Showing posts with label 1980s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1980s. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Café Eccell's Former Domain


Taken by me, on the last day Café Eccell was legally operating on the city's lease, January 14th, 2014


A few years ago, I showed you the former Luby's, which as of this writing isn't updated yet (when it is, I'll do a quick update on this page to remove that disclaimer), which is where Eccell is located today.

For a number of years, though, Café Eccell was located at the corner of Church Avenue and Wellborn, 101 Church Avenue. The building of Café Eccell, as plain and kind of ugly as it was, used to house the city's first city hall and jail back in the 1940s (built 1947). The city hall moved out in 1970 when a new building was built, and I'm not sure of what it was used for later (the police station was also in Northgate during those days, though not that building). The city held onto the lease and in 1989, it reopened as a restaurant, Café Eccell, which featured a classier, "adult" atmosphere and food that the rest of Northgate lacked, and still tends to lack today.

The first incarnation of Café Eccell closed permanently in March 2014 a few months after its lease ran out (why the city never locked them out is unknown). The restaurant opened in 1989, and after changing of hands to the Dallis family completely around 1991, the restaurant continued for many years. The food was also plagued by inconsistency in its latter days as well as the drama involving the Dallis brothers (a.k.a. Eccell Group), the developers, and the community as a whole.

A few months later the building was wrecked for The Domain at Northgate apartment building, which is only four stories, occupies the whole block, and includes retail opportunities, though only one is currently open (4.0 Cuts Barber Salon, opened spring 2016). The building itself was ready in time for the fall 2015 move-in season, and for a time had a leasing office in the former Cycles Etc. on University Drive.

Of course, the Domain was not the first development to try to redevelop CE, it was to house "Gameday Centers College Station" circa 2004, a large multi-story tower (about 7-8 stories). Gameday Centers was largely doomed to begin with: the company was building luxury condos for big-money donors to stay in on game weekends, but the asking price of $500,000 a condo was too much* (it would be a better value to buy a house in the Traditions subdivision, which is what many have done), negotiations with the city broke down, and rather than a first phase done by August 2007 and completion by December 2008*, it was canned. The center would've had 10,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space and had even signed a 10-year lease with Café Eccell as part of the agreement*.

*Unfortunately, since this page was originally published, one of the links I had for this page has gone dead and I have been unable to relocate it, as the Batt link is dead and Archive.org does not have it. Likewise the links for the other links seem to be lost.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Gumby's Pizza, Dominik Drive

This was taken sometime in January of this year, when I did the Whataburger re-post.


107 Dominik Drive was built in 1985 as a College Station branch of Pepe's Mexican Food but became a branch of Gumby's sometime in the 1990s, and I want to say 1998 based on coupons of the time. (The old Gumby's was next to Sweet Eugene's, the parking lot bumpers still mention Gumby's despite moving twenty years prior)

The history behind the Gumby's pizza chain is murky, the website for the chain gives no clue of its founding and I can only guess it was licensed from the decades-old children's TV show many years ago and allowed to fester and grow into its own identity to present a pizza chain more common for the college crowd. Even in the 1980s, there was a pizza known as the "Gumby Dammit". The website also features classic Gumby videos, which are bizarre in their own right, and almost feels like something they'd show on Adult Swim, as it gets even weirder when you're sleep deprived or otherwise under the influence.

It's the pizza chain that's very rare (less than a dozen locations, all near colleges). It's the one where you can get a pizza delivered at 1:15 in the morning (they stop at 2) and sells pizzas like the Stoner Pie, which includes mozzarella sticks, french fries, pepperoni, and sausage. It's also a place that can get away with having a non-lit sign and choosing instead to string Christmas lights around the non-functional signage.

I've eaten at Gumby's a few times and it's, well, it's not very good and if I was in the area (which I was a few years ago) I would probably go to DoubleDave's. The drama around Gumby's got interesting a few years back when they opened up a location in Wellborn called Black Sheep Pizza, which featured a different logo but still the same menu (and presumably the same recipe). The way I understand it is Gumby's was sold among different partners, and Black Sheep Pizza (renamed GranDandy's Pizza & Meals after a trademark dispute) spun off completely, with a clause that Gumby's could buy them back, which they did after GranDandy's became a moderate success, leading the owner to build Howdy's Pizza (still in the works) with the modified recipes and menu.

