Genealogy, Local History

In the beginning there was Thruway…


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Like most things, shopping centers and malls are nothing new. In ancient Greece, every city had an open space near the center known as the agora where merchants could display and sell their wares. About 2,000 years ago, the Roman Emperor Trajan built a shopping center in his forum. It was semicircular and multilevel, with vaulted ceilings and contained bars and restaurants as well as shops.


Trajan’s market center

In 1907, a group of Baltimore merchants took a step toward the modern shopping center when they established a common off-street free parking area for their customers. The first suburban shopping center in the US, Country Club Plaza, was established by J.C. Nichols in Kansas City in 1922. But by the end of World War II, there were still no suburban centers in North Carolina.


The Messick family was involved in the grocery business in Winston-Salem from the earliest days of the 20th century. In 1947, they opened their first modern supermarket, Food Fair, on south Main Street. By 1953, they had six Food Fairs scattered around town.

One of the earliest initiatives of Dwight Eisenhower’s administration was the National Defense highway system. Ray Messick had been reading about that and a concurrent phenomenon, suburban shopping centers. He thought it would be a good idea to put a Food Fair in a shopping center, but the only one in North Carolina at the time was the brand new Cameron Village in Raleigh.


Then he met a man who had just moved to the Twin City from San Antonio, Texas. Earl Slick also had an interest in the new thruways that were a part of the new highway system, and in suburban shopping centers. He noted that Winston-Salem would soon be getting one of those thruways. Ray Messick and Earl Slick and W.B. Leverton formed a business known as the Merchants Development Company. They bought a 14 acre farm on south Stratford Road that abutted the future site of the local thruway. On June 24, 1953, they got the first look at the plans for a $1.5 million shopping center.


In 1946, at age 26, Earl Slick founded Slick Airways, the first, and for some years, largest air freight service in the USA

There, at 9 AM on October 13, 1955, mayor Marshall Kurfees presided over a ceremony that included the principals of the Merchants Development Company and George L. Irvin, Jr. and Fred Linton from the Chamber of Commerce and J. Ernest Yarbrough and William N. Dixson from the Merchants Association. The Thruway Shopping Center was open for business.


The parking lot had room for 1,200 cars. There was space for thirteen businesses in the original building. Of course, one of the them was a brand new Food Fair, with seven electric conveyer checkout stations. The other large tenants were F. W. Woolworth and an Eckerd’s Drug store. The remaining businesses were Artistic Flowers, a new local business created by Bud Smith and George and J.G. Walker, Jr.; a branch of Dewey’s Bakery, with its own baking staff of fifteen; Laun-Dry-Clean, with 20 commercial washers and one day dry cleaning service; Hugh Butler, Inc., a self service hardware store; a branch of the downtown McPhail’s Gift Shop; a branch of Tiny Town, managed by Sidney Shapiro; Marken’s children’s wear; William Lamberti’s beauty salon; The Buena Vista Shop, medium to high end women’s clothing; and Stanley Shoes, which featured spotlighted displays, pile carpeting and mahogany paneling.


The first Thruway managers

A planned menswear store was still vacant, subject to contract negotiation. That would soon become a branch of another downtown store, Hine-Bagby. And another large space at the north end of the center, intended for a department store, was still in negotiation. That would soon become the site of another suburban branch of a downtown business, Davis Department Stores.



Romper Room star Miss Melissa was on hand

City National Bank had a temporary location in the building, awaiting completion of their free standing drive-through building. But perhaps the most innovative tenant was Dalton Williams, Inc, Lincoln, Mercury and Continental automotive dealers. Their space could accommodate two cars at a time. The glass front was easily removable so that they could rotate display models.



The center as a whole was an immediate success. Some businesses would do better than others, which would lead to a slow, consistent shuffle of tenants. The only remaining original tenant today is Dewey’s Bakery. On December 20, 1955, City National Bank moved from their temporary quarters to one of North Carolina’s first drive-through banking facilities.



