Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Exxon on Boonville

The Exxon at the corner of FM 1179 and Boonville, which I have only recently seen, as shown here in a picture I took this February. It has been open since at least the mid-1990s and has had several restaurants in it (a bit unusual for something not off of a major thoroughfare), since it has a kitchen and an eat-in area. "Fratello's Pizza Company" is the only one I've found at this address (3200 Boonville Rd) but they also have their location as at the old Daylight Donuts space a bit west of here.

In late 2007, it became the home of Stover Boys, a hamburger-and-fries outlet that kind of had a "rural outlet, specials written on a chalkboard" feel to it that opened to much local acclaim. It was where Bryan-College Station was acquainted with Charles Stover and his restaurants.

Stover's restaurant was an instant success, and people would come out to this little gas station and fill up every available parking space. When it turned out that people would pass it by rather than fight for parking, it was clear that Stover's had outgrown itself and Stover Boys moved into an old restaurant pad in Westgate Shopping Center, clear on the other side of town. This was in 2008, and although it opened around early 2009, the Stover Boys signage still hangs at this Exxon, which also suggests how rarely new restaurants come in.

If you've paid attention to our Facebook page, I updated a number of other articles, which are listed there.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Post Oak Mall Part 3 - The 1980s and 1990s

Unless you're new, I have already written "new" posts for the department stores of Post Oak Mall and the Food Court. Now, it's time to focus on the mall's in-line stores themselves, without the messy "Superpost" released a few years back.

Unfortunately, if I tried to cover Post Oak Mall's in-line stores in fell swoop, there'd be chaos. I'd never get it done.

Post Oak Mall opened in 1982 on the corner of Harvey Road and Texas 6 ("the East Loop") and was largely the catalyst for development on that side of town. It included a small extension of Holleman from the frontage road (still two ways at this point) to just beyond the highway (taking over a small road called Sutton Place, we'll get to that later). It had four department stores at opening, with three more coming soon by the end of the year (the seventh anchor pad was never developed, though I can take stabs at what it could've been). Post Oak Mall was actually pretty small: it was under the general "regional mall standard" of 1,000,000 square feet of retail at only around 800,000 square feet, and the "department stores" were really small. Even the largest store, Foley's, was only around 103,000 square feet, far less than the Foley's branches in Houston, which were well over twice the size. And yet it was huge: at the time, Southwood Valley was at more or less the far south part of town, and the "East Loop" was only about nine years old. There was nothing like it in town: Manor East Mall was much smaller and much less ornate, and in an area rich with the oil boom while the rest of the country was in recessionary effects, it was definitely right for its size.

While one of the first promotional materials claimed the mall was "99% Leased", several didn't open until a few years after the mall did.

I am not going to make a "final" version of this post anytime soon, but I'll do my best to describe in the details to which I have. The original mall in the 1980s was not as large as today ("large" being a relative term), it stopped at Wilson's. Manor East Mall was still going pretty strong at that point, having gained the first mall-entranced Wal-Mart store (and first in the county), and it would still do well up to the point where JCPenney left in 1985. The mall also had different tile, which was uncovered in summer 2012 in renovations. There were also large fountains. To see some more photos of photos of the past, including the old 1980s-style skylights that they replaced about 5-6 years ago, check out my Flickr account.

1994 was the year (or somewhere around those lines) when the mall was updated, gaining a new logo, new tile, and neon trim (which were all removed in the 2012 renovations). This list covers the in-line stores from 1982 to 1999 (in theory) using just three directories (a fourth early-1990s map wasn't used but may be covered at a later date). I do intend on updating the list with stores I missed with ads when needed.

The stores tend to move around as you'll notice!

1. Card America - By 1984, this space was not shown on a mall directory, even though it says it was leased. That implies it had an incredible short life, or was not open yet at this time. Was it ever open? By the 1990s directory this was Summit Stationers.

2-3. Oriental Treasures and Rainbow Store - Little is known about these two stores, besides the fact that they probably sold what the name implied. The 1990s directory has this as Command Performance and Spencer Gifts, respectively.

