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Cayce School / Lexington District Two Learning Center, Lexington Avenue Cayce: 1990s(?)   24 comments

Posted at 1:54 am in closing

I don't really know anything about Cayce School. I'm guessing that given the name, it was the school in Cayce at one time. The (Guignard?) brick architecture could easily go back to the 1940s I suppose. The pictures don't really make it clear, but as this aerial view from google maps shows, the school is really just one building with several different wings:


View Larger Map

Of course it's a building that takes up a block of its own, being bounded by 3rd Avenue, Lexington Avenue (on which it fronts), Poplar Street and 8th Street.

At some point it appears that it stopped being a "school" as such and was taken over by Lexington District Two as a "Learning Center". (I have to say that the picture with the sign indicating such would make a good funny email to forward around Mississippi education circles..).

The building has obviously been out of use for a good while, and I think only the fact that it is in the middle of a residential area has kept it from being vandalized and tagged to a fare-thee-well. Certainly it is decrepit, which can be seen in the google view (which can be zoomed) as well as my pictures. Signs around the school indicate that the lot is to become luxury townhomes in a gated community, so I suppose the building will be demolished at some point, though with the current real-estate market, I doubt the developers will be in a big hurry.

(Hat tip to commenter tonkatoy)

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Written by ted on July 22nd, 2011

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Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center / Radisson Hotel Columbia & Conference Center, 2100 Bush River Road: 2000s/June 2011   12 comments

Posted at 1:58 am in Uncategorized

When the The Sheraton on Bush River opened, it was a big deal, and for many years it was certainly an impressive landmark designating the edge of town as you came in from Georgia on I-20. (Now of course the metro area sprawls out past the Lexington exits). Of course since I actually lived in Columbia, I never found a reason to stay at the hotel, and even to visit the restaurant would have been a long drive from Forest Acres, but I always imagined it as a "swanky" place. Thinking about it as an adult, I'm not sure I really understand the concept. It's been my experience in going to conferences that conference hotels are normally built in a downtown, or at least fairly dense suburban area such that there are restaurants and nightclubs for the attendees to go to in the evenings, especially those who took taxis from the airport and want something within walking distance. That pretty much describes exactly the opposite of this spot.. Columbia as a conference destination is a pretty hard sell anyway, but this isn't exactly The Vista (which granted didn't exist as such in the 70s, but there certainly were spots with nightlife..).

Anyway, The Sheraton operated as such until, I believe, the early 2000s. Certainly it still did in 1996 when they would have bought the ad for the February 1997 phonebook pictured here. After that, the hotel reflagged and was operated as a Radisson as shown in this year's (February 2011) phonebook until June. The new flagging is for DoubleTree by Hilton, a brand that I can't really place on the hotel ladder. I'm guessing they don't have a Dance Factory.

(Hat tip to commenter Tom)

UPDATE 11 July 2011 -- Originally I led with this drawing, which I believed was the Sheraton on Bush River, but it appears instead to be another ex-Sheraton, on Assembly Street. I have edited the text claiming that, and moved the picture down here for those who already saw it and commented on it:

Written by ted on July 11th, 2011

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Downtowner Motor Inn / The Governor's House / Rodeway Inn, 1301 Main Street: 2011   16 comments

Posted at 11:23 pm in Uncategorized

As reported by The State this venerable hotel at the corner of Main & Lady Streets will be converted into a upscale condo called The Palms with 54 "resort-style" units. They will also have a view of what is apparently the only pool on Main Street.

Given that the article talks about the developer struggling to find financing for the project for several years, and the fact that the Rodeway Inn is listed in the Feb 2011 phonebook, I can only guess that the developer owned the property and continued to run it as a hotel until things came together. I admit to being surprised how long it lasted as a mid-to-lower-mid market motel in an area that if it gets anyone (after all who in the general population wants to visit Columbia and stay on Main Street?) would get high-roller business and government connected types.