Unlike Gumby's, this blog is open 24 hours. Care to leave a comment/question?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Dominik Drive Whataburger


The sun sets behind this Whataburger, but don't worry, it's open late!


This Whataburger at 105 Dominik Drive is another restaurant that has been here for decades (though been rebuilt a few times). This is the closest Whataburger to campus and I've heard (and felt) like quality is a bit sub-par compared to the Rock Prairie Whataburger. In 1969, it changed hands from an unknown seller to Grace Dobson, and in 1987, Grace Dobson to Whataburger, so I'm guessing that the Whataburger was built originally in 1970. It changed hands again in 1987 to Whataburger, which probably signaled a sign of a franchisee being converted to the main store, but also probably involved a rebuild of the store, which involved a permit in 1986. Regardless, it was rebuilt again in 1996. This is what Brazos CAD says about the store, and that is correct--I had heard when I was a bit younger of a large fire at the store in the 1990s, and later I found a newspaper that said that it did in fact burn down in January 1996, with a "mobile Whataburger" serviced the area until the Whataburger reopened that spring. The store was No. 78 even in the Dobson days and it still is.

While it is the closest Whataburger to campus, for a brief time it was not as you could get Whataburger in the Sbisa basement, and with the revelation that they had a "mobile Whataburger" even back in the mid-1990s, it makes me wonder how much money a Whataburger food truck could still make on campus today. It was at this location that I realized Whataburger had subtly changed its logo.

Today, it has an all orange logo (formerly, the name was in black and there was often blue trim). Compare this picture (not mine!) to the store today. There's another blank lot nearby used for overflow parking. This used to be a Shell station (it was a Texaco prior to 2003) just about three years later when Texas Avenue started to widen, and demolished a few years later. Since then, nothing has taken its spot, but it provides excess Whataburger parking. It was one of the "Max Food Mart" stores that were in a lot of the Texaco stores at the time. The gas station at 1405 Texas Avenue I believe did not co-exist with the old Zip'N at George Bush and Texas, as the stores I remember converting around January 2003 (Eagle archives show the conversion of the store at Southwest Parkway and Welsh converting, and I think that was one of the first to convert), and by February 2003, the old Zip'N had been completely leveled.

For what it's worth, I've heard that when the Whataburger gets rebuilt again (not sure when that might be, considering the store has not yet reached its lifespan for restaurants like this).

Editor's Note: An older version of this post appeared at this post, which will be disassembled in the future.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Pooh's Park, Tinsley's, and Others Replaced by a Shopping Center

View of the center today


Once again, we come back to one of our blog, this time to roll a few smaller posts into a bigger one. As the picture above shows, the area at Holleman and Texas Avenue is now a large (kind of low end) shopping center. In addition to covering all the changes that went on there (which I have yet to do), I can combine a few older posts into this one. So, first, we have Pooh's Park at 1907 Texas Avenue South.


There's far more to Pooh's Park (no, not related to the "Winnie" one) I can get into today, because it's a popular topic on local nostalgia threads: if you want to learn more, you can head over to Facebook to talk or browse through old photos (and they include newspaper articles!)

I never got to experience Pooh's Park myself, but from what I've seen and read, it was like Chuck E. Cheese, Putt-Putt, and a skating rink (roller, not ice) all wrapped into one. It opened in 1972 and was where the shopping center where Hobby Lobby, Big Lots, and Ross are now. I would like to say that Pooh's Park remained open until it became too valuable to remain (and was getting run-down anyway) and closed in the early 2000s, but no, that's not the case (it is very similar to a certain defunct theme park that closed about a decade ago, though). It closed in by 1989 (at that point, the phone book no longer lists it) and only the sign remained up (with the logo of the yellow dog they had, and not the one pictured above, and the name gone) until around the time they built the shopping center in the early 2000s, and then remained up until a little while afterward.

A 1984 phone book has a different ad that does mention things like a water slide (408 feet) and a different address (at some point, they changed to 105 Holleman, though based on what you can see from Google Earth, and backed up by a picture of Texas Avenue from a local history book I don't have a copy of with me) is that Pooh's Park was accessed through Texas Avenue, not Holleman.