4. D'Guiche Bed & Bath Shop in the 1980s. Lady Foot Locker was here in the 1990s.

5. Accessories by Taz - Besides the fact I think of the Looney Tunes character, this became a jewelry store, Christie's, by the 1990s.

6-13. We're not going to cover these, we already kind of did.

14 is the mall offices/restrooms/etc. This hasn't changed.

15-27. More food court stuff, see link.

16. Sugar Daddy's, a candy store. By the 1990s this was "Beeper Boutique" (I honestly have no idea what this entailed, 1990s beepers? Maybe)

17. The Wagon Wheel, in the food court. See the article regarding the food court (6-13). It was vacant by the 1990s.

18. Merle Norman - Cosmetics shop. I think this one is actually still open in this shop!

19. David Alan's Men's Shoes was here. By the 1990s, this would be "Pretzel Time", a pretzel shop.

20. Sweeney's - Jewelry store. This later became Babbage's (and eventually GameStop, but that's for another list). In better days, Babbage's was a computer store (bought Kid Pix Deluxe here in '96) and less focused on games.

21 & 22 - More food-related establishments, check that article.

23. Cutlery World - No memories or any information on this, but I assume it sold kitchen knives. This became Afterthoughts by the 1990s, which was owned by Woolworth at one time.

24. Wicks 'N Sticks - A candle store. This would survive into the 2000s.

25. Lewis Shoe Gallery - another shoe store. This was absorbed into Wicks N Sticks by the 1990s.

26. Carlyle Jewelers. Gordon's by the 1990s (another jewelry store)

27. Swensen's in the food court. Not covered today.

28. Time Out Family Amusement Center - This video arcade was in the mall for many years. At one point they were owned by Sega and even circa 1989, opened a massive "Time Out by the Court" center in Cincinnati's Forest Fair Mall.

29-31. More food court stands covered elsewhere, though I couldn't actually find 31 on the map.

32. Wild Pair - Shoes. This was a big mall chain in that era. By the 1990s, this was J. Riggings, another big 1990s chain (men's clothing) that fell by the wayside. You can see a picture of the storefront (partially) here at the now-defunct Mall of the Mainland. Beware: the outbound link is still written by me but it's very very old and contains writing that I now find embarrassing.

33. Jeans West - Pants. This was ALSO a big mall chain in that era. This space was absorbed into #32 by the 1990s.

34. Brooks Fashions in 1982. Casual Corner by the 1990s.

35. Lewis Shoe Gallery in 1982. This seems to be vacant in the 1990s.

36. Butler Shoes in 1982. This was a store called "5-7-9" in the 1990s (or 5•7•9)

37. Thom McAn - In 1982, this was a shoe store. Thom McAn was another big chain store in the 1960s and 1970s, and I'm not entirely sure what happened to them. I think they were bought by someone later, as I saw the brand at Sears last time I went. Camelot Music would later be here by the 1990s.

38. Open Country - This was listed under shoes, so I'm guessing something like hiking boots? Payless ShoeSource occupied it later in a reconfigured space in this area.

39. Corrigan's - 1982. Jewelry store. By the 1990s, this became the location of Zales.

40 & 41. These aren't on the map either. The reason for these "missing stores" is likely because the mall was numbered before the configuration of tenants in the mall. Interestingly, 41 (but not 40) was carved out of the old space of 39. This was Adventure Travel in 1990s, a travel agency.

42. This was originally Rox-Z, a nightclub (it's unknown if it opened to the inside or not). A later (by the 1990s) tenant, EyeMasters (which didn't use all the space). I don't know when EyeMasters opened. It was before 2000, as this website mentions, as it was open when Service Merchandise was still there. EyeMasters (now Visionworks) DOES have an interior entrance which suggests Rox-Z did too. Rox-Z was replaced in the late 1980s by something else later, which I swear came across in a phone book that I owned, but I can't remember.

43. This was a vacant, outside-facing exit that was never leased, apparently (ever). Later directories, such as my one from 2004, don't even bother numbering it. In a 1984 directory virtually unchanged from the 1982 preview one, the whole thing (A/B/C) is marked as 43 and that's mentioned as Armed Forces Recruiting.

