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Sub Station II / Laundromat, US-601 St. Matthews: 2000s   7 comments

Posted at 1:50 am in Uncategorized

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I noticed this pair of co-located derelict businesses driving US-601 through St. Matthews towards I-26 this Spring.

I wasn't sure at first what the restaurant was, but a close look at the menu board pretty well pins it down to a Sub Station II.

I can't think of any obvious reason why both businesses in this building would have failed at what seems to be more or less the same time. While the restaurant market is fickle, laundromats are places where you must go. I'm guessing early 2000s for the timeframe here, but the building does seem rather enthusiastically vine encrusted, and if the realtor posting the sign does succeed in selling the place, I doubt there's much that can be done beyond knocking the place down and starting over.

Written by ted on November 8th, 2014

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Coronet Motel / Circus Room, 2770 McCords Ferry Road: 1980s   4 comments

Posted at 1:00 am in Uncategorized

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I probably should remember seeing this place more, as we drove past it on the way to the beach innumerable times while I was growing up. However, I always had my nose in a book, so I was only vaguely aware of the name Circus Room and couldn't have told you where it was. Or, for that matter, *what* it was. At this remove, my understanding is that The Circus Room was actually a circus style tent set up on the grounds of the Coronet Inn at the intersection of US-601 & US-378 in Eastover, and that the tent hosted a restaurant and nightclub. Even in these days of the metro area creeping ever outwards, this is a pretty rural area, and back in the day it must have been even stranger to find a well regarded hotspot here.

What was the attraction? Google pulls up this hint from the 2006 cookbook Cookin' with Cocky II: More Than Just a Cookbook:

Bright Stevenson:

I first met Bright in the Fall of 1956. Bright owned the Coronet Motel and Circus Room nightclub in Eastover. The Circus Room had the finest food and the only mixed drinks in the Columbia area at that time.

The two ads above are from the Sumter Register in 1974 and 1976 respectively.

Amazingly, both Coronet motels still exist and still are in operation, although under different names and ownership. The Eastover location is currently an Anyday Inn and is now combined with a convenience store run in the old office.

The topic has come up in Have Your Say from time to time, and here is what some people have recalled:


The Circus Room was in the old Coronet Motel near Eastover which I think was somehow related to the motel with the same name on North Main. I know they used to advertise a lot on the radio and had quite a business at one time. I drove out to Eastover a few weeks ago and what was the Circus Room was a seedy convenience store in a no tell motel.

Tom


Tom---You are right. One thing about the Circus Room was that it featured USDA "Prime" steaks which is a rarity even for today. You could call in the morning and they'd marinate your steak all day for you. I live in Kansas now which is beef country and know of only one steakhouse type place out here where you can get USDA prime beef. John.

John Merrell


I had forgotten all about the Circus Room. This was one of a few out-in-the-boondocks restaurants where we would eat on occasion when my father felt like driving out into the country (circa 1965-68). I remember the food being pretty good and it having a totally unpretentious atmosphere, but that was when gas was 25¢ a gallon, and it was easy to justify such a long trip for a good steak. I'm sure if the Circus Room had been a couple of miles down Trenholm Road, that would have been where we would have visited most often when we ate out, which at that time was once, maybe twice a month. Ancient and forgotten fond memories, thanks John.

Michael Taylor


The Circus room is still back there, but the entire back part of the motel is living quarters for the people who run it. The woman told me they took the tent down when they moved in.

She also said the guy who built the motel back in the fifties still drops into the convenience store every day.

jamie


Coronet Motel w/ Circus Room restaurant. Actually, that was out where US 601 intersects Sumter Hwy., but the restaurant was so good that folks used to drive from Columbia all the way out to Eastover to eat there. Bright Stevenson Jr owned it. His dad owned the Coronet Motel up out North Main St., going toward Blythewood.

Sid

UPDATE 24 October 2014: Added Yellow Pages graphic from the 1970 Southern Bell phonebook.

Written by ted on October 17th, 2014

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Wateree Country Store, US-601 Eastover: 1980s?   no comments

Posted at 11:47 pm in Uncategorized

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Here's an old country store I ran across recently just south of where Bluff Road (SC-48) ends at US-601.

The sign claims it was founded in 1856, which would make it a fairly rare atebellum business still in operation until fairly recently. I think this particular building is much newer than that however -- to me it has kind of a 1920s look. The nearest landark I can find an actuall address for is St. Luke AME Church at 4990 McCords Ferry Road (US-601) which is probably about half a mile south of here.

I don't know when the place closed, but it is now surrounded by a fence so clearly there has been no customer access for a while.


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