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Archive for the ‘Forest Lake Shopping Center’ tag

Dobbs House / Steak 'n Egg Kitchen, 4835 Forest Drive: 1970s   6 comments

Posted at 11:22 pm in Uncategorized

The Steak 'n Egg Kitchen was in this building on the bank of Gills Creek across the street from Trenholm Plaza and in front of Forest Lake Park. Commenter Lisa B's parents ran the restaurant (and another in Cayce), and she has an interesting rememberance here.

What I remember about the place is that it had a counter fitted with round, floor-mounted, stools on which a kid could twirl for as long as a parent could stand it and unpadded booths, like at the Waffle House or Huddle House lining the outside walls. I don't remember much about the menu, though I think it inclined towards hearty breakfast and lunch fare, but I do remember one item in particular. We didn't get to go there often (and in fact generally ate only one meal a week 'out'), but when we did, I had to have "Black Bottom Pie". I don't remember what was inside the chocolate cracker crust, but whatever it was, it was good! I think it's rather interesting that with the Steak 'n Egg Kitchen, there were at least three lunch counter operations in this block of Forest Drive. The other two were Liggett's Drugstore (later Ligget Rexall) at Trenholm Plaza and Campbell's Drug Store at the other end of Forest Lake Shopping Center. All three are gone now..

I'm not sure how long the Steak 'n Egg Kitchen lasted, but I'm pretty sure it was gone by the time I started college in 1980, and think it was in fact several years before that. This article from 1987 says that the chain still had 130 units then, but that it was troubled and that the new owners were attempting a turnaround. I don't find a corporate web site, so I'm guessing it didn't work. Anyway, after Steak 'n Egg Kitchen closed, another restaurant set up shop briefly in the building (which was remodelled). I can't recall the name of the place, but I got the impression that it was family run, and it had home-made raw fries. I think there was a non-retail business after that, perhaps an insurance office or some such and then the current tenants arrived and split the building. I've bought brandy & rum for cooking from the liquor store, but I don't know anything about the other two outfits. At any rate, none of them have Black Bottom Pie..

UPDATE 30 Jan 09:

Here's the old Harden Street location (mentioned in the comments). It's now El Burrito.

UPDATE 14 July 2012: Added the full street address for the Forest Drive location, and added the "Dobbs House" name to the post title. Also added some tags.

UPDATE 11 October 2013: Here is a great picture of one of the incarnations of this location. Thanks to commenter Dennis for ferreting this out!

Commercial Bank &Trust / First Citizens Bank, 5210 Trenholm Road (Forest Lake Shopping Center): 1980s   2 comments

Posted at 10:21 pm in closing

I'm not entirely sure of the details, but when I was growing up, my parents had two different banks. I suppose they had each had accounts before getting married, and decided to keep them, or perhaps there were different banks for checking and for savings (the family definitely had passbook accounts at Standard Savings & Loan). At any rate, First Citizens at Forest Lake seemed to be the one my mother stopped at most often to cash checks when in the car with us kids.

From time to time, she would go inside (and perforce drag us with her), but usually she would go through the drive-through, which we always looked forward to since the teller would usually pass out a sucker to each of us along with my mother's cash.

This particular branch of First Citizens was a bit unusual in that the drive-throughs were staffed seperately from the main building. As you can see, there was a little outbuilding by the drive-through lanes. I doubt very much that it was plumbed; I imagine the tellers had to make a trip back to the main building when nature called. Of course in those days bankers' hours were short enough that it probably wasn't a big issue.

I think the lane that was on the side of the building facing Trenholm was a drive-through as well and would have been staffed from the main building, but if I recall correctly, it was harder to get in and out of (and it may have been simply a night depository lane rather than a real teller window).

My memory on timings is always very suspect, but I think this branch closed before the main part of Forest Lake Shopping Center (with Campbell's Drugs etc) was torn down and a new First Citizens was built there, so that there was a period whn First Citizens didn't have a branch in the neighborhood.

I'm a little hazy on what happened after the bank left. I think there were a few tenants in the building before the current arrangements gelled, but I'm not sure. At any rate, I think the current clients have been there for at least the last ten years: A gallery and frame shop in the "main" building, and a garden shop in the outbuilding, teller lanes and the rest of the exterior.

I was a little surprised that the garden shop made it, as I would have guessed that that space was really to constricted to work with, but they have really prospered. I suppose the closure of Forest Lake Garden Center around where the Lazy Boy store now is opened up the area for a new store. I've been to the garden shop a few times (this spring for a pair of gloves, last year for some mint plants), but I've never been in the gallery. I like art galleries, but I always have the feeling that if one is small enough that I'll be the only person in there other than the proprietor, I'll feel like I need to buy something..

Oh, and that Flood Hazard Area sign?

They weren't kidding:

UPDATE 19 October 2013 -- Just found out the original name of this place was Commercial Bank & Trust so I have added that to the post title. Here's a picture of it in operation from 1964.

UPDATE 30 September 2016 -- The main bank building (except for the vault) was razed on 28-29 September 2016. See pictures here.

UPDATE 20 October 2022: Fixing street address, updating tags and adding map icon.

Forest Lake Park, Forest Lake Shopping Center (Trenholm Road & Forest Drive): 1970s   56 comments

Posted at 4:22 pm in closing

What does it mean to say a park is "closed"? Well, the land could be sold and built, there could be a fence to keep people out, or as in the case of Forest Lake Park, it could just have been abandoned by its owners, whoever they were.

