Monday, September 18, 2006

Five Points - Columbia , SC


We're at the intersection of 1952 and 2006. This is Columbia, SC's "Five Points" section which has become one of the most popular centers of activity in the Capital City. We are looking down the hill on Devine Street toward its intersection with Harden Street which forms part of the Five Points area.

The sign for The Goody Shoppe represents a diner which was a legend in Columbia. It was once an all night eatery which saw many a late night reveler stumble in from fraternity or cocktail parties or post game celebrations when the Gamecocks were winning football games or remorseful drunks when they were not.

This mural depicts the scene as it likely looked in the early 1950's. Pure and Gulf were two of the leading petroleum companies in the US at the time with stations on every other corner in every town in the country. The mural is painted on the north side of what is now Harper's Restaurant in today's Five Points. It is a skillful continuation of a trend begun in 1975 by the artist who painted as "Blue Sky". Nostalgic and often historically accurate murals appear from time to time all over the Columbia area. Columbia once stood for nomination as the new Atlanta. Thank every lucky star that it failed to become that urban horror, but in the process Columbia tore down a lot of buildings both historic and sentimental.

Once an attractive distraction for blank ugly walls, these murals are increasingly prized as assets for commercial structures. They give Columbia a window to its past and tend to mourn the casualties inflicted on its road to prosperity. It reminds us that the funky, the seedy, the low fashion of the day will in time have value to us down that road


Anonymous Agricola said...

During our tour of duty in the Midwest, Indianapolis specifically, the same movement was underway in the downtown area. Urban destruction (renewal) was underway, creating many blank walls with vistas for the arriving commuters, and the city encouraged murals. I recall in particular a "whale painter" of some repute who created his art on a wall on a very busy street. In terms of the "Atlantacization?" of Columbia, may this commenter suggest that the birth of the PC, fiber optics, and broadband technology allows the folks that need high technology to access the centers like Atlanta while enjoying life in an affordable university town on the Fall Line.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Windviel said...

Amen to that, Agricola. There are few places that we do not wish to visit, but Atlanta would top the list.

In the unfortunate effort to become "Atlanta II", they even created Underground Columbia. We have posted some of Columbia's site specific art which tends to mock that trend. These high profile artful displays seem to raise public consciousness in positive ways.

We hope that Columbia will continue to be a place we enjoy visiting time and again.

12:17 AM  

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