Monday, June 30, 2014

Jin's Asian Cafe / Lippman Music

Despite looking bad, this is about the extent of it.

This building, built in 1963, has seen a lot, including the after-effects of a fire in June 2014, which despite looking worse for the wear, was only quite limited to what to you see here, with Lippman's opening the next day and Jin's the following week.

The Jin's side (110 Nagle) was originally (by the early 1970s, so presumably as opening in 1963) one of the many UtoteM convenience stores in town though by 1980 had disconnected to become the Universal Grocery & Snack Bar, even by the 1990s becoming "Universal Restaurant", though by 1998 it was back to "Universal Grocery" before finally closing and becoming Jin's (at a date I have yet to discover). I didn't take a picture of this, because it's fairly common elsewhere (see Yelp, for instance)

Lippman's side (112 Nagle) opened as Lippman Music in 1994 (guitars and such, not albums) after moving from Culpepper Plaza (where it opened in the 1980s) but according to Brian Lippman served as a bus station in the distant past (the double doors that don't open was a freight entrance). Prior to 1994 it was the original location of Notes-N-Quotes before it moved to the old Exxon.

Other than that, I have nothing. Comments would be appreciated. We (I) would also like some feedback on the following old 2011 posts which have been updated:

- University Square / Legacy Point - mostly updating and refining, but a new ad for a long-gone store
- Campus Theater - new updates regarding sale
- Wolfe Nursery - new info on go-kart track
- East 29th and Texas - new post name and update

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Park Place Plaza

The most activity here in a long time.

2501 Texas Avenue South

This post originally appeared as part as the Texas Avenue page (yes, I tried to cram a lot of things, including a second index, into Texas Avenue--imagine that) and when I was going through as of May 2017 I found this still somewhat error prone. I'll fix this all at some point similar to the Parkway Square post. This is going to be a work in progress since the suite numbers aren't as well publicized as Parkway Square was. The center was built at some point in the 1980s (about 1986) catty-corner to Parkway Square, and was basically its equal at one time.

While Parkway Square had its Kroger, Park Place Plaza had its Winn-Dixie Marketplace. While Parkway Square had McDonald's, Park Place had Kentucky Fried Chicken. Check back to this post when I keep adding new things quietly, because when I started re-writing this in 2017, I don't ALL the information to make this a good post. I don't even have a good tenant list. Imagine that!

The center is divided into four sections. Section A is the side that faces toward Southwest Parkway. Section B is the former grocery store anchor. C begins east of the former grocery store anchor and toward the back. D is the section of the stores in a separate building not attached to the grocery store anchor that face toward the parking lot (direction towards campus).

B101 - This was originally a 45,500 square foot space housing a Winn-Dixie Marketplace. WDM was the company's attempt to build bigger, more modern stores for the 1980s, but unfortunately, the company had expanded too far and built too few Marketplace (or larger) stores, contributing to the chain's Texas pull-out in 2002 and bankruptcy in 2005 (and their future demise?). The College Station store closed before that, sometime around 1997 or 1998. After the Winn-Dixie closed, it was filled with Victoria, Texas-based Lack's Furniture. There's a glowing review by notorious Yelp reviewer Greg D. but the sentiment on TexAgs was that it wasn't missed at all, and it's been proven that Greg makes fake reviews just to get the coveted "First to Review" badge. It closed in late 2010 along with the rest of the locations. The sign hung around (literally) for a little while longer but in 2014 the space was finally filled with two new tenants. The left side, keeping the address, became College Depot (which moved from Parkway Square) and the right side became Planet Fitness. As of May 2017, College Depot is going out of business. As Lacks Furniture did not really help the shopping center even during the best of times, the filling of the anchor space did revive the strip center somewhat. Here's a picture of the co-branded former anchor from May 2014.

C108 - Most recently this was Gun Corps, a consignment store that specialized in guns. It closed after year end 2016 but there was a catch: their inventory was still locked up, and those guns were all collateral for loans and the bank seized everything during the bankruptcy and as of this writing, customers' guns (at the store for repair or installation) are still tied up in legal limbo. Previously it was a short-lived restaurant called Aloha BBQ Hut.