(Hat tip to commenter Tom)

UPDATE 26 May 2012: Here's a State article on the opening of The Palms.

Written by ted on June 28th, 2011

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Cypress Gardens, Winterhaven Florida: 23 September 2009   5 comments

Posted at 2:21 am in Uncategorized

Written by ted on March 12th, 2011

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Bridge Out!, Forest Lake Place: Mid Feb 2011   4 comments

Posted at 12:24 am in Uncategorized

I noticed today that the bridge over Gill Creek at Eight Mile Branch behind the old Forest Lake Shopping Center (and beside the old Forest Lake Park is closed.

Google maps suggests that the road, at least on the east side of the bridge (in the area behind Zoe's) is known as Forest Lake Place, but doesn't seem to realize that it goes all the way over the creek and out to Trenholm Road. I do have to admit that it's not entirely clear to me either whether the area to the west of the creek is an actual road or just a parking lot. If it's a real road, it's pretty poorly maintained, but if it's a parking lot, why have a bridge in the first place?

At any rate, there is no indication how long the closure is to last and there did not seem to be any actual bridge work going on that I could see at all...

Written by ted on February 18th, 2011

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Magnolia House of Lexington, 220 West Main Street (Lexington): 2008   2 comments

Posted at 1:55 am in Uncategorized

According to their archived web site this house was built in 1893, and it does remind me of the houses in Fernandina from that era that I used to see growing up.

After being vacant for a while, it was an event and catering operation. I was a bit surprised when I found that online -- I had expected that it had probably been a B&B. The last archived version of the web site dates from June of 2008, and given the threadbareness of the paint in several places, I would guess it probably closed not long after that. It's certainly a beautiful property and I'd like to see it survive even if only a a law-office or whatever...

Written by ted on February 3rd, 2011

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Myrtle Square Mall, Kings Highway (Myrtle Beach): 2006   19 comments

Posted at 1:31 am in Uncategorized

First let me note that although no description of Myrtle Square Mall would be complete without the famous clock, I did not take that picture. It appears in the Wikipedia entry for the mall, and has been explicitly released into the public domain.

What can I say about Myrtle Square Mall? For many years, it was the mall on the Grand Strand and the "general" shopping destination on any beach trip. To be sure, there were outlet and specialty malls like Waccamaw Pottery, but MSM was the "it" place.

As kids, of course, The Pavilion was first in our hearts and minds, but over the years we took many trips to the mall as well.

It had a different mix of retail than anything in Columbia, with anchor stores I never saw elsewhere like Peebles as well as standard stores like Sears and Eckerds. For me, the main attraction was the book store just off the clock court. I cannot now recall the name, but it was either completely independant, or part of a small chain that never opened in Columbia, and I found that it had an interesting selection of science fiction books that I didn't see elsewhere. Recall that in those days the only books you knew about were the ones you saw on the shelves -- there was no Amazon where you could search for any book in the world, or that would recommend books to you based on your previous purchases. I can particularly recall finding there a a Virgil Finlay collection I had never heard of, and had no clue existed. Finlay was an old-school SF pulp illustrator who had an amazing black & white line and stipple style that was unsurpassed (in my opinion) until Stephen Fabian came on the scene, and in retrospect I think Finlay's work has aged better than Fabian's. Anyway -- I bought the book :-)

The record store (whose name I have also forgotten) seemed to have slightly different selections than the Columbia stores as well.

Apart from the stores, obviously I have to say something about the clock. It sat above the central court, and was a marvel of conceptual design. The version pictured above is in fact one of the later versions -- the first version had 60 colored balls suspended from the ceiling in a circle with suspened numbers (similar to those pictured) at every five minute mark. The bulk of the balls were one color, with the ones at the five second intervals being another. As ever second passed, another ball would illuminate until all 60 were lit at which point they would all go dark and the next numeral would be illuminated for the current minute. Hmm, or maybe the numerals were for the hours and there were seperate balls for the minutes. At any rate, you could sit there and watch the time pass before your eyes so to speak. It was not a particularly easy clock to read -- it always seemed to take a minute to figure out just what was lit, but it was a fun clock to read.

