Restaurant and fast food photos, Princeton WV area, 1987

Moderator: Groceteria

Post Reply
User avatar
Andrew T.
Senior Member
Posts: 532
Joined: 18 Oct 2007 14:26
Location: Thunder Bay
Contact:

Restaurant and fast food photos, Princeton WV area, 1987

Post by Andrew T. » 28 Apr 2008 13:33

Here are a scans of a couple pages from the 1986-87 yearbook from Concord College in Athens, West Virginia, showing photos of a number of restaurants and fast food joints in the immediate area (click for a larger image):

Image Image

This is the disposition today of each place illustrated:

Chain restaurants -

Arby's:
Location: Ingleside Road, Princeton, WV
Status: Looks exactly the same today.

Burger King:
Location: Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV
Status: Closed in 2000 or 2001 when a new store opened. The building has since been remodeled beyond recognition into a Tudor's Biscuit World.

Domino's Pizza:
Location: Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV
Status: Briefly became a one-off pizza establishment in 2001, then reverted to Domino's with modern signage. The large logo on the side of the building has long since been painted over.

Gino's Pizza & Spaghetti/Tudor's Biscuit World (both West Virginia-based chains):
Location: State and Vermillion Streets, Athens, WV
Status: Looks mostly the same today, although the roof has been repainted and the "Tudor's Biscuit World" signs have been taken down.

Hardee's (barely visible; the dark rectangular sign visible in the "Western Sizzlin" picture):
Location: Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV
Status: The original orange-on-brown sign was later replaced with a '90s orange-on-blue sign, and later still the Carl's Jr.-style star. The restaurant itself has been remodeled accordingly.

Kentucky Fried Chicken:
Location: Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV
Status: Sign replaced first with the 1991 "KFC" logo, then eventually the 1997 logo; at which point the bucket disappeared. The restaurant itself has been remodeled as well.

Long John Silver's:
Location: Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV
Status: Remodeled in the early-to-mid '90s (at which point the sign was replaced with the italicized logo and the riggings were cut down), and recently remodeled again into a combination A&W/Long John Silver's.

McDonald's (sign barely visible):
Location: Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV
Status: Original '70s/'80s mansard structure demolished and replaced with a new building on the same site in about 1998.

Pizza Hut:
Location: Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV
Status: Looks mostly the same today, although the roof sign is now backlit.

Taco Bell:
Location: Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV (in the outlot of a Kroger greenhouse)
Status: Looks exactly the same today.

Wendy's (sign barely visible):
Location: Courthouse Road, Princeton, WV
Status: Looks exactly the same today.

Western Sizzlin:
Location: Stafford Drive and Ingleside Road, Princeton, WV
Status: Original sign replaced with the modern logo in the mid '90s; the restaurant burned down in 2001. A chinese restaurant now occupies the site.

Western Steer:
Location: Oakvale Road, Princeton, WV (across from a now-demolished Kmart)
Status: Closed in the mid '90s, now a used car lot and showroom (!) The original Western Steer roadside sign frame has been retained.

One-off restaurants (mentioned for the sake of completeness) -

Friday's
Location: Pine Plaza, Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV
Status: Closed by the early '90s.

King's Palace:
Location: Oakvale Road, Princeton, WV
Status: Recently demolished to make room for a new Lowe's store.

Little Venice Pizza:
Location and status: I have no idea where this restaurant even was. It closed by the early '90s, in any case.

Roma III:
Location: Princeton Shopping Center (?), Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV
Status: Moved to a standalone location in 1988; moved again in 2000 or so; now defunct.

Snack Bar/Video Mart:
Location: South State Street, Athens, WV
Status: Closed in roughly 1990; now a beauty salon. Marks from bar stools are still visible on the floor tiles.

Sweet Shop:
Location: Vermillion Street, Athens, WV
Status: Closed (although the menu boards are still visible if you peer through the windows)

Taco Hut:
Location: Route 20, Melrose, WV
Status: Closed in the early '90s; the building has been occupied by a succession of practically a dozen or more buisinesses since then.

So, that's one slice of local retail history from 21 years ago! :-)
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

jimbobga
Full Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 10 Feb 2007 01:31
Location: Senoia, Ga

Re: Restaurant and fast food photos, Princeton WV area, 1987

Post by jimbobga » 03 May 2008 15:05

Excellent set of pics from that era. I really enjoyed looking at those. What's missing is the Kenney's at the intersection of WV 20 and Thorn Street, but it's possible the restaurant was closed by then. The building still remains, however, and the last time I was there it was a used car business.

It's strange how the Princeton/Bluefield area developed. Bluefield was always the place to go shopping up until the opening of Mercer Mall, but if one wanted to go out to eat, Princeton was the destination. Fast food and what we would now call "fast-casual" restaurants were in greater abundance in the Princeton area than in Bluefield. People in that area didn't mind driving for over an hour just to eat a hamburger, and the general idea was that food [and just about everything else] was always better in Mercer County than it was in the surrounding counties of VA and WV. I know that my family would drive 30 miles to Kenney's in Princeton rather than to drive six miles in the other direction to an identical Kenney's in Welch...just because "it was in Princeton."