44. This is where the Army/U.S. Air Force/Marines recruiting offices are now (but not the Navy, that's inside). Interestingly, my late 1990s directory has these spaces marked as A, B, and C, and Casa Olé in space 44 (see below).

45. Casa Olé - CO opened the exact same day as the College Station Weingarten did. One of these remains dead and all but forgotten while the other one still remains alive. Guess which one? That's right, and Casa Olé still remains in the mall, despite middling reviews and a parade of new Mexican restaurants that opened in the years since November 1983. Better Mexican places had fallen since and Casa Olé remains open. It's strangely a bit comforting to have that link to the past, but still...better Mexican food out there. The later 1990s directory doesn't even list 45 at all.

46. Pet Emporium - What the 1983 directory lists. By the 1990s this would be absorbed into 48.

47. This number doesn't seem to be listed. By the 1990s this would be absorbed.

48. Peck & Peck - This was originally a private-label women's clothing shop from New York's Fifth Avenue, but by the time it reached Post Oak Mall, it was being driven into the ground by a new owner (and from what I saw, prices weren't particularly pricey). It looks like P&P's incompetent owners shut down this store in the mid-1980s. This later became Coach House Cards & Gifts (moved from a different location within the mall) along with the former 46. However, the 1993 directory still has Peck & Peck, which means it was probably one of the last ones around (cross referencing with a 2/93 phone book proves this true)

49. Great American Cookie Co., I don't think this has EVER changed. In malls in the 1980s, you could get broken pieces of cookies for fairly cheap, but I don't think they do that anymore and haven't for a long time.

50. General Nutrition Center - This hasn't a whole lot changed either.

51. This was the original home of Scripture Haven and later became home to Bath & Body Works.

52. Original home to Camelot Music and FootAction by the mid-to-late 1990s.

54. (There isn't a 53, either). In 1982/1983, this was "Worth's" by my 1990s directory it later became "Vanity".

55. The original home to J. Riggings, my 1990s directory doesn't have a store listed.

56. Scripture Haven - Scripture Haven is ALSO still there. That's three in a row. SH is a Christian bookstore, which means there's Bibles, Bible-related stuff, and a lot of related junk: candles, Precious Moments figurines, the works. When it opened, it was "Kid's Kasuals".

57. Radio Shack - This has been here since day one (and also still is)

58. Originally "Courts Western Wear" (related to Courts Saddlery?), this later became "Catalena Hatters Texas Store" (another Bryan reference).

60. There isn't a 59 and my 1990s directory doesn't list this one. 1983 directory says Team Electronics.

61. Original location of Coach House Cards & Gifts. 1990s directory lists nothing.

62. Hit or Miss - In the 1990s directory, this was empty, but when it started, this was Hit or Miss, an off-price shop. At some prior to 1989, this had been closed, a result of parent company Zayre Corporation reorganizing into the modern-day TJX Companies. This was a predecessor to TJMaxx in many ways, and possible that it was even closed when TJMaxx opened.

63-67. The Limited took up several spaces in the 1990s (before it closed and was absorbed into the even larger Steve & Barry's space in 2005) but this was smaller shops in the 1980s. Petite Shoppe was in 63 proper, 64 isn't on there, 65 is Athlete's Foot, 66 is T-Shirts Plus, which I think moved from Manor East. 67 was Zales.

68. Royal Optical. This remained throughout the 1980s into the 1990s.

69. Gallenkamp Shoes in the early 1980s. This was unoccupied in my undated 1990s directory.

70. Jo-Ann Fabrics/Singer in the early 1980s. The 1990s map has this vacant.

72. Originally 72 (no 71) was a large store that held Town & Country Furniture. By the 1990s this was Oshman's Sporting Goods, which may have filled in even by the late 1980s. Oshman's was a big sporting goods store found in malls and strip centers all over the Southern U.S. area, but disappeared over 10 years ago when what remained was converted by their parent Sports Authority. Even the old distribution center and headquarters in Houston was demolished for a Walmart a few years back. To get a good idea of what a typical mall Oshman's looked like, watch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure in which Genghis Kahn trashes one.