The bank stood at the end of the former Smokehouse restaurant and retail meat sales building, which was being renovated for future Thruway tenants. On July 18, 1956, Slick Enterprises, Inc., the new name of the development group, made an announcement about who those future tenants would be. WTOB radio and television (UHF channel 26) was already operating upstairs in the building, with the channel 26 transmitting tower dominating the landscape. The TV station had gone on the air Labor Day weekend, 1953.


Sammy’s Kitchen and a General Electric retail store were also already open. The two new tenants, to open by the end of August, were to be the Town Steakhouse #2 and the Thruway Barber Shop.

The Town Steakhouse #2 would be a branch of the original Town Steakhouse located on Lockland Avenue at Hawthorne Road, across from a Bobbitt’s Drugstore. They were famous for their house salad, which was produced by applying a balogna slicer to a head of Iceberg lettuce. And the barber shop would be operated by Clyde C. Cranfill and George Y. Minor, my barbers, relocating from their original site on Hawthorne Road near First Street, which we always called “the foot of the hill”.

By the early 1960s, business was booming at Thruway. Slick Enterprises acquired the remainder of the land extending to Knollwood Street to the south and began planning a major expansion of the center. While that was underway, Reznick’s Music, a downtown mainstay, opened a branch in the old Smokehouse building in 1963. The next year they were joined by yet another downtown business, Norman Stockton, menswear. Reznicks would eventually move to the original Thruway building, while Norman Stockton would settle into the new extension.


In October, 1964, Thalhimer’s opened a suburban branch in the new section. Other original tenants there included Rose’s Department Store and Jacards. The extension was bi-level. One of the new businesses in the lower level was Arden Farms cheese store. In July, 1966, Sam Pappas opened his famous Sam’s Gourmet Restaurant there. Another nearby tenant, still much missed to this day, was the Thruway branch of the Forsyth County Public Library. Right across from the library was a an unmarked door, easily mistaken for a broom closet, where, for a time, Earl Slick maintained an office.


Sam Pappas was born in Athens, Greece. He worked as a chef in several US states before coming to Winston-Salem in 1956 to run the kitchen at Town Steak House #2. On July1, 1966, he opened Sam’s Gourmet Restaurant on the lower level of Thruway’s newest section. Overnight, it became the most popular restaurant in the Twin City. It closed in 1990.

The new section brought about one tragic moment, the closing of Lawrence Staley’s legendary Stratford Road drive-in restaurant. That was the place where we high school basketballers went after both home and road games for a snack before heading back to the family. And of course, it was the cruising ground where many other high school boys and girls met their future loves…doo wop.

Staley continued to operate his other drive-ins at Five Points in Waughtown, on North Patterson Avenue and on Reynolda Road near Crystal Lake, and of course, the magnificent Steakhouse across from Reynolda, but a little something special went out of our world…something a savings and loan could not replace.

WTOB TV was handicapped by the limitations of UHF television, so they went after the youth market by featuring teen dance parties in their studio and outside in a roped off area of the Thruway parking lot. But Thruway would also host a more serious dance party.



When Wake Forest College moved to Winston-Salem in the mid-1950s, many members of the State Baptist Convention became concerned about the spiritual atmosphere on the new citified campus. A committee began an investigation, and in 1957, the convention formalized a long standing rule against dancing on campus. When the formal ban was announced at a program in Wait Chapel, the entire student body got up and walked out. Dozens of students began dancing on the terrace outside the chapel. Later that evening, hundreds of students gathered in the Thruway parking lot to make their protest public by dancing into the night.