Over on the west side, the biggest thing there was a Little Caesar's Pizza, which held fond memories for me through all of its renovations and continued to be the "go-to" pizza spot for my family until the Rock Prairie Road location opened. Originally, the pizza place had blonde, 80s looking, wood paneling on the walls, this was removed in a 2000s renovation and replaced with black and white tiles. There was also a gumball machine, and for many years had a promotion where if you got a black (grape) gumball, you'd get a free small pizza. I know I won at least once. It was great fun, but probably a bit of a money-loser and it was eventually discontinued (another discontinued item--I last saw the Baby Pan!Pan! around 2005, and even then, the packaging was dated). Prices went up and down for the Hot N Ready, sometimes $5, sometimes $6. Next door to that was a martial arts studio that closed in the early 2000s, became a sketchy video/DVD store for a few years, and then became a martial arts studio again.



Lupa's Coffee can be seen, this filled the old Big Johnson Deli/Quizno's. I read that this used to be a Schlotzsky's Deli back in the 1990s before they moved to near Wal-Mart.
Prospector's Grill & Saloon with its new custom facade.
A Planet Fitness and College Depot now fill the former Lacks/Winn-Dixie.

The Kentucky Fried Chicken in the parking lot moved in the mid-1980s as well from Dominik Drive and renovated in the mid-2000s (exterior and interior). Other than all that, there's not much more to say about the moribund shopping center besides some forgettable shops and services.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Marion Pugh Drive

I am well aware of Marion Pugh being a real person, but the story of how Marion Pugh Drive started to become a real road started not so much with the first tenant on the stretch (Marion Pugh Lumber Co. at 101 Jersey Street West, which dated to the 1940s) but rather Tree House Apartments at 205 Jersey Street West. This would turn part of an abandoned railroad right of way (International & Great Northern, from the 1960s) into a paved alleyway with parking for the apartments. These apartments were one of the first apartments (and remain so) catering to off-campus "non-regs", which started in the 1960s.

Treehouse is the ONLY thing that hasn't changed much since this time (Courtesy Henry Mayo)

Marion Pugh Lumber Co. would eventually give way to J. Arnold Construction Co., as Marion Pugh (a former football player and class of '41) would pass away in 1976 at the age of 57. J. Arnold actually had a small railroad crossing just to the south of Jersey, which you can still see today (venture a bit south of the McDonald's and around that area)

Just to the south of that was 102 Luther, Brazos Valley Concrete, and although the concrete plant and the construction company were right next to each other, neither of them had rail access of any sort nor was Marion Pugh even connected between them: only the unpaved right of way (undoubtedly driven on) connected Luther to Marion Pugh.

At 101 Luther Street West was Schaffhauser Distributing Co. (dealing primarily in liquor). Apparently, 102 Luther was once home to the National Guard building, as Fugate's comment is replicated here (seen here).


1 comment:
Grover Fugate said...
Yes Luther extended over the railroad. That road led to the dump. Right across the railroad was a beer distributor on the left. On the right was a National Guard building.
Right past the NG bldg was a place that made charcoal for a while. Maybe two hundred yards back was a pond that we played around as kids. You can get in touch with me via Anne Boykin. I would rather answer your questions via phone or a personal meeting. Ed Hrdlicka was my Grandfater. I lived in his house with my Mom and Dad. The house was right in front of the railroad crossing.
June 19, 2011 3:46 PM


In the early 1980s, the area was officially named Marion Pugh Drive but only extended to about Luther Street West, with Treehouse adopting the new address of 200 Marion Pugh. Treehouse II (400 Marion Pugh, but originally also 205 Jersey Street West into the 1980s) would build soon after next to it, with Treehouse Village (800 Marion Pugh) soon behind, building in 1985. This put a lot of cars crossing at Luther Street West's railroad crossing, which was steep and unsignaled and was even worse after Wellborn Road (until very recently at this time, "Old College Road") was widened in the early 1980s.

At first, this doesn't seem like a big deal--after all, the 1985 map shows how Holleman can be used instead of Luther Street West, until you remember that most of those connections didn't exist in 1985. Marion Pugh didn't extend to Holleman for nearly another two decades, and never did extend to FM 2818 (unless, of course, they used the old ROW as a dirt road like they did for what is now I&GN Road, but I don't have any proof of that).

So the crossing remained with signals but no road for several months until it was finally built in early 1986, and Luther would keep their crossing open until it too was closed off (at which time, I presume, traffic was finally restored between Luther and Marion Pugh).

Sometime during the 1980s, J. Arnold would shut down, but something else would take its place: Amtrak! Amtrak came into town with the Texas Eagle in 1988 and a new station. This train connected Dallas to Houston with only two stations between: College Station (restoring a train stop) and Corsicana. Unfortunately, the train only ran until 1995, when the line was cut. The mural in the train station was moved to A&M Consolidated High School, which unfortunately, I don't have a picture of.


