket Plaza.

I'm not sure from the sign if this is a permanent or temporary closing. And I'm not sure if the "construction" is Tony's specific, or refers to the general land clearing going on in the old Diamond's area right now.

UPDATE 13 May 2014 -- Now Creekside Cafe:



Written by ted on January 28th, 2014

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Exxon, 2842 Charleston Highway: 1970s   1 comment

Posted at 12:14 am in Uncategorized







This old service station, now a tire & brake center, is on the Charleston Highway, in that little corner in between I-77 and I-26.

I'm pretty sure it was an Exxon at one time (and may even have gone back into the Esso era). The vending machine bay to the left of the station is very typical of the old days -- a station generally would not like you hanging around inside, which was as much or more "the office" than a retail area.

I'm just guessing "1970s" as a closing date. It could have been much later, but that's when the classic "gas station" started to go into decline..

Written by ted on March 27th, 2013

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Hardee's, 5417 Forest Drive: Mid March 2013   10 comments

Posted at 9:06 pm in Uncategorized





























I was quite surprised to see this Hardee's, more or less at the corner of Percival Road and Forest Drive, closed.

As far as I could tell driving by daily, it seemed to do a reasonable amount of business. What's more, this section of Forest Drive is now an Interstate exit zone, so it should have been drawing from more than just the local area.

My first thought was that the opening of Cookout just a few slots down the road was the cause. The problem with that theory is that Hardee's does a brisk breakfast business, and Cookout, as far as I know, doesn't have a breakfast menu.

The more daylight shots above are from commenter kholler: Thanks!

(Hat tip to commenters Mr. Hat and Kholler)

UPDATE 12 July 2013 -- As mentioned in the comments, this is to become a Sonic:






UPDATE -- The place opens for business this morning (9 Sept 2013) at 6AM. Here is some more of the work from a few weeks ago:

Written by ted on March 24th, 2013

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