Google Earth 1995, with modern streets overlaid


Some older maps (circa 2001-ish, long after Pooh's Park bit the dust) put a "Pooh's Lane" roughly where the Bahama Buck's is now, but unless that first part of Holleman Drive East was actually called that (after all, there's a few things that do support that, including the odd alignment of Holleman Drive and Holleman Drive East suggests that the East part was first, and then Holleman Drive extended that way later by way of a particularly awkward curve, or the fact that the subdivision nearby (behind the strip center and the other businesses on the east side) is named Pooh's Park Subdivision.

Sharing the address with Pooh's Park (at least the original address) was one "Furniture Liquidation Mart" which closed in October 1985 (The Eagle), and I would guess that this is what Bahama Buck's replaced (it used to be the foundations of another building). It should be noted, though, my 1984 phone book doesn't list it.

Near Pooh's Park was Tinsley's Chicken 'n Rolls.

Chicken done well, chicken well done!

Opening in late 1979, Tinsley's was located on 1905 Texas Avenue but was closed by 1989 after the Tinsley family sold out to Church's, which would eventually close or convert the restaurants (I don't think this restaurant was ever converted). Later, it was Kokopelli's (by 1998), and soon after, the Clay Oven (by 1999), a quick-serve (cheap!) Indian restaurant. This location, unfortunately, was razed for the shopping center, but Clay Oven was already closed by then. I have no actual pictures of what the building looked like in reality, nor do I remember Clay Oven being there at all. Sad, isn't it?

The plane was a real thing, though, David Tinsley used an actual 1930s plane to promote his restaurants, not unlike how Flying Tomato used hot air balloons.

While the "Boss Bird" made a brief appearance in Huntsville (after a long period of total absence), it is now closed (now a Hartz Chicken Buffet). It wasn't particularly to die for (although I think the "dried out chicken" complaints were an over-exaggeration, at least from what I saw in my visit).

There were a few other places on Holleman that later disappeared beyond Jot 59 (see picture), though one of them was a quick-lube auto place (name escapes me).

So anyway, all that was torn down for the shopping center (University Shopping Center, the name of which wasn't promoted), which opened around 2003 (after the H-E-B, I remember), with many of the stores it has today (Hobby Lobby, Shoe Carnival, Ross Dress for Less, Petco). Hobby Lobby moved from their old location at Post Oak Square, with the others being new. There was a branch of Loupot's, CiCi's (which came a few years later, as the old Culpepper Plaza was partially demolished), and a Goody's Family Clothing.

Goody's would close in early 2009 as the chain went under, but it was replaced with a few new stores, Big Lots (returning back to the market, as by that time, their old location at the former Kmart had been closed for several years) and a Twin Liquors (which, despite slightly nicer décor, seemed like a smaller, inferior competitor to Spec's).

Another shopping strip was built around the same time as the rest (but named The Shops at Wolf Pen Plaza) with Starbucks Coffee, a Sprint store (which initially had the older logo), and Champion Firearms (moved from the Kroger shopping center).

Friday, September 25, 2015

108 College Main

Courtesy Project HOLD. Sadly, those funky oversized handlebars don't exist anymore.

Dusting off something from a longer post all in favor of integrating into that new "directory" project discussed previously, the space that is "Foundation Lounge" today (which was "Foundation Room" until maybe 2012 or 2013) was a long series of shops and restaurants that I have yet to fully document.

The earliest record I could find for this building was a store called White Auto Store at this spot in 1972.

In the early 1980s, this was a store called The Drafting Board, an engineer's supply shop (reminder: there were less computers than today), which lasted from 1980 to at least 1984 (formerly "News Office Supply", according to a 1980 phone book).

Later on it was called A&M Steak House by c. 1989 (hamburgers, apparently). After that was shortly another store, Condom Station (at the zenith of Northgate's decline). Condom Station may have actually lasted a few years before closing.

"We've Got You Covered" is what the small text says.

This was Dead Lazlo's Coffee Pub in 1995, which lasted a few years too. A newspaper article I read (I don't have it with me but if it turns up, I'll cite it) mentioned that Dead Lazlo's was owned by Sweet Eugene's House of Java which is still alive today. Given how crowded Sweet Eugene's gets, if they still owned a coffeeshop here on Northgate under any name, it would do spectacularly well.

