Showing posts with label 1990s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1990s. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Former Circuit City

Picture from April 2019 by author.

The distinctive shape of this building is recognizable as a former Circuit City, which was built in 1995. I maybe went into Circuit City once or twice in this location, but I do remember it as a dimly-lit place with computers on display (typical of Circuit City, and that was their gimmick, for the darker lighting to better show off computers and televisions), and nothing like Best Buy, which was brighter and better organized.

In January 2007, Circuit City moved to a new location at University Drive and Highway 6 (about where Half-Price Books is today) and closed down their location, only for the new location to close down a few years later. ("Bryan-College Station sees boom in businesses" from The Eagle). In early August 2012, Guitar Center opened a store at the location but it retains its original architecture.

1003 Harvey Road

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.

EDIT 2/24/19: In October 2018, Gumby's moved to the former Wolfies location at Post Oak Square so that Whataburger could expand and rebuild.

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.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Veronica's Country Corner

This is so obscure only the blurry 2005 Google Earth image shows it.

I lived in Houston for a little while and because I still had connections in College Station, I drove back and forth from College Station to Houston, and that included a lot of Highway 6 South between Navasota and College Station. That little section of highway used to be notoriously dangerous, as it was a four lane highway with no medians (just a double yellow stripe), and enough hills and little driveways to make it a significant hazard. But for me it was before I was driving and thus nostalgia. Usually the only time we drove on that section was to go to Baton Rouge (ultimately) though Houston too.

I do not lament the passing of the original roadway, though I still can "see" in the minds eye where the exit to FM 159 was, and that was back in 2005 (this is a reference to another one of my old blog posts, though I'm not linking to it). Now, with every thing that goes away, some fond things go away with it. I know that the post up there says "Veronica's", and I promise I'll get to that, but first, an ode to a defunct roadside park.

Despite there being a similar roadside park between Hempstead and Navasota, I do remember vaguely the roadside park in Brazos County. I don't remember much of it, it was literally a little driveway loop off of the southbound side of the road, just south of FM 159. Most of the pavement is actually still there.

Anyway, last week I went to the State Fair and I noticed south of Waxahachie a relatively recent closure of one such roadside park (new barricades, and a construction vehicle parked ominously near the southbound rest area), fresh enough that even Google Earth still had it open. The thing is, as much as there is nostalgia for these things, and I can definitely say that while they were an iconic part of traveling down highways when I was younger just like roadside hotels and restaurants, they are functionally obsolete and to an extent dangerous.

One such park closure in recent years was in Sealy, Texas, with a large road side park in the inner median of Interstate 10 (though the two "halves" did not serve as turnaround lanes). It's not just the fact that people would prefer modern travel centers, restaurants, and gas stations, it's the fact that usually they just breed trouble, with illicit activities and illegal dumping. As for the dangerous part (besides the chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time) the short ramps make acceleration and deceleration a pain, you would not want to pull out of a parking space for someone to be barreling down the strip at 45 mph or higher. That would suck.

The other thing that disappeared during construction was the only gas station between the Exxon at William D. Fitch (still the furthest south gas station on the freeway) and the gas stations at Washington Avenue. I'm not sure when it was built (after 1995) but if it was before the opening of the Exxon/McDonald's, then the "last gas in Brazos County" would be what was a Texaco at Barron and Highway 6.

Veronica's Country Corner, as health inspection records state (at 26000 State Highway 6 South), was demolished around early 2006, and I remember it being extant at least as of 2001 (I would appreciate more information...) and I want to say that the gas canopy was fairly large (the aerials make it a bit hard to tell). Sadly, because I lack photos, ads, or a lot of meaningful memories of it (I never even stopped there), I can't say much about it, and only want to bring it up to make sure it isn't forgotten. If this topic seems vaguely familiar to you, I did "sort of" cover it on the blog a long time ago, in a now-removed post that covered Millican and the southern end of Wellborn Road.

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"

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Last Days of the Diamond T Stables

Back in 2013, I wrote about Alta Vista Christian Academy, which included a bit about the west part of Rock Prairie Road and mentioned these, some stables that had been on the road (originally Gandy Road) for a number of years. A few years ago, the land went up for sale on this one, and I knew I had to act fast: because a month ago or so, the city had revealed Equinox subdivision, which would eventually become "The Revelry Townhomes". And that's when I took these pictures. Diamond T seems to have opened in the early 1990s. Google Earth shows them there in 1995 and my 1998 phone book lists it, but the 1993 ones (and earlier) do not. Soon after I took these, the entire property was completely torn down and construction on the new development began. The Diamond T Storage next door continues to live on, though, but for how long is anyone's guess.