76. The Home Front - Much like Bed Bath & Beyond, this offered soft goods and other furnishings (silverware and others). Here's an ad from 1984. You'll notice that I skipped 73-75, because they simply aren't shown. In the 1990s, this was the home of Brazos Valley Troupe.

78. Waterbed Gallery in the 1980s directories. The 1990s directory has this as a vacancy.

80. (No 79), in the early 1980s this was Command Performance, a salon that would jump around several places until finally closing a few years back.

81. Wasn't leased in the original map, and the 1984 map doesn't have a space for it either.

82. Keyboard Center in the 1980s (I'm thinking keyboards as in the musical instrument, not what you probably have in front of you)

83. Motherhood Maternity.

84. Upstage Shoes. I can't find a lot on this store, it was a chain in the 1980s.

85. Walden Books (original location). The store spaces 80-85 eventually combined into the "new" 85, which would be Lerner New York by the latter part of the 1990s.

87. The original "Lerners" was here in the 1980s. This became Lane Bryant by the 1990s.

89. (No 88 either, I can get the feeling they grotesquely upped their perceived store count this way but they probably even had MORE small stores planned)

90. Kinney was here in the 1990s, which almost certainly dates the map to pre-1998 since the division was shuttered that year. Kinney was a charter tenant too.

91. Chess King was here in a much smaller space before it became a large Gap store in the 1990s (ultimately in the early 2010s it would move out and turned back into smaller stores again, and by that time, Gap had become less relevant). Chess King was one of the big men's '80s clothing stores before the 1990s hit and Chess King fell into "checkmate", so to speak.

92. Foxmoor - women's clothing chain found in most malls in the 1980s and early 1990s. This was absorbed into the Gap later.

93 & 94. Gateway Cards and Gordon Jewelers, respectively. By the 1990s the spaces would be absorbed into the Gap, the Gap that swallows all store spaces!

95. The 1980s had this as Quick as a Flash. The 1990s had this as Little Havana Cigar Company.

96. No 96.

97. This was Cinema 3 prior to 1998 (Plitt originally, then Carmike). The Wikipedia article for Post Oak Mall (which I will NOT list) says 1999 but I'm not sure because for years the article was aggressively squatted by a Wikipedia user (the type that seem to literally never sleep). Any confirmations as to when it closed would be appreciated (for years it said 2000, the date may finally be right this time).

98. Jubilation - I don't think this restaurant, whatever it was, actually opened, as nearly my 1983 or 1984 directory list it under restaurants. Despite that, a "Clip and Keep" mall directory from 1984 still listed it. Either way, it later became Chelsea Street Pub & Grill. The 1983 phone book lists "Stadium Restaurant & Bar", so this -may- be it. However, Jubilation WAS open, however briefly, in late 1984 it was open and it was open 24 hours (suggesting that it wasn't fine dining). If that was true, where was Stadium? Were they one and the same? This seems the most likely, as sometimes in phone books, they list what the business name instead of what it operates as (like "Dolar Video" instead of Adult Video). Reconfiguration later this led to be Chelsea Street Pub & Grill, which left the market for a number of years and used to be located in the Fajita Rita's building (which as you know burned down a few years back)

99. The original space 99 was listed as MPACT, which based on my other phone book views seems to be some sort of charge card.

100. Casual Corner in 1982 and American Eagle Outfitters in the 1990s.

101. Absorbed into 102 by the 1990s. Bookland in 1982.

102. Walgreens - The first Walgreens in College Station-Bryan, though the merchandise line-up was slightly different (more drug store, less pharmacy). It departed in the early 1990s (my 11/89 phonebook lists it) and it wouldn't be seen in the area for a decade. When it did return to the trade area, it was in a different format (box type stores with drive through pharmacies). By the 1990s, the space had shifted around slightly, covering a slightly different space. It became a large Express store.

103. Exterior facing store. This was Navy recruiters in the 1990s but "Stay & Play" in the early days.

104. "Fashion Conspiracy" in 1982. No listing in the 1990s directory.