Copacetic (or Copasetic, I've seen it both ways) Café in 1998, and Foundation Room later (which has even more recently changed to "Foundation Lounge"), but not before briefly becoming a bar called The Groove in the mid to late 2000s, which had live music. The Groove was around as early as 2004 (citing The Eagle archives) and as late as 2007 (Google Street view and a restaurant report card). The Foundation's current ƒ logo used to be a Comic Sans-esque "G". Not counting the name changes of Drafting Board or Foundation Room, that's been 8 tenants over the years, but there's probably more...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Burger King at the End (or the Beginning) of Texas Avenue

The store in question.

This post is just on a Burger King (3129 Texas Avenue S). Before I get into that, let me tell you this. I would be lying to you if I said that nostalgia was not one of the driving forces behind this site. After all, I grew up here, and in these posts, published in the last few years and updated since then (such as this post, which received a rewrite nearly a year after its creation) detail most everything I remembered or should've remembered. I've already told about the shops and restaurants here, many of which I grew up, and in versions past of this site, even included things like my old schools, or Adamson Lagoon, and probably if I had more time and research, the doctors and dentists as well (the old pediatric dentist office is gone, with the old Scott & White building at 1600 University Drive East to come soon after).

This part of Texas Avenue, originally explored in a full post with all the descriptions of the stores nearby, including the pool store and the curiously unnoticed empty spot was really special to me in years past. You see, back in those days, the only reason why we would go this way is to go somewhere cool, like my uncle's house in Baton Rouge or perhaps Houston. Even in the early 2000s, there just wasn't a lot out there. Rock Prairie Road had stuff on it, of course, like the hospital, junior high school (whoops, middle school), or even the nice new Kroger that opened in 2000, but that was just about it. There wasn't even another interchange until Greens Prairie Road, and that just had the water tower and an Exxon/McDonald's combo.

Since the Highway 6 bypass was built in the 1970s, prior to around 2006, there was an intersection here with the southbound one-way traffic from the bypass intersecting with Deacon. To the south was Texas Avenue turning into an entrance for Highway 6 south with the northbound lane going from Highway 6. To the south at Deacon was a two-way frontage road that paralleled Texas Avenue up to Wal-Mart and became the southbound Highway 6 frontage road for the section south of Texas Avenue. Yes, for a time, you could drive straight from Nantucket Drive to the Wal-Mart parking lot and back without making a single turn or getting on the highway.

Around 2006, that all changed, and the set-up was altered. The road that paralleled Texas Avenue was cut off at an apartment complex, and the two lanes from Texas Avenue went to the frontage road south (now all one-way) or the highway. Another thing that did change was the demolition of a small Diamond Shamrock gas station (catty-corner from a new Texaco with a Subway inside).

Opening in 2007 (early 2007, I believe), this Burger King opened to replace the one at Culpepper Plaza, which was torn down and replaced with a Chick-fil-A. I always found it a bit strange that there just wasn't very many Burger Kings in town, as in some places they compete head to head with McDonald's...but it still wasn't too far away, and it was never very crowded. As long as it stays open and I don't get some sort of food poisoning, that's a plus!

Updated in August 2015 with new focus. There used to be other photos and a bit of other info, but sorry, that has gone into "storage"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Nightlife at Doux Chene Apartments

See those stairs leading up to the second level in the main office building? That's the focus today here. (Google Maps Picture)


I originally wrote this in August 2014 and the text below reflects that, as well as an email/addition I got from the owners at the time. In April 2015, however, all this would change when it was sold and was rebranded as "Flats on 12", which so far over a year and a half later (August 2016) looks like the typical game apartments have run in town, change the name, give a repaint, cheap remodel, jack up the rent. This also added a lighted sign on the front of the building and also changed the entrance to the former restaurant/nightclub area (I think it's supposed to be a clubhouse now). This is a bit disappointing because Doux Chene was famously the holdout in these sorts of shenanigans. And now back to our original post...