3270 Rock Prairie Road West (Gandy Road)

Updated 11.15 with new title, slightly updated information, and other minor changes.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Palace Theater

"And a screen without a picture since Giant came to town"

This is a very, very old post that I'm finally posting again after putting it away for a few years. I originally posted this after the fall 2011 Texas Reds Festival (and it's a good thing too: summer was especially brutal), where I saw the newly revitalized Queen but was disappointed about the redevelopment plan, ate some steak and fried Oreos, etc. (but no beer or wine). The map I was intending to scan (different blog standards at the time, you see) had gotten so much powdered sugar on it I declared it was a loss and threw it away.

My opinion about Downtown Bryan has changed somewhat. At one time I felt it was too sanitized and cartoonish but even those have gotten some wear into them like breaking into a pair of tennis shoes. It's certainly better than the alternative: crumbling into decay and ruin, as it was circa 1990.

Sadly, I have no pictures of how it was and how I remember it in the 1990s. Fortunately, I do however have a music video of "This Old Porch" sung by notable country-western singer (and TAMU alumni) Lyle Lovett.

This video is from Lovett's official site and contains several pictures and an interview (it's part of a three part series called "Trucks, Tortillas, and Tombstones")

There's a bit on the beginning where he's interviewing someone (didn't catch his name):

"...But Bryan fell on hard times, like so many downtowns and towns of all sizes in the '60s when the shopping centers began to spread, same kind of thing happened here......Several attempts have been made by people who said 'well, we could rescue this place, look at these fine wide streets down here, this would be a pleasant place to shop, live on a...make a kind of historic district out of it' but there's really not enough population to do the kind of things they've done in Denver and even in Houston to some extent. And so, it just gets worse.....It just isn't happening. It's not likely to happen now.

Bryan did ultimately did "rescue" the downtown, by sinking tax dollars into it. And though they weren't able to truly revive it as it was in its "glory days", it managed to coax in new shops and businesses. Boarded-up buildings, empty storefronts, and peeling paint were ultimately done away with, but it seems like some of it has been lost (at least they never did convert it to a pedestrian mall at any time. I felt a bit nostalgic watching this: not because I actually lived in that era, but the downtown like I remembered it. The Palace Theater, in particular is featured prominently: the withered curtain still intact, with a shot of the fire escape next door. I remember that fire escape. I was at a Mexican-themed festival there years ago, and rather than watch the dancers on stage, I was drawn to it. There was something about it, some vaguely spooky and depressing feeling that was later seen in things like desolate old malls and Detroit buildings.

That's what today's post is about.

Starting in the late 19th century or early 20th century (as a live theater, it was acquired by Morris Schulman in 1926 and started to show movies. Sadly, Schulman never got to see the theater empire that the Schulman name would become, as he committed suicide in the backstage of the Palace Theater in 1935. His widow would later acquire the Queen, and ultimately pass the business on to Bill Schulman, who passed away in May 2013, even though by that time business had passed on to his sons and the Schulmans pulled out of Bryan-College Station. The Palace, along with others in downtown Bryan, closed in the mid-1980s (at the latest).

Anyway, the Palace Theater was somewhat butchered in the renovation: apparently, the Palace is outdoor because the roof collapsed in 1986, but today the Palace exists even less: only the marquee is original (at best).

See how many things you can spot that are distinctly different: where Stafford Main Street looks like the original building was destroyed, leaving only the facade, there's "Discount Trophies & Engraving" with some greenish tile: the facade was changed (restored or completely redone) for its current incarnation of EarthArt (DT&E appears at 4:35). You can also catch a glimpse of the late missed Los Norteños restaurant.

Here's a few modern glimpses from summer 2013 (my pictures): here, here, and here.

Hopefully you find this post interesting, as it's been sitting in the "back room" for years (it was originally published as "Downtown Bryan: At the Bottom of the Night"). There's more coming that will be from storage from the old CSR&R or was haphazardly put in the Texas Avenue post.

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.

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.

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.

Friday, June 6, 2014

301 College Main

Imagine an old white stucco type building here.

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

Of course, it doesn't look like that now. In the late 1990s, the city invested money in Northgate and tore down the old building and erected "Northgate Center" (Brazos CAD says 2002 as build date), with one of its earlier tenants being New York Sub (not sure on the spelling, nor if it was the same as the New York Subs in Southwest Crossing, though the time frame suggests that they were the same) in suite A. Well, that lasted a few years before it gave way to bars entirely (one bar actually).