Forest Lake Shopping Center is on the corner of Trenholm Road and Forest Drive, directly across Forest from Threnholm Plaza and has had its ups and downs. Originally, the center was anchored by Campbell's Drug Store which was directly on the corner. Down from Campbell's on the storefronts facing Forest were my longtime barbershop, a hardware store and a lot of shops I've completely forgotten. The hardware closed fairly early on (probably by 1970) and at some point a 7-11 moved into that row.

I don't remember much about the storefronts facing away from Forest except that there was a cloth shop at one time, and later some sort of clothing store where I was fitted for a suit once. Across the parking lot from Campbell's, was a small branch bank, denomination forgotten, where my mother often used the drive-through. Behind the bank was a creek, with a footbridge over it leading off into the adjoining neighboorhood.

The Campbell's block of stores was separated from another block by an access cut-through, and this other block was generally more important to us, as the main part of it (now Coplons) was a Colonial grocery store, my mother's favored place to buy groceries. I don't know exactly why this was, as even then, Columbia didn't lack for grocery stores, and there was an A&P right across the road in Trenholm Plaza. The thing I remember is that she was convinced that "Farm Charm" medium-sharp chedder was the only cheese worth buying (she convinced me as well) and "Farm Charm" was available only at Colonial or Big Star groceries. (There was a Big Star abuting the K-Mart on Fort Jackson Blvd). The block of stores with Colonial also held Forest Lake TV, where we had our sets repaired several times, and Sakura Japanese restaurant, which is still there, and must be the oldest Japanese restaurant in Columbia.

Colonial folded (I think) in the late 60s (leaving us to go over to Big Star for cheese..). I don't recall how long it was before Coplon's moved in, but I'm pretty sure it was there before they knocked down the whole Campbell's side of the shopping center (dispossessing my barbers) and put in the new First Citizens and Talbots there. The branch bank had closed by then, and its space is now taken over by a gallery/frame-shop with the outbuildings being sucessfully run by an enterprising garden store.

What does this have to do with the park? Well, my impression always was that the park was run by Colonial as a place for kids to go play while their mothers' shopped. (Yes, in those days, as long as it wasn't across a major road, you could send the kids out of sight to play!). When Colonial went under, the park stopped being maintained. Every now and then, there might be a minor repair, which I imagine the (mostly hard-luck by now) shops being dunned for, but in general there was nothing. The last major thing to happen was the carting off of the swingset, which had been swing-less for years.

Today, there are 3 fixtures. Here are two, the bench and the monkey bars:

Here's a closer look at the monkey bars:

I have a particularly vivid memory of these. Once, when my mother was shopping at Colonial, and my sister & I were playing in the park, I had one of those ideas that seems good at the time and decided that I could probably hang by my knees off of the bars across the top. As it turned out, I could. What I couldn't do, being little more athletic then than now, was get down again. After several increasingly anxious minutes of contemplating a drop onto the ground or the other bars, I sent my sister into Colonial to get my mother, who (the situation probably having been conveyed to her in a garbled manner to sound more alarming than it was) abandoned her cart and came racing around the corner. In the event, I had just figured out how to get down anyway...

Gills Creek forms the backdrop for the park, and I'm a bit surprised that no restaurant on either side of the creek has ever had a creek deck. It's rather peaceful and pleasant:

Here's Gills Creek on the other side of the bridge from the park:

Eightmile Branch forms the back boundry of Forest Lake Shopping Center and here's where it runs into Gills Creek:

Here is the park's third fixture, a merry-go-round:

Of course there is a drawback to having a park (or shopping center for that matter) bordered by creeks: Creeks rise.

Sometime back in the 90s, we had a 100 year flood in Forest Acres. At that point, a lot of Gamewell Drive was under water with parts of Sylvan Drive innundated as well. Given its position at the confluence of Eightmile Branch & Gills Creek, a good bit of Forest Lake Shopping Center was under water (most of the Garden Center area) as was all of the park. One of the local stations, I believe it was WLTX, had a crew in the parking lot shooting footage of the flood. I had to tell them they were looking at a park (I think I got on TV, but I can't recall for sure). At that point, the merry-go-round was completely invisible under at least six inches of water. For some reason, I was walking around in my flip-flops, having parked my car a good ways off. I considered wading out to the merry-go-round to ride a turn around on it to give them a good visual, but decided I wasn't going to risk my feet on who knows what washed up detritus without something more substantial shielding them. I know I took some flood pictures myself, if I ever find them again, I'll get them digitized and post a few.

Anyway, if you want to sit on a bench, climb the monkey-bars, or take a spin on the merry-go-round Forest Lake Park is still there for now..

UPDATE 15 May 2010 -- Here's a pointless quicktime video of the merry-go-round in motion from 26 Aug 2009

And here's Forest Lake Park in the snow from 13 Feb 2010:

UPDATE 10 Feb 2011 -- In April 2010, someone cut down a honking big pine tree, and put the segments around the merry-go-round:

UPDATE 4 April 2013: Tragedy!

I'm guessing that with the continuing renovations at the old Dobbs House/Forest Lake Spirits/Carolina Paws building, somebody noticed the park and the merry-go-round and decided it was a huge liability issue. At any rate, both remaining park fixtures, the merry-go-round and an old park bench have been torn out and the park is now just an empty lot except for the ring of buried bricks around where the merry-go-round used to be:





















Here's two shots from my first and only TV interview at the park on 1 March 2011:



UPDATE 25 June 2017 -- Changed the merry-go-round video to a youtube embed rather than a hosted .mov file.

Written by ted on March 28th, 2008

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