First off, this is not an apartments review site. Nor is the title supposed to be some sort of snarky joke. Most of the content here is long out of date. If you came via Google looking for information regarding the actual apartments as they stand today, move on. Or not. I could always use visitors here. So, Doux Chene Apartments (I think it's pronounced "doe shane", though I'm not entirely sure, and the translation is "sweet oak") is one of your typical run-down apartment complexes from the 1970s, except it's more than that.

First off, Doux Chene was designed to be trendy, trendy enough that they would actually advertise themselves as "country club apartment living", and trendy enough to be the first true mixed-use building in the City of College Station.

From circa 1974 to late 1970s, it was "Mansard House". Mansard House, despite being the upper level of an apartment complex on the edge of town (sure, why not?) was one of the really nice places in town. Live entertainment, seafood, lobster, lamb, and more were all on the menu.


This was the kind of apartment complex Doux Chene used to be, and apparently wasn't one of a kind...the Chateaux Dijon apartments, known for when George W. Bush lived there in the early 1970s, was also the same theme and layout, but unlike Doux Chene, managed to upkeep itself quite nicely.

By 1980, while Doux Chene was still successful, Mansard House had closed and was replaced with Studio 2818, an actual discotheque.

Source: personal collection


Later night clubs included Dallas: The Night Club...


...and finally, Scandals.


Most of these are sadly relatively undocumented, only whispers across forums and other sources, including stories of ladies' nights with male strippers, with men being let in after the women had several drinks. Perhaps it's better that some of the craziness that went on is better left unsaid (I'm sure there were many regrettable nights).

Doux Chene of course is also a rather unlucky apartment complex, such as a tornado in 2006 striking a building, necessitating its demolition, or the fact that the building caught fire some months later due to improper wiring (it's also worth noting that anytime I read about an apartment complex fire, it used to be that there was a good chance it was Doux Chene).

If there are any restaurants/clubs I missed, or you have any memories of them, please write in the comments.

Since writing this post, we (I) was contacted by a management representative of Doux Chene Apartments, whose name has been redacted for identity purposes.

"While your account of the history of the complex is mostly accurate, I take issue with the assertion that Doux Chene has not 'managed to upkeep itself.' While the property did fall into a state of disrepair in the late 80's to the early 90's, the current management has put a lot of effort (and money) into repairs and renovations and enhancements. While there is no hiding the fact that the property is 40 years old, it is in very good condition for a property of its age.

Doux Chene has indeed encountered more than its share of challenges.

A lightning strike destroyed 4 apartment units, severely damaged a dozen others. No injuries, a quarter of a million dollars in damages.

Severe hail required the replacement of nearly a dozen roofs, another quarter of a million dollars.

The tornado in 2006 actually destroyed two buildings, damaged several roofs, caused water damage in nearly 80 apartments, required replacement of over 160 central air conditioning systems. Total casualty loss, just over $4 million.

And then the small fire that happened shortly thereafter... The fire marshal initially indicated it was electrical, but upon further investigation it was found to be caused by a resident's cigarette butt rolling into a gap at the edge of his balcony.

Through all of this, we have been blessed in multiple ways. Firstly, there have been no injuries as a result of any of these incidences. Also, our insurance company has consistently paid in a timely fashion, and we have been fully made whole. We have also been given the reassurance, that no matter what we face, we will be able to come through it. I won't get all preachy here, but our faith in God has been strengthened through these difficulties.

Some ads were also sent as part of this, including Doux Chene hosting some wild parties (it's hard to imagine even the student-oriented apartments specifically hosting a keg party today)


As wild partying obviously upset the neighbors, a nearby apartment complex offered a shotgun as among the freebies you could get for signing a lease.


- 9/3/14



Monday, August 11, 2014

Newport Condominiums

One of the things mentioned in this old post about the Circle Drive-In on Northgate was the presence of the Newport Condominiums, a now-defunct (to be used for the expansion of St. Mary's, should/when that ever happen). These were built sometime in the 1980s but were torn down partially for their questionable structural integrity. The apartments were built on a modified pier and beam layout where the parking was below the building about half a floor down. I could've sworn I had pictures of what remained, but apparently not, which was aggravating: I wish I had gotten interior photos before Dulie Bell disappeared, but at least I was able to actually get in.

Seems that just about three months before their untimely demolition, the buildings were advertising as "Campus Lodge at Northgate" and still leasing! I got these from Street View over a year ago and was intending to use them for the blog, which I finally am.