I remember a number of interesting solo trips to the mall. The first was when I had just started to drive. My mother and I had gone to the beach to winterize the beach house, and having done that, she agreed to let me drive while she walked on the beach. Well, that's an always risky permission to give to a teenager, and I headed straight to the mall, despite it being a 25 mile drive one way. I had no particular goal other than I was, by gosh, going to drive, but I did end up getting some Trixie Belden books for my sister's birthday from Sears of all places. Needless to say my mother was not pleased at being ditched for three hours longer than she had planned to be...

Another trip to Sears years later (and near the end of the store's life) for dryer parts also yielded a trove of retro flashlights of the kind I grew up with, and which I thought were no longer being made -- I still have four or five.

I'm unsure why Burroughs & Chapin decided to deep six the mall. Certainly it was somewhat dated, but that could have been fixed by a remodel. I suppose access was an issue, but it's not like there's an Interstate in Myrtle Beach, -- the replacement mall at Coastal Grand may have slightly better traffic at US-17 bypass and US-501, but it's not a slam dunk.

At any rate, by 2005 most of the stores had made the transition, and in 2006 they started knocking Myrtle Square Mall down. The fact that B&C owned the replacement mall meant that Myrtle Square never went through the "death of the old mall as the new mall draws stores and traffic" phase. It was not in B&C's interest to eake rents out of Myrtle Square while firing up Coastal Grand.

On the other hand, they seem not to have had any Plan B for the Myrtle Square Mall site. Currently the huge tract bounded by 23rd & 27th Avenues North on the north and south sides and Kings Highway and Oak Street on the east and west sides stands vacant (as does the other large B&C tract at the old Pavilion site). It's hard to believe that two such prime tracts in the heart of Myrtle Beach have sat vacant for so long. (Well, not completely vacant -- there's still an Office Depot which must have had a long term lease, and I saw signs of homeless presence in the bushes).

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Oliver's Lodge, 4204 Highway 17 Business Murrells Inlet: Winter 2009   73 comments

Posted at 10:20 pm in Uncategorized

Welcome to visitors from the www.city-data.com forum! If you want to see more grand strand area memories and pictures, click this link. There are posts on The Pavilion, Waccamaw Pottery and a number of other Grand Strand institutions -- Ted

[22 Jan 2010]

[12 Aug 2010]

Oliver's Lodge (pronounced as one word Oliverslodge) is the first seafood restaurant I can recall eating at.

Now, if you've read this blog for a while, you'll know I don't like seafood and never have. Nonetheless, as a kid I was always eager to go whenever we were at the beach. At that time (the late 1960s), they served a lunch menu until 5pm, and that menu had spaghetti, something I would always eat, so my folks usually tried to arrange for us to arrive just before 5 so I could have my spaghetti and the grownups could have "supper". The timing was usually touch-and-go since the place drew tremendous crowds, and getting there before 5 was no guarantee of being seated before 6.

Waiting for anything with kids is always dicey, and if there were cousins as well as my sister and me, things could very easily get out of hand, but the location worked towards letting kids "free range". As you can see from some of the pictures, Oliver's sits on a large lot fronting on Murrells Inlet itself. There were several huge trees (which are still there) and a derelict john-boat or two (now gone) as well as a dock going out into the marsh where the fresh fish were brought in each day during the time when the place was a working lodging house. In addition, the lot next door was a church which was generally vacant on weekday afternoons, so there was plenty of room to race around, and plenty of things to fool with. Best of all, the lodge's big back porch always had a low-country "joggling" board -- a long flexible plank suspended between two rocker-edged saw-horses. You could get a crowd of cousins on that going back and forth and up and down until the grownups would eventually get alarmed and tell us to take it easy.