Amtrak didn't last too long. (from an old calendar)


After the demise of Amtrak, the concrete plant (now abandoned) had a few buildings leftover: "Traditions Night Club" wanted to open in 1997, but the city reacted to the word "nightclub" even though by the prospective owners' words it was to be less "bar" and more "normal restaurant that serves beer and wine". It didn't even have a dance hall. Probably for the better as the location was still bad (only way in was George Bush Drive or way out from 2818 via Luther). The restaurant was doomed anyway by harsh criticism from area residents, including the Marion Pugh's widow Helen Pugh. Among the arguments was that "noise, trash, and traffic would be too close to College Station's historical district", never mind that places like the dumpy Piknik Pantry and Varsity II apartments were far closer, and furthermore, around that same time, a McDonald's would build at George Bush Drive (Jersey Drive's new name) and Marion Pugh.

I initially thought this McDonald's near Marion Pugh was a rather strange and ugly specimen. In a misguided effort to fit in with campus, the McDonald's (which was built in the mid-1990s, I'd say) featured a maroon-on-white mansard roof instead of a stock yellow-on-red mansard roof. It would've looked great if the colors were flipped, but they weren't, so McDonald's truly looked like the Aggies on an away team game. Around 2003 it renovated to what it is today. In summer 2011 it suffered a bout of bad publicity when a man ate a meal there and stabbed a little girl on the way out (her father was an employee). The restaurant was also robbed that same day, and said employee later sued because these weren't the only major incidents that happened during that time frame. Yikes. It seems to be doing better now, though. I wish I had a picture of that original McDonald's, though.

At around the same time all this was happening, a "five-story women's dorm" was proposed, this would turn out to be the co-ed upscale "Callaway House", which featured its own parking garage and was the first "upscale" student apartment complex. A few years later, Callaway Villas would build and destroy Luther Street West (or what remained of it) in the process and also extending Marion Pugh to Holleman. The road now featured Treehouse Apartments (in the late 1990s briefly named College Park - Treehouse), Stadium View Apartments (formerly Tree House II), Meadows Point (formerly Treehouse Village and the pre-2005 limits of Marion Pugh), Callaway House, and others. Finally, in 2011, U-Club Townhomes were built, which opened by 2012.

Marion Pugh Drive had been expected to extend all the way to Dowling, which is why another old I-GN segment between FM 2818 (Harvey Mitchell Pkwy.) and Dowling Road was named Marion Pugh Drive for a few years, before it was renamed Jones-Butler Road in 2005 to match the new 2004 Jones-Butler Road, and was ultimately closed after the Jones-Butler segment became Holleman.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

North of University Drive and South of Bryan

Is this intersection even recognizable anymore?


I decided to separate this from the main Texas Avenue article (as parts of that are looking hairy itself, mostly in dealing with massive walls of text) partially because the area has been changed so much. I was having a bit of trouble in formatting this post, as the area has changed over the past 30-40 years significantly (with the lots being redrawn, even). This is not filler, this is some pretty cool stuff featuring some ads from the past, and a lot of other information. Enjoy.

This page is also intended to complement this page.

EXISTING STRUCTURES, WEST SIDE

Northpoint Crossing we will not cover, even though it's the biggest thing University and Texas has going for it. I know, just bear with me here.

• Hampton Inn was built in the mid to late 1980s. It retains its original exterior, is at 320 Texas Avenue, four stories, decent reviews. It's nothing too memorable, and photos are relatively commonplace.

Official picture from the owner. Notice the Applebee's in the background.


• Home2 Suites by Hilton is the newest thing along Texas Avenue. It's part of the current "hotel boom" and isn't open yet. I don't have photos either. It takes up some old apartments and also the old car wash (see next section).

• Applebee's was built in 1994 according to Brazos CAD. It's at 200 Texas Avenue.

• Knights Inn (104 Texas Avenue) isn't a great hotel today--it had a bit of charm with its uncommon-for-this-town evergreen trees (pine, looks like), but the reviews indicate that it's a dark, dank, nasty place that's rarely cleaned (or cleaned poorly), and in a bad neighborhood. This isn't an entirely unfounded accusation for that last one, because of its proximity to the scruffy apartments behind it, it put up a row of chain link fence blocking access from Meadowland Street (thankfully, aforementioned scruffy "Meadowlands Apartments" seem to be mostly cleared out--mostly). In the early 2000s (up to 2005, it seems), it was Kiva Inn and before that, a Comfort Inn (note that the name had been there before they built the Comfort Suites further down University), and before that, the Texian Inn. Texian Inn opened in 1984 (again, according to Brazos CAD).