Unless it has closed recently, the longest survivor of any restaurant of this type has to be the walk-up Dairy Queen in Princeton about halfway between the courthouse and Stafford Road on what used to be US 19. While it would have never won an award for architectural beauty, it survived for at least 50 years, and may still be going strong.

The Sterling Drive-In in Welch, however, has lasted longer than any of these. It's worth the trip to McDowell County just to see the drive-in canopy and sign...and to eat one of their submarine sandwiches, which is unlike any other sub sandwich anywhere. Lasting almost as long is the Dairy Barn on WV 12 in Ballard, just a few miles west of Peterstown. No architectural wonder, either, but definitely a relic of the past.

User avatar
Andrew T.
Senior Member
Posts: 532
Joined: 18 Oct 2007 14:26
Location: Thunder Bay
Contact:

Re: Restaurant and fast food photos, Princeton WV area, 1987

Post by Andrew T. » 04 May 2008 01:34

Hi jimbobga,
jimbobga wrote:Excellent set of pics from that era. I really enjoyed looking at those. What's missing is the Kenney's at the intersection of WV 20 and Thorn Street, but it's possible the restaurant was closed by then. The building still remains, however, and the last time I was there it was a used car business.
Ah yes, I remember Kenney's (driving past, at least...don't remember eating there!). By my recollections, that place stuck around until 1993 or so.

One thing that strikes me about that photospread is what hasn't changed since then: All the non-steakhouse chain restaurants pictured are still in operation in Princeton today. Most new restaurant development has been clustered around the I-77 interchange east of town: Almost none of that was there twenty-one years ago.
jimbobga wrote:Unless it has closed recently, the longest survivor of any restaurant of this type has to be the walk-up Dairy Queen in Princeton about halfway between the courthouse and Stafford Road on what used to be US 19. While it would have never won an award for architectural beauty, it survived for at least 50 years, and may still be going strong.
As far as I know, that Dairy Queen is still in business. I ought to take a picture of it sometime before it's too late!
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

jimbobga
Full Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 10 Feb 2007 01:31
Location: Senoia, Ga

Re: Restaurant and fast food photos, Princeton WV area, 1987

Post by jimbobga » 06 May 2008 23:33

I"m glad you're documenting all of this, because I never seem to have the time to do it when I'm in that area. It hadn't dawned on me that these places were still open.

If you get a pic of the Dairy Queen, see if Jimmy's Restaurant in downtown Princeton is still there. While the food wasn't too good the last time I was there [in '93] the sign was worth seeing, and I believe it's still on the building.

This is totally off the topic of restaurant chains, but if we're going to talk about the Bluefield-Princeton area, you can't talk about restaurant chains because there just weren't any there except for a minimal amount of fast food options. The interesting thing about the area was what was there before I-77. Originally the WV Turnpike ended where I-77 crosses US 460, and an early "exit strip" grew up on old US 460 in the late 50's and early 60's. There were four good sit-down restaurants out there, along with several mom-and-pop hotels. The Dinner Bell was one, and the Town and Country was another. The Town and Country at some point turned into the Johnston Inn, which survived until about three years ago. Both were attached to motels, but drew people for Sunday dinner from several counties. I believe a few of those buildings are still there. This area stretched from the turnpike to the Athens Crossroads area, with tourist-related businesses sprinkled in among brick four-square homes.

Keep up the good memories!
Jim

User avatar
Andrew T.
Senior Member
Posts: 532
Joined: 18 Oct 2007 14:26
Location: Thunder Bay
Contact:

Re: Restaurant and fast food photos, Princeton WV area, 1987

Post by Andrew T. » 26 May 2008 13:48

Here are a couple of recent area photos, which I thought I might as well park here:

Image

First off, here's the aforementioned walk-up Dairy Queen on South Walker Street in Princeton. Not only is it still in business, but it even has a new paint job as well.

Image Image

Earlier, I pondered where the short-lived "Little Venice Pizza" establishment was. When I happened upon this pointy-topped structure up a couple blocks from the Dairy Queen, it became obvious.

The building is obviously an old Kentucky Fried Chicken store from the 1960s or 1970s: Just imagine red and white stripes on the roof and a rotating chicken bucket where the "Walker Square" sign protrusion is, and you get the picture. This location closed as a KFC around 1984, and obviously it's been a few things since then. As for its current, unlikely utilization as a beauty and tanning salon, I feel that a photo contribution to "Not Fooling Anybody" is in order...

I might as well mention that Jimmies (sic) Restaurant is still around as well. Here's a couple pictures I found online of that snazzy joint (although I'm not the one who took them), which probably hasn't changed a bit in decades!
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

User avatar
buckhead
Full Member
Posts: 80
Joined: 12 Feb 2007 06:05
Location: Atlanta, GA (near Bugtussle)

Re: Restaurant and fast food photos, Princeton WV area, 1987

Post by buckhead » 27 May 2008 01:42

Andrew T. wrote: ...
The building is obviously an old Kentucky Fried Chicken store from the 1960s or 1970s: Just imagine red and white stripes on the roof and a rotating chicken bucket....
Actually I'd imagine that building might even have sported the pinkish-tan and black livery that Kentucky Fried Chicken used BEFORE the red and white theme.

Post Reply