Monday, June 27, 2011

Neily's Book Store

Neily's Book Store,   217 College Avenue

As long as we're on College Avenue, let's visit Neily's Book Store .... one of the last buildings on the street before you hit campus.  Neily's was a private enterprise that directly competed with the college itself in providing books and supplies to students.  Currently the site of Jimmy John's, this was a great store that had a little bit of everything and also dealt in new and used books (back when it was much easier to buy used books because the text books used didn't change nearly as often as they do now).

When Neily's was up and running in the late 60's and into the 1970's there was no mammoth Tech Bookstore either across from the Tech library or on South Main Street.  If I remember correctly, book sales on campus took place in the back of Owens Dining Hall.

Monday, June 20, 2011

College Avenue

Click on photo to enlarge

Click on photo to enlarge

Nothing much to talk about.  Just wanted to show two nice shots of College Avenue looking East.  Note Little Doc's on the corner of College & Draper, now the home of Souvlaki's.  To the right of Little Doc's is a cool store called The Water Closet, and behind all the windows upstairs is University Billiards, a favorite hangout with pool and pinball machines.  If you look real close you might see that Freaky Friday is playing at the Lyric, and that the car on the left is being issued a ticket by a police officer.

Friday, June 10, 2011


I keep telling folks that weren't around 30 or 40 years ago what amazing concerts showed up on the VA Tech campus back then.  So yesterday I decided to spend a few hours looking through the Tech Yearbooks from 1970 through 1979 and here is a list of the "big name" acts that made it to little ol' Blacksburg in that decade alone  -

America                                                     John Mayall
Ann Wilson (Heart)                                  Johnny Rivers
Atlanta Rhythm Section                          Kris Kristofferson
Billy Preston                                              Leon Russell
Black Oak Arkansas                                 Lighthouse
Blue Oyster Cult                                       Linda Ronstadt
Bob Welsh                                                  Little Anthony
Canned Heat                                             Little Feat
Chairman of the Board                            Livingston Taylor
Chicago                                                      Neil Diamond
Chuck Mangione                                       Nils Lofgren
Dave Mason                                              Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Dennis Yost and the Classics Four       Pablo Cruise
Doc Severinson                                        Poco
Don McLean                                              Pure Prairie League
Doobie Brothers                                      Rita Coolidge
Elvin Bishop                                             Roberta Flack
George Benson                                       Robin Trower
Goose Creek Symphony                        Seals & Crofts
Grateful Dead                                          Sha Na Na
Iron Butterfly                                          Stephen Stills
Isaac Hayes                                            The Association
Jethro Tull                                                The Buckinghams
Jimmy Buffet                                           The James Gang

So, which of these did YOU see?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

College Inn

College Inn  -  221 North Main Street

Long before the 1970's rolled around the College Inn was providing meals for hungry students and town folk.  But by the 70's it was one of the oldest surviving restaurants in town, along with The Greeks.  If you wanted good southern home cooking this was the place.

The College Inn was one of the first businesses to have it's lights on and doors open in the wee hours of morning.  Breakfast was served on heavy ceramic plates and likewise a good strong cup o' joe came in a sturdy tan colored mug.  You might have one of the proprietors, Arno, greet you as you entered and he was sure to have a "Good mornin' " directed at you, along with a broad smile.

Belly up to the counter or plop down in a booth, it didn't matter.  Mrs. Smith or any of the hard working waitresses would tend to you pretty quickly, and if you were a "regular" then chances are they already knew what you wanted.

Likewise, lunch time was a real treat too.  Every day there was a different Special on the menu..... from homemade meat loaf to southern fried chicken, real mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans cooked just like a farmer's wife would make them, and so much other good down home stuff that it would (as a friend of mine used to say) "make your tongue slap your brains out !!"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Blacksburg Moon

Ok boys and girls, I had never heard of The Blacksburg Moon (an alternative newspaper) until recently when Jim Bovard emailed me and asked if I knew where to find a copy.  As it turns out, Jim used to write for the Moon and we were both able to find a couple of copies at the Tech library in Special Collections.  So today I'm going  to let Jim be the Guest Blogger -

" In late '75 and early '76, I wrote a few pieces for an alternative paper, The Blacksburg Moon. The Moon was big on bean sprouts and astrology, with drawings of naked hippies thrown in for no extra charge. The paper was printed on faded blue paper that looked like a remnant of a bad trip. I was fairly hidebound compared to their other contributors, which is why the editors put a subhead - "As Others See It" - atop my articles.

I am still trying to track down the issue that had my first article - printed next to a piece that contained a step-by-step guide to making free long distance calls (which, if memory serves, provoked a legal threat from Ma Bell). "

BIO:  Jim Bovard moved to Blacksburg before the start of his senior year in high school in 1973.  Jim said he has fond memories of hanging out at 117, and at Greeks II across from Books Strings & Things.   He left Blacksburg in 1979 and now lives in "colder climates", as he put it.  He eventually became a serious writer with numerous books to his credit.

Thanks, Jim, for enlightening us on a lost bit of Blacksburg history.