402 Nagle

Any more comments on these would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Barbecue, Catering, and Tires at 2319 Texas Avenue

Picture from Yelp Review

Built in 1984 as "Pop's Barbecue" ([Maybe. See comment.]), this building is now a shiny modern tire store.

Around 1997-1998 it became Epicures Catering, which existed in the 1980s but somewhere else (unfortunately, the phone books don't list the address of where it is).

Over time, Epicures lost popularity and fell into disrepair until closing (actually, Epicures didn't close, they just ended up moving). The original green overhang was replaced with a gold one in the mid-2000s after the old one was too tattered. The 2011 conversion to Tiremax cleaned up the building and parking lot quite a bit, but the franchise went bust a year later and it had to change its name to "BCS Tires & Lifts", so the sign didn't look quite as good after that. You could actually see in Google Earth where Tiremax even added a bit to the building. I don't have any pictures of BCS Tires & Lifts (that you can see anytime), but there is a Pop's Barbecue ad which you can see here.

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 question...it'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, 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.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

104-115 College Main

Remember when I redid the Northgate page, and cut out all references to College Main? Well, those days are over, and this has now returned to this page.

I personally despise the way College Main is set up these days: it used to be a normal road, with sidewalks, bike lanes, and two lanes. In summer 2012, while they made the part of College Main going up to Old College a lot prettier and functional (sidewalks, well-lit, bike lanes, etc.), they turned College Main into a pedestrian mall, which doesn't get a lot more foot traffic, and history has shown that turning streets into pedestrian malls often kills them off instead of saving them. Oh well. However, since this College Main has mostly deteriorated into mostly bars, it probably does make more sense, in a way.

104 College Main - Antonio's Pizza by the Slice

Beginning as Court's University Shoe Repair in the 1930s or 1940s (an archival photo that I can't find right now), the current tenant history has this being vacant in 1993, being divided between a Lacey's (jewelry store) and "Perfect Tan III" by 1995 (there's also a photo of these two that I don't have up either). By the late 1990s, this was "Byte Me Computers" (according to a 1997-1998 plan of the Northgate Promenade, which showed nearby buildings). It became Antonio's Pizza by the Slice in the early part of the 2000s, which has decent and reasonably priced pizza. It also offers Coke products, something the university hasn't in a number of years.

105 College Main - The Law Office of Drew Gibson & Associates
In the same building as Northgate Barber Shop, this used to be Software Exchange back in the mid-1990s and Julia's Silver Boutique around 1998. The 1972 directory says this was "Zubik Tailors". In 1989, this was "Custom Creations by Hullabaloo".

106 College Main - Hookah Station
For many years, Hookah Station was the location of Holick's boots. When Holick's moved out in the early 2000s (2002?) to Westgate Center, the painted "Holick's" on the side of the building remained. Unfortunately, Hookah Station trashed the building both in terms of historic qualities and physically.

When it was sitting vacant and clearly falling apart, it somehow still looks better and classier than the pit that's there today. Holick's even had maroon-and-white awnings, a nice touch.


From Flickr, user "treyerice"



107 College Main - Northgate Barber Shop
This barbershop has been here for years (since at least the early 1970s!). In the late 2000s, there was "Northgate Barber Shop Too!" at Holleman and Anderson, but that has since renamed to "Maroon & White Barber Shop"

108 College Main - Foundation Lounge
In the early 1980s, this was a store called The Drafting Board, an engineer's supply shop (reminder: there were less computers than today), and later became a restaurant called A&M Steak House by the late 1980s (hamburgers, apparently). After that was shortly another store, Condom Station (at the zenith of Northgate's decline). I'm not sure how long it lasted, but it wasn't long.

"We've Got You Covered" is what the small text says.

Courtesy Project HOLD. Sadly, those funky oversized handlebars don't exist anymore.

This was Dead Lazlo's Coffee Pub in 1995, which lasted a few years too. A newspaper article I read (I don't have it with me but if it turns up, I'll cite it) mentioned that Dead Lazlo's was owned by Sweet Eugene's House of Java which is still alive today. Given how crowded Sweet Eugene's gets, if they still owned a coffeeshop here on Northgate under any name, it would do spectacularly well.