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

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

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

Updated October 2015 with fixed errors and links. Further update in March 2019 to account for new building.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Redmond Terrace Shopping Center / Texas Avenue Crossing

Among the retail establishments off of Texas Avenue is Texas Avenue Crossing (a name not seen on signage, by the way) is also the only strip center for miles around with rooftop parking. If you have lived in College Station for more than six months, you've probably been here: it has a Panda Express, Cold Stone, World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond, Charming Charlie, Jason's Deli, and DoubleDave's. Of course, it wasn't always like that, and prior to 2003 (roughly), it was a completely different center. Opening in the 1960s at Jersey and Texas Avenue on a dairy farm, Redmond Terrace Shopping Center was the first strip center in College Station and featured a variety of stores, including a Ben Franklin five and ten, Brookshire Brothers, a post office, and Gibson's. All of these were housed under a continuous "squiggly roof" (not unlike the defunct discount store The Treasury). Here's one of the few photos I have of the original configuration, from a photo of a photo.

Gibson's, of course, was the main anchor. Not a whole lot is known about Gibson's, as even when its largest franchisee (it was a franchised discount store, allowing it to spread across from Texas to Ohio with a variety of store formats) sued the chain and closed/renovated/reopened its stores (before going out of business in 1986, and some sources erroneously state Wickes BOUGHT the chain that same year, unless they sold it off later that year).

A few pages do discuss this store, and the Dallas stores even included full supermarkets in theirs. While the Gibson's here never contained such a thing, it did include a garden center and pharmacy, the latter indicated by this December 1971 ad from our very own The Eagle. It may have even had a snack bar.

Get "Monoply" for the kids!

From what I've read, though, Gibson's was a dump (I've heard someone tell me it smelled like tires). If we fast-forward, things started to change at Redmond stores changed, the squiggly roof went away, but only partially, leaving the center very disjointed looking. Academy would demolish or extensively renovate the Gibson's space. Piggly Wiggly would replace Brookshire Brothers and close early on (it was not very large at all, much smaller than even Navasota or Hearne's Brookshire Brothers). The post office was replaced with Joe's Used Books.

Jason's Deli (a Stacy's Furniture for a time, by address) would be on the far right of the center. Other stores included Burdett & Son's and Loupot's, as well as a mattress/furniture liquidator. Here's a picture of Burdett & Son's, in which you can see the original figuration as well.

Burdett & Son was here from 1997 to 2002, as says their website. Copy Corner is off to the right.

At the corner of George Bush and Texas was a Shell gas station with a Zip'N convenience store, but it was extremely small (or am I just remembering this wrong?). This went first with little more than some remains in a raised section of concrete to show that something was here.

In 2001, it would lose its largest anchor when Academy announced it would move out to the bypass (the new store opened February 2002, a store now closed and replaced by an even larger one), and shortly thereafter it was announced that the entire shopping center would be wrecked for a new center: Texas Avenue Crossing. While one portion was saved and rehabbed (Mattress Giant and Pier One Imports, and I think this was where Jason's Deli originally was), the rest was demolished and built anew, featuring a mostly stable line-up of tenants. If you were looking at it from the George Bush side, the tenants are:
DoubleDave's PizzaWorks (moved from either the Northgate location or Woodstone)
European Wax Center (formerly Urban Salon)
Charming Charlie (originally something else, I think)
Mattress Firm (Mattress Giant, changed names in 2012)
Pier 1 Imports (originally near the mall)
Bed Bath & Beyond (new to the market)
Pine Boutique (for years Ritz Camera & Image, closed in 2012, one of the last ones to close--originally located across the street where Shiraz is now)
Darque Tan (never liked the name of this one--I always imagined cooking on the tanning bed not unlike a clamshell grill)
World Market (new to the market)
Jason's Deli (new location)

On top of Bed Bath & Beyond to Jason's Deli is that rooftop parking area, but it's never been very full. An elevator takes you back near BB&B.

Over at the Shell spot, a new plaza was built with Panda Express (new to the market), Complete Nutrition (formerly "Bath Junkie"), James Avery Craftsman (originally something else?), and Cold Stone Creamery (new to the market).

TAC remains rather popular, having brought new retailers to the market and a popular lunch spot with inexpensive restaurants (Jason's Deli, particularly, remains a popular after-church spot).

I've probably got some details wrong--directories aren't very helpful in this aspect, and I've obviously abridged some stuff, with this article mainly posted to just fill in gaps in dealing with the Texas Avenue post. If I have anything wrong, please mention it in the comments.

Friday, March 21, 2014

H-E-B Pantry / Gattitown / DSW

The store today (picture mine). The facade just keeps getting bigger and bigger...

