Recent Comments

Recent Posts




Archive for the ‘government’ tag

Shulte-United Building, 1620 Main Street: 1996   4 comments

Posted at 12:30 am in Uncategorized

Here's another Main Street landmark, The Shulte-United Building (which also comprises 1624 Main Street). Look at all the gold and filigree along the roofline!

I don't actually know what Shulte-United was or sold, and while I can find out on the web that the place is on Historic Columbia Landmark list, nothing besides that bare fact is mentioned.

Normally, googling a street address will bring up a good bit of useful information about a place's retail history, but the most recent cites I'm getting for this place are that it was the 1996 headquarters for the Cliton/Gore campaign (that web site is still up!)) and the South Carolina Democratic Coordinated Campaign HQ during the same time period. The interior seems to have seen work since then, but if there was another occupant, I'm missing it.

Given the nature of the architecture it's perhaps not surprising that the realty agency whose placard is in the display window seems to specialize in Art Deco properties in Miami.

Written by ted on February 10th, 2010

Tagged with ,

USPS Self Service Center, The Shoppes At Woodhill, January 2010   15 comments

Posted at 12:14 am in Uncategorized

I see that the inside signage dubs this a Self Service Center, but we always called them Automated Post Offices, and there were only two in Columbia that I know of.

The first was in the old Richland Mall parking lot on the Beltline side. I remember it as being fairly high up in the parking lot (which sloped downhill from Beltline to the mall proper) and in-between Russell Stover and the old theater.

It was something of a big deal when it opened though I'm not entirely sure why. My main memory of it is that after I started driving, my sister and I were in the parking lot near the APO when across the lot another young guy very theatrically decided to become a maniac behind the wheel and play "chicken" with us. He was being a goof-ball with no intention to play "for real" and all three of us were cracking up.

This APO dates, I believe, back to the original Woodhill Mall and thus opened a number of years after the one at Richland Mall (Woodhill Mall being built much later).

When I was taking pictures for my Woodhill post, I decided that I had better get a number of the APO since it was looking rather threadbare, and since it had the kind of stamp machines that they have been phasing out of Post Offices for several years now.

That was back in April. I am pretty sure that I ate at Panera at least once in December and would have noticed if the APO was gone then. I certainly did notice the absence when I ate lunch there today, and got the second set of pictures of the empty site. I also noticed that across the parking lot the self-storage facility behind Jimmy Johns was flying a Post Office banner, so I guess some sort of facility or Contract Post Office over there has replaced this one.

Bonus question: What are the lights across the top of the stamp machine trying to spell out?

Written by ted on January 29th, 2010

Tagged with ,

Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative (MCEC) / Richland County Refuse Control (Richland County Utilities) / M & L Construction / Pametto Wood Designs, 3506 Fernandina Road: 2008 etc   1 comment

Posted at 1:27 am in Uncategorized

OK, I'm not entirely sure about this one. It appears to have been built as a bank perhaps, given the drive-through. I'm fairly confident that it was the Richland County Refuse Control office, which may have been inside an overall Richland County Utilities office. This Richland County document says:

The Utilities Department’s Administration and Engineering Divisions are currently located at 3506 Fernandina Road in Columbia. This building, which is located in Lexington County, has been leased by the Utilities Department since 1999. The existing office building has approximately 3700 square feet of office space and has been outgrown by the Department. Currently there are several offices with double occupancy and even employees within hallways.

A search for additional office space found an existing office building at 7525 Broad River Road for sale. This building is the former office of the Southland Log Home Mortgage Company. The building was originally designed and constructed to house an engineering firm. The land area is approximately one acre and includes a 6300 square foot single-user 1.5 story office building that was built in 1985. Thirty-six parking spaces exist with an entrance off the Broad River Road adjacent to the Ballentine Exit on I-26. The building is located in Richland County and is within the Broad River Sewer System service area.

As far as I can tell from google, the move did take place, and the office is now currently on Broad River Road.

The parts about google showing the place also having been home to M&L Construction and Palmetto Wood Designs seem suspect since the place was county from 1999 to 2008/2009, which leaves no open timeslot for those two businesses. It doesn't help matters that Loopnet shows a completely different building for 3506 Fernandina Road.