Copacetic (or Copasetic, I've seen it both ways) Café in 1998, and Foundation Room later (which has even more recently changed to "Foundation Lounge"), but not before briefly becoming a bar called Groove in the mid to late 2000s. The Foundation's current ƒ logo used to be a Comic Sans-esque "G".

It should also be noted that the Drafting Board was formerly "News Office Supply", according to an old phone book. A 1972 directory mentions that this was White Auto Store at this spot.

The row

109 College Main - Sarge's
Sarge's moved here in the early 1980s. It used to be Aggieland Studio, which was a portrait studio like University Studio.

110 College Main - Social Lounge
In 1989 this was a Chinese buffet called Taipei Express, and soon became a large record shop called Marooned, which remained throughout most of the 1990s. After Marooned was closed, by the early 2000s, it was a Quizno's, but that didn't last very long, and became V-Bar circa 2005-2006.

Courtesy Project HOLD

In 2007, the V-Bar was embroiled in an attack that left a Rice Owl basketball player dead and his brother injured in which someone stabbed people during a bar fight. The media was very sympathetic to the brothers at first, but later on it was revealed that the attacker, a Marine, stabbed them in an attempt to get them to stop beating his fellow "Marine brother" to death. Compare the full story ("Ex-Marine not guilty ", March 11, 2010) to earlier reports. By the time Ronald Johnson was cleared of murder, the V-Bar was on its way out (if not already).

It became Social Lounge, which it is still is now. The picture is from Project HOLD, which shows it as Marooned. The windows have since been bricked up.

Despite a much older photo as evidence, a 1972 directory indicates that this was "University Shoe Repair" (not 104), which is also strange since it's one of the larger spaces on Northgate.

111 College Main - Gatsby's on Main
Gatsby's space hasn't moved around much. Thanks to its current sign, it says it's been there "Since 2004", and prior to that was Aggie Cleaners. Gatsby's is currently celebrating of being on College Main for 10 years, though Aggie Cleaners had stuck around for at least 30 before that.

Courtesy Project HOLD, mid-1990s

112 College Main
A non-existent address these days, but it was listed as "University Cleaners" (not to be confused with Aggie Cleaners). It would make sense if this shared the space with the new location of University Shoe Repair.

113 College Main - Kyoto Japanese
This used to be Disc-Go-Round, another record store, and before that, ProTutors Incorporated. Records also mention that this was the first police station of College Station. Despite (what was then called) Kyoto Sushi's ramshackle appearance (sometime around fall 2012 or spring 2013 it stopped serving sushi entirely and is only open at night as a sake bar), it used to look even worse. In spring 2014, it changed to Kyoto Japanese. It's still a sake bar, but is a Korean restaurant called The Bulgori now during the daytime. Ironically, this still doesn't serve sushi--that's found over at Aggie Time to Go. Also worth noting that in the early 2010s, most of the building was painted yellow.

115 College Main - The Law Office of Drew Gibson & Associates
This business isn't here anymore. There's an almost-gone "Aggieland Studio" mural on the side of the building. As you can see in the shot below (when the building looked even worse), there's a sign that says "Paradise" above it. That was Paradise Scuba. It moved to Parkway Square in the mid 1990s (soon after that picture was taken, my 1993 phone book still has Paradise Scuba as being in Northgate) and eventually moving to the old Putt-Putt location. As of this writing, it looks like 115 College Main will cease to exist thanks to a recent New Development filing of 113 College Main renovating the second floor. In the late 1980s, it was the last home to On the Double (actually I think it was 113), after it moved out of the space above Farmer's Market.

2007 Google Street View with the unpainted bricks but no ugly facade

Last days of the original "Kyoto Sushi"

EDIT 4/6/14: The Bulgori is now closed (unknown status of AT2G) but the sake bar continues. I did eat there once. Decent food (got a menu!), some good sides, soup included, even a slice of blood orange.

Hopefully, I'll fill the rest in with pictures that are kicking around on my hard drive somewhere. Enjoy what's currently here for now, though! Leave comments if you can, especially on those businesses that I've inevitably missed. For more Northgate fun, click the link below to see all posts tagged with "Northgate".