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Gonzales Gardens, 1505 Garden Plaza: 4 October 2017   8 comments

Posted at 11:05 pm in closing

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Gonzales Gardens was a public housing project comprising the tract bordered by Lyon Street on the West, Forest Drive on the North, McDuffie Avenue on the East and Washington Street on the South.

According to The State, demolition of Gonzales Gardens started on 4 October 2017. I took these pictures on 1 October when the place was fenced off, but still standing. I have not driven by lately, but imagine it is all down by now.

I never knew much about the place, except that it had something of a shady reputation by the time I became aware of it in the late 1960s. Apparently it was not always that way, and in fact another State story recounts some happy memories of the place from the early years.

The Columbia Housing Authority has the most extensive writeup with a lot of interesting facts. For instance, the place was originally built largely for Fort Jackson NCOs, and was, in those Jim Crow times, initially restricted to white families only. Another thing I did not know was where the name came from: The project was named for the three Gonzales brothers long associated with The State newspaper, one of whom was murdered in 1903 by the nephew of then Governor Tillman.

Written by ted on November 8th, 2017

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Drake's Restaurant, 2436 Taylor Street: 1977   18 comments

Posted at 12:00 am in Uncategorized

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DRAKES RESTAURANT
Columbia, S. C.

Best food on Highway One, north of Columbia. A spe-
cialty Restaurant serving good clean food. So duck in at
Drakes and enjoy a delicious meal.

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DRAKE'S RESTAURANT
Columbia, S. C.
Best food on Highway one, north of Columbia. A specialty
Restaurant serving good clean food. So duck in at Drake's
and enjoy a delicious meal.

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"Good Clean Food" -- I'm not sure I've ever seen that exact phrase used as a selling point before..

Over the years I've been running Columbia Closings I've gotten a number of requests for Drake's Restaurant on Taylor Street. I've never done much about it because we never ate there, and I really didn't remember the place, and because the building was gone.

Recently though, I was searching an online postcard site, and found two good postcards of Drake's. As fate would have it, commenter Dennis emailed me the same day with a copy of one of the same postcard images, saying:

This is Drake's Restaurant that stood on the southeast corner of Two
Notch/Millwood and Forest Drive. It's been long demolished and is now
a Church's Chicken. This view is from the south on Millwood. My family
ate there a lot in the early 1960s. It was a nice, quiet, "white
tablecloth" place that I truly miss. The Drakes ran a florist business
in the same building, no doubt doing a lot of business with Providence
Hospital patients across the street. And Yes, there is a connection to
Drake's Duck-In on Main Street, or at least there was originally.

I'm not sure what years these cards are from. I'm confident however, that the first card is earlier, as you can see that the roof air-conditioning units are the old wooden-slat type, while in the next card they are more modern.

I'm not sure when Drake's was started either. It *is* listed in the 1954 Southern Bell phonebook, the first one available at the RCPL. That, and subsequent phonebooks up to 1960 give the address as simply "Taylor Street". The December 1961 book is the first one to give the street number of "2436 Taylor Street". As far as I can tell, the place never bought a full yellow-pages ad. However, also starting in the December 1961 book, it did start buying a small box ad (pictured above) touting its "Go Service" wherein you could phone in your order and pick it up to go. This continued (with the same design and text) through the final listing for Drake's, which was in the January 1977 phonebook.

As Dennis mentions, the Drake's address is now a Church's Chicken fast food outlet, which is a completely new building.

One thing about the whole situation which blows my mind is that Drake's had (and Church's has) a Taylor Street address. If there was anything I thought I knew, it was that Taylor Street was West of Millwood and Forest Drive was East of Millwood. Full stop end of story. There's probably some sort of street re-routing story there...

(Hat tip to commenter Dennis, and a few others over the years)

Written by ted on September 13th, 2012

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