105. Foot Locker in the 1990s and 1982.

107. (No 106) Record Bar (early 1980s), Keta's Hallmark (1990s).

108. Kay-Bee Toys (Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby in the early days). It was already gone by the mid-2000s, long before the chain closed for good.

110. (No 109) Baker's Shoes, and later Gadzooks.

111. By the 1990s directory this was Journeys, but in the 1980s it was classic cheese and meat store Hickory Farms. HF only operates seasonal kiosks these days but they used to do full stores. Most "mall memory" sites involve kids stuffing their faces with the samples here (were you one?)

112. Parklane Hosiery in 1982 (early mall chain) and later The Coffee Beanery Limited.

113. Trevor's (home décor) by the late 1990s, originally the large KG Men's Store.

116. This was originally a clothing store called "Pat Magee's" and by the 1990s (as early as 1993) "Nancy's Unique Boutique".

118. Marvin John's Big & Tall (117) and Shoe Designs (118) were here, they later became the new 118, LensCrafters (still here today).

120. (No 119) Modern Woman (1990s), Women's World (original)

121. Mission Jewelers was here in the 1990s. In the early 1980s it was "Mission Jewelry".

122. Although to the right of 123 (out of order), this was Eddie Bauer in the 1990s. The space where Eddie Bauer was had been a part of Woolworth (see 125). A rare case where a number is in the 1990s one but not the 1980s one.

123. Champs Sporting Goods was here in the 1980s. Interestingly, it later left for a number of years. By the 1990s it was Victoria's Secret, though much smaller than it is today.

125. Woolworth occupied a huge space here for over 10 years. It later went out of business in the early 1990s (still there in '93 and the only one left in town at that point). No 124.

126. Tinder Box (smoke shop?) was here in '82. By the 1990s this was Flowerama, a florist shop.

127. Deck the Walls, a home décor store (this appears both times). This later moved to across the hall (roughly) but kept their number. This was all later of course...

128. Regis Hairstylist in both directories.

129. Aggie Unlimited in the 1980s and Claire's Boutique in the 1990s.

130. Herold's in the 1980s (strange spelling, I know) and The Shoe Dept. in the 1990s.

135. Video Concepts (aka VideoConcepts) in the 1980s, a Radio Shack spin-off (actually not a RS concept when it was leased, but it was acquired in '85). 131, 132, 133, and 134 don't exist.

136. Texas State Optical in the 1980s. By the 1990s this had reconfigured and was a different size and shape. This became Inspirations by the 1990s.

137. Playland Toys (1980s), Sam Goody (1990s)

From this point on, this is going to be the 1990s map only since the Penney's wing didn't exist until 1985. Sometime I hope to get the originals, but until then...

138. Ritz Camera One Hour Photo

139. Waldenbooks. To note, the store between 138 and 139 isn't even numbered, as 138 and that store space were supposed to be lopped out for an entrance to a 7th department store that never came to be. Waldenbooks I'm not sure when it opened but it was noted for having a "Waldenkids" store within a store which seemed to not amount to more than that name on the overhang. Since Waldenbooks survived into the 2000s, we won't cover it today.

140. Keyboards of Texas. (probably "music keyboards" again). This isn't in the 1993 listing nor does it appear in directories from a few years later.

141. The Curiosity Shop. This is listed under both "Books, Cards, and Gifts" AND Women's Apparel.

142. Seems to be vacant.

143. Post Oak Pets. This opened fairly early on (probably one of the first in the JCPenney wing) but closed...2002? I remember the facade had painted clouds on it.

144. Another vacancy. This later became a candy/convenience store but that comes just a bit later.

145. [Sure seems to be a lot of vacancies in the '98 directory over near the JCPenney end...]

146. The final location of Aggie Unlimited.

147. Le Nails.

148. First National Bank of Bryan. Although this survived into the late 2000s, I always felt it was kind of neat to have a bank inside of the mall. Well, they sold out to Franklin Bank Corporation in 2007, which went under in 2008 with all the remaining parts going to Prosperity Bank and somewhere in the scuffle FNB of Bryan shut down.

