Commercial Archaeology

Thanks to Chuck in Columbia (who has some bitchin’ pictures on his site), I’ve now realized that I wasn’t smoking crack as a child and dreaming that Hardee’s restaurants used to look like this:

I’ve searched years for someone who remembered this particular design. There couldn’t have been many built because no one seems to remember them. Imagine my surprise when Chuck casually mentioned a “a pagoda-shaped Hardee’s” in Columbia. Of course, he had other things to say too, but this was a 20-year obsession.

My friends know my much-indulged hobby is commercial archaeology, or the unearthing of former chain-store prototypes, motels, fast food joints, etc. My supermarket fixation is only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve also been known to engage in such fascinating games as “find the former Sears” and “White Castle or White Tower”. Despite this fact, a few stout-hearted individuals are still willing to ride in a car with me.

The Hardee’s pagoda was one of the first warnings about my future hobby, way back when I was still in high school. Even then I’d ask people if they remembered that weird-looking Hardee’s on Battleground Avenue in Greensboro. I now know I wasn’t making it up. I am much relieved.