DEFUNCT STRUCTURES, WEST SIDE

• Like Northpoint Crossing, a notable "missing building" is the building later known as the Plaza Hotel, which once was a Ramada Inn and later, student dorms entirely for a time. You can read more about the hotel here from this post two years ago. [EDIT 6-18-14: And not to forget the Chevron station either. That was originally a Gulf station, at the northwest corner of Texas and University. Read that here]

• Where the Hampton Inn is now was once the Sands Motel (and the same property plat, as I found out later). I have a good picture of the Sands, and that picture showed it was a "Best Western", back when it was a designation, not a brand. The Sands was razed in the early 1980s. Since the Hampton now occupies the pad, it may have had the same address, but it was 324 Texas Avenue.

• I used to be not sure what this thing north of the Hampton/Sands is. It was definitely there in 1982. In looking at directories, it said this was 300 Texas Avenue, Travel Kleen Car Wash. "But Pseudo3D...or whatever your name is...wasn't Travel Kleen over near Harvey Road, where they built that new strip center?" Yes it was. But my 1982 directory shows that Travel Kleen not there in 1982, and looking at the layout of the building, "self-serve car wash" is the only thing that makes sense in context. Mystery solved!

• Joe Faulks Auto Parts was the thing just north of that. It was open in 1980 (but not '83), and had the address of 208 Texas Avenue. Other than that, I have no info there. It may have also had 206 Texas Avenue.

• Western Motel was there at 204 Texas Avenue. This was another forgettable motel of which there are no decent photos or good ads. It was built in the early 1960s and demolished in the early 1990s. Unknown to when it shut down.

• Where the Texian Inn (now Knights Inn) operates was once a mini-golf course (and good, from what I heard, including the near-ubiquitous windmill). This was the Turf Green Miniature Golf Course (120 Texas Avenue). Turf Green (built in the early 1960s) that sadly I don't have a lot of information on (write in the comments?) but west of that (behind it) was an even more obscure "Western theme park" behind it, Jubilee Junction, opened by Marion Pugh himself. This opened in 1967 but it closed just about one year later in 1968, briefly home to a campaign rally for Texas governor hopeful Paul Eggers in 1970 and a few other events. Jubilee Junction had some 21 structures and featured a variety of displays (including live birds and animals), places to buy food & drink (such as soft drinks at a salvaged saloon bar) and some authentic pieces scattered around the village (Keeny TX's old post office). You could get a souvenir artisan horseshoe from the blacksmith, ride in a covered wagon around the village, or watch a mock gunfight, staged twice a day.

While it certainly sounded unique and interesting, it does sound like the model was flawed, and not enough a big enough trade area to keep it going year after year. That's not an uncommon fate among these types of things, and bigger failures have happened since (like AutoWorld in Michigan). Anyway, Jubilee Junction ultimately turned out to be a bust. By the end of the 1970s, it was completely gone.

Picture courtesy John Ellisor. Used with permission.


• I'm not forgetting the "Snowflake Donuts" building either. That you can read here. It also needs some tenants it's missing.

EXISTING STRUCTURES, EAST SIDE

• At the northeast center of this intersection (University and Texas), is an Exxon, which was built in 1993. This is at 425 Texas Avenue. There is nothing remarkable about it.

413 Texas Avenue is an insurance office. It's also a small, somewhat ugly building, but take a close look at it. Some of you may be old enough to remember it as a Pizza Inn in the late 1960s (Brazos CAD says it was built in 1966) to sometime in the mid-1980s. The building still looks remarkably similar to the ad below. Pizza Inn itself has shrank in recent years, but you can still find it in a few corners of the world not too far away from here (a modern Rattler's gas station en route to Temple has a new location, and one is near Northwest Mall in Houston).

1970s phone book.


411 Texas Avenue was Tokyo Steak House in 1980. The building was built in 1966, but I can't find anything for what it was in the beginning, and the results for Tokyo Steak House indicate that in the mid-1970s (1976, looks like) it started over in Townshire and later came here. It was a bank in the late 1980s, records indicate, though nothing's listed under the Banks in the 1989 yellow pages for this address. Interestingly, it was a bank before becoming a restaurant (1978 directory has "The Last National Bank" here at this address) [EDIT 10/21/15: I think that was actually a supposed to be a joke, and it was really a restaurant.]

1984 phone book


• You can get your fried food fix at the Sonic at 401 Texas Avenue, which was built around late 2004 or early 2005 and replaced an old Sonic at University Drive East (redeveloped in 2007 and now a Brake Check). This was a vacant lot prior to that (at least to 1995), but it wasn't always vacant...