My memory is that when we first started going, dining was mostly on the back porch which was, at that time, screened, but not air-conditioned. Aside from my spaghetti (or baked-potato or whatever I ended up having ot get if we missed the 5pm deadline), the food was basic Calabash Style fried seafood with piping hot delicious hush-puppies.

The building was always a bit ramshackle. I don't know when it stopped being a boarding house and went to restaurant only operation, but the big upstairs area was largely unused in my memory. When we started going, there was still a customer restroom available upstairs, and I always liked going up there and looking around -- by the 1970s I believe the upstairs was wholly closed to customer access.

Also in the 1970s, the owners tacked up plastic sheeting over the screen porch. And I do mean "plastic" and not plexiglass or anything solid. Whenever anyone would open a door or the air conditioning kicked in, the sheeting up over all the walls would billow in and out.

It seems to me that as the 70s went on, we went to Oliver's less and less. It's not that anyone stopped liking it, but more that other options became available as the coast commercialized. The last time I recall going with a large party of cousins was probably in the late 1970s just as my generation was heading to college. We ate inside rather than on the porch, and my cousin Mike stuck his nose in a big sawfish nose hung on the wall -- a picture that I'm sure will surface eventually. I think we also played name-that-drink charades with the bar menu.

After that, I believe the next time I ate there was the last. I think it was the early 1990s, and I was either alone or with a very small party. We (or I) was on the back porch, and I noticed that the plastic sheeting had been replaced with plexiglass. The menu was also radically different, and it was evident that Oliver's had undergone a change in ownership. The defining moment for me was when they brought out the huspuppies and I found they were served with raspberry butter. That might be good, but it wasn't Oliver's.

After that, and after I started spending a lot more time at the beach I thought of going back a number of times but somehow never got around to it. Last winter I actually made the effort, but it never worked out. I would find that it wasn't open weekdays during the off season, or that it was only open for lunch, or not open Mondays or -- that it was apparently never open.

That last was a conclusion I flirted with, but never quite committed to. After all the website was still up [try this archived version once that link goes dead] , I could see the tables set through the window, and there was no note on the door..

Finally I went back on 12 August this year, and this time it was obvious that the place was closed: There was a big bar across the front doors, Coke had put a sticker claiming the fountains inside and the place was seriously overgrown. All these photos except 2, 3, 4 & 5 come from that visit.

So when did the place actually close for the last time? That's hard to say, but look at photos 2, 3, 4 & 5. These were taken on 22 Jan 2010. In particular, look at the place settings on the back porch table. Although a chair has been moved, it is clear to me that the napkins, plates and silverware in the 22 Jan photos are exactly the same as in the 12 Aug photos. So, sometime before 22 Jan, the bus staff laid out all the place settings -- and never came back.

As I was taking these photos on 12 Aug, two different cars pulled into the lot looking to eat, and both parties took their own pictures and shared stories of eating there as kids as well.

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Written by ted on August 29th, 2010

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The Heart of Columbia Motel ( & Sportsman Restaurant), 1011 Assembly Street: 1994   24 comments

Posted at 11:48 pm in Uncategorized

The Heart of Columbia Motel and Sportsman Restaurant

1011 Assembly AStreet Columbia S.C.

Conveniently located in downtown Columbia opposite the State Capital and near University S.C.

100 Spacious Air-Conditioned & Heated Rooms * Free T.V. * High-Fi Music * 24 Hour Phone * Swimming Pool * Ice * Baby Beds * American Express Honored.

Phone AL 2-3393

I'm not sure when the postcards were made. The second one is probably from the early 1960s given the "AL" exchange prefix on the phone number. I'm sure if I knew cars better, I could peg it closer by looking at them. Certainly it would seem that 24 Hour Phone was a motel novelty at the time..