UPDATE 12 October 2009: Added MCEC to the post title based on the comments.

Written by ted on October 11th, 2009

Tagged with ,

Richland County Library, Sumter & Washington Streets: 14 February 1993   17 comments

Posted at 10:50 pm in Uncategorized

When I was small, the book-mobile would pull up in our driveway every week, and all the neighboorhood kids would come to our house to check out books. After the book-mobile stopped making the rounds, we would usually go to the Cooper Branch Library on Trenholm Road, which was on the way to and from my mother's usual grocery and shopping runs.

Now the number of books in the Cooper Branch was quite impressive to me as a kid, but it really wasn't all that big a place, and the stock didn't turn over that rapidly. Though I enjoyed reading the same books over and over (I'm sure I read Alfred Morgan's The Boy's First Book of Radio and Electronics upwards of 50 times, with the same going for Robert Heinlein's Space Cadet and Alan Nourse's Raider's From The Rings), it was always a thrill to go downtown to find books I'd never seen before.

As you can see from the pictures above, the building that was the downtown main library is gone now, and a church is using the lot. (You can see the original building here). The way I recall it, parking was very much at a premium at the Sumter & Washington site, and a visit would usually involve a metered space. There were two public entrances to the building. If you entered the main entrance, you would be facing the main check-out desk. To your right, would be an area devoted to periodicals taking up the whole side of the first floor. To your left and behind you would be a seperate "reference room" filled with books which did not circulate. Straight to your left would be first the card catalog hive and then the stairs to the upper floors. To your left and in front of you would be the non-fiction area (though though this wasn't absolutely strict as Dewey Decimal code 808.3 did include Science Fiction anthologies).

If you came in through the second public door, you would encounter a flight of stairs which would take you directly to the children's section which was either on the second or third floors. The fact that there was unsecured street access to the children's section seems a bit odd from a 2008 perspective, but those were different times.

Again, I get a bit confused between the second and third floors, but one of them was entirely devoted to fiction. Sometime in the 1970s, the library decided on a very important (to me) innovation: they would organize the fiction section by genres. This meant that romance, mystery and westerns were all broken out into separate sections, which I did not care about and it meant science-fiction was broken out into a separate section which I did care about, a lot. Remember that these were pre-Internet days. I was the only one I knew who read science-fiction. There was no e-mail list for science-fiction. There were no web-forums for science-fiction. As far as I know, there wasn't even a science-fiction book club in town. I knew some names: Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Alan Nourse and that was it. Whereas before it wasn't practical to check every book in the fiction section on the chance that it might be SF, now I could check every book on the SF shelves: Nirvana!

When I became interested in rock music in the mid 70s, the library was also the place where I could check out (and tape to casette..) rock & pop LPs, and peruse music magazines like Billboard and Rolling Stone that I would never be able to afford myself.

Sitting in the periodical section happily turning pages, I did start to notice some of the pathologies beginning to affect the downtown library though. I think I first noticed that several guys sitting in the magazine section seemed to have fallen asleep. I didn't make the right connections at first -- my father fell asleep reading all the time, and there had certainly been classes and study sessions where I was very close myself. When I noticed the rank smell, I finally realized that these were homeless people, something I hadn't encountered before. It's a difficult problem to address at all, and the library was ill-suited to do anything. It was a public space after all. I certainly don't know what the answer was, but I do know it hurt the library. I recall friends who were reluctant to go down there, and parents reluctant to take their kids.

None of that affected the need to find someplace for all the books it took to seve a growing population and a growing library system however, and after a process that considered several alternatives, we finally ended up with the new site at 1431 Assembly Street. My memory is that the old library sat vacant for several years, then I sort of lost track of it. The first I knew that it was slated for demolition was when I drove by and there was no trace of it left.

I like the new library (and they seem to have a handle on the homless issue), but the thrill is gone. Now that I have a job, if I really want a book, I can just buy it, and with Amazon and Google, I'm never surprised by what is on the shelves (heck, I get email alerts months before a new book by a favorite author is due!). Still, there's probably some 13 year old making his first trip downtown every day and there's still 8 copies of Space Cadet on the shelves..

Written by ted on September 19th, 2008

Tagged with , ,


Recently Updated Posts