H-E-B built its first store in College Station in 1991 (according to InSite Magazine), a time when they were expanding like wildfire across East Texas and Houston area with "H-E-B Pantry Foods". Unlike the full line H-E-B stores, the Pantry stores were small even by early 1990s standards (averaging 20k to 30k square feet) and lacked departments that other stores had, only with a meat counter, produce, and a very small collection (maybe one aisle) of non-food items like HBA (health & beauty aids) and pet items.

It had a facade that looked very similar to the picture below (this is from a shopping center in Houston, but as of spring 2013, the facade was repainted and replaced with a traditional H-E-B logo--I'm sure that the Pantry name has been totally extinct for the last five years or so now)

Unfortunately, since I have no pictures or even directories (I actually had two at one time, but I don't know what happened to them...if I find them, I'll tell you), I'll have to describe it. Instead of parking spaces in front of it like the other stores in the center, it had a large ramp in front of it for shoppers. Inside, it had mid-rising drop ceilings with a few random "Texas" graphics, such as a picture of a bunch of haybales scattered through a field. The produce was in the right side, there were ten check-out stands (with one being an express lane, 10 items or less), a photo developing kiosk, a "bakery" that didn't seem to make anything that fresh (fare was mostly limited to some tasteless bagels, the stuff that would be sold in the bread aisle today).

The three H-E-B Pantry stores in town (this one, and the two Bryan locations--were somewhat unusual, as at least from my knowledge, they didn't move into old stores, as in the Houston area, they were known to inhabit old stores like Safeway.

In 2002, this store closed and was replaced with the massive and modern store across Holleman.

That wasn't the end for the space, though in summer 2003, Gattiland closed its Bryan location and moved into the old Pantry Foods store within the month. Although I was getting too old to be part of the Gattitown demographic by the time it opened, I visited anyway, because it was new, and it was to be the latest in the technology. Gattitown totally rebuilt the facade (the Texas part remained visible from the back, but unless you lived in one of the apartments behind the complex, you could not see it) and removed the ramp in the parking lot, making it smooth. You also had to enter through the sides.

“When we built [the Bryan location] it was the second GattiLand we built,” Moffett said. “This is the latest generation, and it’s going to be more comfortable and fun for every age. From here on out, they’re all going to be GattiTowns.”

This is the sixth restaurant to open under the GattiTown name and “eatertainment” theme, and each is decorated to reflect its community, Moffett said. At the College Station restaurant, an Aggieland Dining Room will be lined with reproductions of Benjamin Knox paintings. The drink station is positioned beneath a mock water tower, and other rooms include a city hall and a mock movie theater.

The game room will occupy the entire back section of the restaurant, but Moffett said adults can find quiet dining areas in a corner cafe and the Library, which will have high-speed Internet connections and five iMac computers for customer use.

Moffett said he plans to hire a full-time marketing employee to promote the restaurant’s meeting space, which is free to use once customers buy a meal. There also are two meeting rooms set apart from the customer traffic flow, and some of the dining rooms have sliding walls that can divide them into smaller spaces.

The "mock water tower" was modeled after by-then defunct old water tower at the corner of Park Place and Texas Avenue, and as for the "Library", I never did find (employees didn't seem to know where it was, a sign of bad things to come), but it apparently did exist and was soon converted into another theater room. The midway area wasn't all that better than Gattiland, if anything, it seemed smaller. There wasn't even room for a playground. The old style tokens that Gattiland used was replaced by a card system.

Well, initially Gattitown was a huge success and the parking lot stayed packed every Friday and Saturday night. But as the years wore on, Gattitown started to get competition in the form of Chuck E. Cheese which opened at Post Oak Mall in 2005, and at Grand Central Station, which happened soon after. Chuck E. Cheese did the most damage to Gattitown, with Gattitown's knockoff formula competing with the original, and just like that, Gattitown slid downhill just like its predecessor. It was pretty much exclusively for kids (no classic arcades, or even alcohol) for that matter, and even then stayed pretty empty except for the "Kids Eat Free" nights. In July 2012, Gattitown closed. The pizza was now abysmal (not even fully cooked) and Mr. Gatti's left the area for good after nearly 40 years of jumping around town.

It wasn't the end of the space, though: in fall of 2013, it reopened as DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse). Despite the fact that the facade of the old Gattitown/Pantry was completely covered up, the design restored the appearance of a retail store, so if you go inside and close your eyes you can almost remember how the Pantry used to be laid out.

2026 S. Texas Avenue

Editor's Note: Updated as of August 2015, Feb. 2016 update to correct date

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".