149. Luby's was here in the late 1990s, but it closed. It may have become something else immediately afterward but remained sealed off (décor mostly intact!) up until it was finally gutted. This begs the's a large space and didn't seem to absorb anything else, because originally (at least in 1989 but not long enough for the 1992 directory) Wyatt's Cafeteria.

151. (150 vacant) The Pro's Choice (shoes)

152. MasterCuts

153. Lam's Silk Garden

154. Botanica

Odds & Ends:
- The 1993 city directory (no map) lists a number of other stores in and around the mall including a mix of the 1985 and 1998 stores but also a few other items. There's "Sharkey's Big & Tall" (Marvin John's, or a different store?), a dollar store (Everything's A Dollar), "Truly Texas" (a Texas shop but not the one that was near JCPenney for a while), Miller's Outpost (a chain), Brazos Valley Crime Prevention Info Center, "Kay's Cabaret" (former Rox-Z?), Golden Chain Gang, "Brooks Fashions" (probably not Brooks Bros., name found in cross-referencing with phone book), BOTH J. Riggings and the Wild Pair, which means one of them had a different location at one time or the directory put both, "Desert Moon Trading Co.", "Bull Pen Sports Cards", "Fashion Fotos", "Jay Jacobs Stores of Fashion" (full name found in cross-referencing), Barry Jewelers, Score (sports-related items), Naturalizer, Fox Photo (was this inside or in a kiosk outside?), McDuff Electronics (another RS spin-off). Likewise with the whole J. Riggings/Wild Pair mix-up, it's also important to note that both Kay's Cabaret AND EyeMasters co-existed which means one of them was in a different place. Naturalizer and The Cobbie Shop were also listed. Military Depot, of all things was here too in the early 1990s before moving to Eastgate. "Espresso Plus" was probably a kiosk.

- The 1993 city directory does list store numbers in the style that the directories switched to in the late 1990s, from which we can glean some neat facts:
5018 was Kay-Bee Toys, which is right where the store should be. 8000 was Payless ShoeSource, meaning it was where The Shoe Dept. later was, and 5000 1st National Bank originally had no exterior exit (space 100).

- The permanent kiosks are as follows, but the numbering was different. In the 1990s directory as shown, K-1 was Jewel Time but in the 1980s was K-5 Tender Sender (wiring money?). Outside of #87 was K-2 (1980s is K-1) but is Gold Post (under Accessories, not Jewelry) both times. K-6 in the '80s but K-3 in the '90s was Just Video and Things Remembered, respectively. K-2 in the 1980s and K-4 in the 1990s was Piercing Pagoda both times. K-5 (1990s only) was the customer service booth. K-7/K-3 (1990s number on the left, '80s on the right until noted) was Sunglass Hut/Sunglass Corner. K-9 (1990s only) was Tropik Sun Fruit & Nuts. K-11/K-4 was D'or International/MPACT while K-12 (1990s only) was Gold 'N Silver.

- I have ANOTHER directory (well, a picture of one anyway) but I have no idea what year it's from. It has Wyatt's, which WAS in the 1993 phone book (but not the 1993 directory), and it's obviously after the JCPenney wing opened. It also has Service Merchandise instead of Wilson's, which isn't that helpful since the JCPenney wing/Wilson's rebrand happened at about the same time.

Anyway. The 1990s directory I was referring to HAD Luby's on it, which given it was not there in 1993 but closed around 1998, so that should give a clue to when it was published.

And that's where you come in...if you could, please write down in the comments anything I missed between 1982 and 1999 (that does not include food court or department stores). I did put in a lot of time trying to write this post.

Other things to note:
- As you might have guessed, packing things into the Texas Avenue article is by and large a failure, so some of those are being split into new posts and such, such as the post the other day.

- Because of the long time in making this post, I may be updating it instead of adding ANOTHER whole post (yikes) which I would update periodically. The reason for this is overlap. On the third hand I may end up making up a whole outsourced page to bring it together. Well, we'll see how many comments this gets and we'll run from there. I may be adding more ads to this anyway.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fuego and Other Buildings South of University Drive

Fuego after a recent repaint. Picture taken by me in July 2014.