Whatever the exact year, it would be hard to argue that Heart of Columbia did not then describe the location as well name the motel. It would be harder to say that by 1983 which is when the yellow-pages ad appeared in the USC phonebook, but ironically now that the motel is long gone, the area is once again prime, very much in the Vista neighboorhood.

The way I recall The Heart of Columbia when I was growing up, and by the time I left town in 1985, is as slightly seedy and down at the heels. I specifically remember than when a cousin of mine came to town for a teachers' conference at USC, and booked a room based on proximity, she was a little unsettled by what she found, and that my father told her he wished she had called ahead so he could have warned her that he didn't think a woman should stay there by herself.

According to The State archives, the place closed in 1994, but nonetheless had an interesting history thereafter.

FIrst of all the The Thailand Restaurant moved in, presumably to the old Sportsman location.

Then on 4 May 2004, the place caught fire:

FIRE PUTS FOCUS ON BUILDING'S FUTURE
RICK BRUNDRETT, Staff Writer
2004-05-05

The downtown site of a restaurant and abandoned motel heavily damaged by fire early Tuesday likely will get new life, Mayor Bob Coble said.

"It is probably the most strategic piece of property for redevelopment in Columbia,"Coble said Tuesday. "I can't imagine it will stay an abandoned hotel."

Coble said the former Heart of Columbia Motel's close proximity to the convention center and center hotel, as well...

After that fire, The Thailand Restaurant moved to 6024 Saint Andrews Road.

Then the building was slated for demolition:

MOTEL'S DAYS NUMBERED
JOHN C. DRAKE, Staff Writer
2005-01-25

Eight months after an errant cigarette set the building ablaze, the Heart of Columbia Motel's owners are positioning the building for demolition.

At the same time, they are facing pressure from the city to address long-standing property code violations at the condemned building.

The 40-year-old motel, which has been closed since 1994, is now a boarded-up eyesore just across Assembly Street from the State House. It was declared unsafe and condemned May 5, one day after...

Then the place caught on fire a second time:

ABANDONED DOWNTOWN MOTEL BURNS AGAIN
ADAM BEAM, Staff Writer
2005-10-06,

Assembly Street building was to be torn down Monday; fire inspector suspects arson

Fire officials say arsonists set fire Wednesday afternoon to an abandoned building on Assembly Street- the second time the building has burned and just five days before it was scheduled to be torn down.

A fire investigator said there was nothing in the building to burn, and something helped "accelerate"the fire, most likely some type of liquid fuel.

Deputy Fire Chief...

NO SUSPECTS IN MOTEL ARSON
2005-10-07

Fire officials had no suspects in the arson at the Heart of Columbia motel on Assembly Street, and investigators said they might never know what type of fuel was used to burn it.

Lowell Bernstein, a Columbia lawyer whose family owns the building, said his family had already paid for the demolition and had no insurance on the building except liability.

He said the lot will be a parking lot for at least a few months while his family decides what to do with the property.

Then the place burned a third time:

DOWNTOWN MOTEL BURNS FOR THIRD TIME
ALLYSON BIRD, Staff Writer
2005-10-31,

The condemned Heart of Columbia Motel, which caught fire earlier this month and in May 2004, burned again Sunday morning.

Deputy Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said 25 firefighters responded to the fire at 8:39 a.m. at Assembly and Pendleton streets after receiving a call from the Columbia Police Department.

"We're going to treat it as an arson because there was no apparent reason for it to catch on fire,"Jenkins said. The building no longer has...

Finally it was torn down, slowly:

ASBESTOS ISSUE SLOWS MOTEL DEMOLITION
RICK BRUNDRETT, Staff Writer
2005-11-01

Demolition of the old Heart of Columbia Motel- the site of three fires since last year - has taken longer than expected because of asbestos removal, a spokesman for the property owners said.

Crews began knocking down the building's front facade Monday, a day after the third fire.

Lowell Bernstein, a lawyer whose family owns the building at Assembly and Pendleton streets near the State House, said opening up the building could stop vagrants from taking shelter there -...