301 Texas Avenue is a Super 8 Motel.

4613 Texas Avenue is a Fairfield Inn & Suites.


DEMOLISHED STRUCTURES, EAST SIDE
• The Shell at the corner of Texas and FM 60 was a Shell up until the early 1990s. You can see a shot of the smaller Shell (logo) sign here (annotated version by AggiePhil) but there was a larger one, too (see the Texas Avenue page). This gem comes from TexAgs, and I have yet to find a picture for this, because that would be hilarious. I have also yet to find an address for this one.

In the late '80s or early '90s, that Shell station had a giant S H E L L sign. One night the S burned out. Someone took a picture of the intersection and the "H E L L" sign and sent it to the Daily Texan, who ran it with the headline, "Welcome to College Station."


• The current home of Sonic at 401 Texas Avenue was "Darby's Foreign Car Parts" in 1978 and 1980 (these two years are not indicative of when it was built, but it was open in this era). I'm not sure when this was demolished, but it was the late 1980s or early 1980s. It also did business as "Enginooity Import Parts & Repair". Not sure which is the "official" one (but Enginooity still operates in Bryan even to this day, apparently) [EDIT 6-21-14: Additionally, 401 Texas Avenue was ALSO the site of Cut Rate Liquor No. 5 concurrently]

301 Texas Avenue at the corner of Cooner and Texas was originally A-1 Auto Parts and then later became Aggie Solar Guard by the late 1980s, which ultimately became Ag Solar Guard in the 1990s as use of the word "Aggie" was cracked down on. It was then demolished, but not before ASG moved north.

315 Texas Avenue was Senter-Piece Flowers in the early 1980s just south of Tom's. This was also demolished for Super 8 eventually.

209 Texas Avenue: Tastee-Freez was here into the early 1970s. Tastee-Freez was at about 1,800 in the 1950s and 1960s but imploded as they couldn't control franchises. There's less than 50 today, so T-F's departure from Bryan should be expected. I can't find what happened to T-F's space later, but it was demolished eventually. The 1980s phone books list nothing for the address (1980 and 1983). I'm not exactly sure where it was.

4613 Texas Avenue was Tom's Barbecue (not "Steakhouse") yet, before it moved to Bryan. This moved in the late 1980s.

4611 Texas Avenue was A&W Drive-In, this also has no information for 1980 and 1983, which implies a restaurant was no longer here. I believe this was the one closer to the Bryan city limits. A&W did make a brief re-appearance in south (well, at the time) College Station when it opened in the Exxon at Rock Prairie, but that's a story for another day.

Wow, it had an eat-in area? That's better than Sonic ever had.


OTHER MYSTERIES
"Gary's Exxon" was supposedly at 408 Texas Avenue, but I can't find a place for it.

This information here was compiled with old directories and phone books, so please don't go ripping this wholeheartedly. Please write in the comments...

Friday, June 6, 2014

301 College Main

Imagine an old white stucco type building here.


Here it is...Rebel Draft House as it appeared in the mid-1990s (I have a color version but it's substantially more blurry). Anyway, as it appears here it was Second Chance Resale operated by the Salvation Army. Before that it was White Auto Parts, which closed sometime in the 1980s.

Of course, it doesn't look like that now. In the late 1990s, the city invested money in Northgate and tore down (I'm saying "torn down" as the footprint is slightly different to be considered "extensively renovated" unless someone can say differently) the old building and erected "Northgate Center", with one of its earlier tenants being New York Sub (not sure on the spelling, nor if it was the same as the New York Subs in Southwest Crossing, though the time frame suggests that they were the same) in suite A. Well, that lasted a few years before it gave way to bars entirely (one bar actually).

I took this shot, which I pictured here in May 2014 looking east (from the other side of the building). While RBD has the distinction of serving me my first beer on Northgate (and that was only because I was on the right side of campus when that bomb threat happened in fall 2012), I don't care for it as it, like all the other bars, crank the music up so loud it's hard to hear anything (the bars probably had their best afternoon ever).

In 2011, this was Luckie's Ice House (and before that, "The Drink", apparently). Between the time as Luckie's and RBD, RBD didn't do much more than just throw the Luckie's sign away. I'm sure I'm missing other tenants, though.

Anyway, as for what it looks now from (roughly) the same angle, I took this picture in June 2014. Big change, huh? The Chase bank sign is just an ATM.


Updated October 2015 with fixed errors and links.