This post concerns a few businesses that are featured from the current On the Border to University Drive.

Just past the former Saber Inn is a few restaurants and other businesses.

The next side street is Live Oak, which has a number of other restaurants and services. Behind Taco Cabana was La Barronena Ranch Steakhouse in the 1990s (at 103 Live Oak, no ad, so I don't know if it had a tilde over the n or not), then became College Station Seafood, which closed in January 2011, then became Oceans Bar & Grill, and finally a Vietnamese restaurant called Vy's Kitchen Asian Cuisine in July 2012. This restaurant was the same ownership (and menu) of Vietnamese Taste.

At 607 Texas Avenue, La Quinta Inn and a restaurant share a space. Opening sometime in the early 1980s, the original restaurant was called Julie's Place, and apparently not the only one around since it was Julie's Place No. 139. There's some Houston restaurants that I suspect were JPs at some point. Boasting a menu of hamburgers and onion soup, Julie's Place closed in January 1987 after a murder (there was a story on MyBCS, though I'm sure I had heard it elsewhere about how the manager actually swallowed the key to the safe and the stabbings were to retrieve the key, but I'm not sure on that since that's just a comment on the forum and the official court summary makes no mention of the key-swallowing incident). By 1989, it had reopened as Bombay Bicycle Club (not the 1990s, phone book lists BBC in that era). Around 1996 it became a Denny's.

The La Quinta Inn was previously home to a "super slide" of some sort, but we can't find much information on that.

Next to Denny's was Adult Video at 603 Texas Avenue. Adult Video was a small brick building that faced Texas Avenue on a lot that (apparently) once held three very small houses. Legally operating as "Dolar Video Inc." (as that what's it was officially) and operating out of Irving, apparently, Adult Video had its name in large, red block letters shining out to the Texas Avenue side (the building was where Fuego's dirt parking lot is now). It was a huge NIMBY for years from its opening in the early 1980s, and in 1994, a clerk was shot in the head in a robbery. According to the company profile listed above, it eventually shuttered due to tax reasons (this is backed up by other sources) but I seem to remember that in the final days, the "ADULT" part was removed, with only "VIDEO" showing, possibly (though I can't say for sure) an attempt to go legitimate. It shuttered in 2004. Around 2009, the now-vacant building was finally removed, and along with another house razed around the same time, a restaurant initially filing under the name "Al Carbon Street Taco Grill" appeared. An article that describes the extremely janky operations can be found here, though the date is wrong, it was originally published two years earlier. When ACSTG finally opened later that year in 2010, now Fuego Tortilla Grill, it quickly zoomed to be extremely popular. Despite a poor location and bad parking, Fuego Tortilla Grill became wildly successful, even in light of new competitors on the horizon and a salmonella outbreak in 2014.

Between University and Fuego is Poplar Street (the road Fuego is on) and a U-Haul that served as a Diamond Shamrock from 1989 to around 1998 when it closed due to the road construction (widening) at 601 Texas Avenue.

I am aware of the changes here from the 1960s (more gas stations and different businesses), but the recent past is also interesting. More accurately, I don't any information on those buildings.

Go here for more information on the other side of University Drive! And leave a comment, too.

For even MORE great stuff, we've got new stuff like the Piggly Wiggly next to Kmart and Fish Richards Bakery. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Heep Center

Historic picture looking west. Until 2011, this is very similar to what it was. Then they made Olsen go through there. (Mapping Historic Aggieland)

More photos, mine, in glorious color. Taken 2/2014.
Facing east. This is my best picture
Approaching east.
The skywalks within.
Looking west from inside.
Hi there!

Besides its impressive five-story atrium, this building is also one of my favorites because it's incredibly solidly built. The walls are a foot or so of reinforced concrete, and the whole thing (sans skylights of course) would likely survive a nuclear strike. Heep Center was built in 1977 according to Historic Aggieland.

EDIT 2019: The two halves are named for Herman Heep and Minnie Belle Heep, but they were built at the same time (although it would've been interesting if they were built as two separate buildings and then adjoined later). Here's another link for it...