As the building was demolished, The State noted a bit of music history I was unaware of:

TEARING OUT OUR ROCK 'N'ROLL HEART
2005-11-10

The demolition of the Heart of Columbia Motel is taking away a piece of the city's rock 'n'roll history.

A photo of the motel's sign is on the CD jacket of Hootie &the Blowfish's breakthrough 1994 album, "Cracked Rear View,"which has sold more than 16 million copies. Other Columbia landmarks such as the State House also are pictured.

The motel stood 40 years on Assembly Street in...

(You can see the album picture here: Cracked Rear View)

After all that, we are left with a parking lot as seen in these pictures:

I'm pretty sure this was the swimming pool seen in the postcards above. I say that based on it being a hole in the ground

and having bits of blue tile mixed in with the debris:

Here is the modern day view towards the Capitol as seen in the post cards:

AND FINALLY, the Heart Of wasn't strictly a Columbia operation. I believe it was part of a loose chain. I know I have seen a number of Heart Ofs over the years, though I can no longer say where. However The Heart of Dillon is still in ongoing operation:

UPDATE 29 July 2010: Commenter Dennis sends the following document indicating that there was an annual General Assembly pool party at HOC into the late 1980s..

"The following was received.
May 26, 1987
The Honorable Samuel R. Foster, Chairman
House Invitations Committee
520 Blatt Office Building
Columbia, S.C. 29201

Dear Mr. Foster:

Gene and Joyce Stoddard cordially invite members of the House and
Senate, clerks and attached to the annual pool party at the Heart of
Columbia Motel, Wednesday, June 3, 6:30 P.M.

I appreciate you conveying this to the membership of the House.

Sincerely,
Eugene C. Stoddard

On motion of Rep. FOSTER, with unanimous consent, the invitation was
taken up for immediate consideration and accepted."

(Source: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess107_1987-1988/hj87/19870528.htm)

Written by ted on July 28th, 2010

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Roper Pond (Lily Pond), 6837 Trenholm Road (at Arcadia Lakes): Summer 2010   14 comments

Posted at 12:58 am in Uncategorized

8 July 2010:

13 May 2010:

Well, it looks like the lily pond on Trenholm Road just up from the Arcadia Lakes town hall is gone.

This pond has been a pleasant sight from Trenholm for years, with its almost total cover of lily pads and an old rustic dock on the far side. In the last year or so, it has also been the source of some controversy. It seems a developer has bought the property and wants to build apartments on it. That will require a catchment basin, so he planned to dredge the existing pond to the necessary depth. Since lily pads need shallow water, that would have put paid to them. When word of the plan got out, he apparently was sued by a number of local residents to stop the dredging.

Personally, I'm of two minds about that. I hate to see the pond go, but I have some sympathy for a guy who thought he had jumped through all the hoops and then gets hit with unexpected legal trouble.

However, the really strange thing is that, at least according to The State, in the actual event, nobody seems to know why the water levels in the pond fell. Now, that report is from 15 May (just after I took my first pictures of the pond), so there may have been a determination since then, but that just strikes me as very odd.

The first day I was there, 13 May 2010, there was a guy in a john boat fooling with the concrete "stopper' for the pond. Given what I had read about the controversy, I just assumed he was there to "pull the plug", but perhaps he was simply trying to figure out what was going on. At any rate, on that day, I could see that the water levels were down from the norm by looking around the edges of the pond, and it just got worse every time I went back after that.

By 27 May, the water levels were low enough that you could walk to the "stopper", and on my final (so far) visit on 8 July, most of the pond was dry (except for a small watercourse leading to the stopper) and almost all of the lily pads were dead. At some point, the dock seems to have been partially torn down as well. The back area (where presumably the spring or stream enters the pond) is still very green, and I saw a heron walking around back there, but the front is totally gone.

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Written by ted on July 10th, 2010

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