119 thoughts on “In the beginning there was Thruway…”

  1. My father Henry Nading,Jr was manger of Thruway Shopping Center for 13 years, working with Earl Slick to negotiate the purchase the Biltmore property from William Cecil and getting store tenants like Thalhimers, Hickory Farms, Rosenthal Bootery, Sams Gourmet and Roses. Mr Nading was the first certified shopping center manager in North Carolina and developed the new section of Thruway. His company Nading Realty Company was located in the lower mall across the hall from Mr. Slick’s office. Mr Nading was very innovative manager bringing the first library and art gallery to a shopping center setting. Also at one time he had a Putt Putt, Jump Jump, and Bat Bat to entertain the children.His most original idea was to trim the WTOB radio tower with Christmas lights every year that could be seen for many miles.The tower eventually had to be torn down because of falling ice endangering shoppers during cold bad weather.He told me that the men who put up the tower lights rode around in a hearse because if they fell they said they wouldn’t need an ambulance.Thruway Movie Theater was one of the first in any shopping center.Mr Nading put a time capsule to celebrate the opening of the theater in the sidewalk that will be opened in Feb 2019.The first handicapped ramp was installed at the Town Steak House and is still in use today located near Bonefish Grill. Also a new traffic control device “speed bumps” were installed to slow the traffic down. Thruway has always been a trend setter and will be for many years to come. Lea Nading

  2. Please add Patsy Dixson to your blog list,…………..and don’t leave out the “s” in Dixson. Susan S. Burroughs has been sending them to me, which I really enjoy! I am on the class list, but not this one. Thanks!!

  3. The best shopping center. My mother and I did all of our shopping there. The Woolworths food was great and you could see it being prepared!! Still like to go there. Brings back great memories. Earl Slick went on to Piedmont Air Lines.
    Betty L. Nifong

  4. Thank you so much, Lea. This is the kind of response I would love to see more often, because no matter how much research we do, we can never come close to knowing the full story.

    I was aware that Henry Nading was the long time manager, but knew very little about him. Certainly his idea of lighting that tower was brilliant…over the years we have had more comments about that than anything else, including NASCAR racing at Bowman Gray…I think everyone remembers it. That and the speed bumps, the first seen around here.

    I was living elsewhere when the theater opened, so knew nothing about the time capsule. I hope that I will live long enough to see it opened.

    I have been unable to find a picture of your father. If you would be willing to share one, you can contact me at

    I would be interested in seeing any other pictures you might have. We have one of the largest photo collections in the South, but it is never adequate to the task at hand. Again, thank you for your wonderful response.

  5. Patsy, I will try to add you to our followers which will give you an automatic heads up when something new is posted. Hope you saw the Brown Rogers Dixson (yes, I know how to spell it) post. Look for one on Krispy Kreme coming soon. Somebody from elsewhere asked me the other day “What is so special about Krispy Kreme doughnuts?” I said “Have you ever had one?” They said “No.” I said “Well, that’s why you’re asking. If you had had one, you wouldn’t be asking, you’d be eating another one.”

  6. Clark Harper – I don’t know, but I’ll bet someone else does. If they don’t, we can find out by going through the city directories…ours run from 1879 to the present. Come on down sometime and we”l search with you.

  7. Anna Crone Montgomerie – I suspect that Tiny Town was every child’s favorite. Certainly mine, including the original store on West Fourth Street.

  8. Betty Nifong – Indeed, it was the best, and still is. And Earl went on to Piedmont and many more places and made a lot of money. At one point, he owned most of the northern part of the Outer Banks. With some help from his friend Phil Hanes, he gave all that to the state, so that we can all enjoy a long, unspoiled stretch of Tar Heel coast. And he helped me and a few others preserve the oldest textile mill in western North Carolina, the 1838 Salem Cotton Manufacturing Company. You can go there and spend a night or a few in luxury at the Brookstown Inn.

  9. I remember riding ponies on Friday night at the kiddie section before jump jump – love the Thruway – we would walk on Sunday afternoons to Eckerds – remember Sunday blue laws????

  10. What a great post and great memories. I was Bud Smith’s next door neighbor for many of his last years but had no idea he was part of the original Thruway. Bud went on to become the horticulture teacher at the WS/FC Schools Career Center and was there for many years. This was the original Career Center that opened in 1976 and was replaced in 2010. Bud died just last year. He had most recently run his small shop in the building across the street from Twin City Diner. Some other great stores I remember include Rosenthal’s Bootery in the that stone alcove area near the stairs to lower Thruway. I also recall Biscuit Town(?) in the area beside the Town Steak House. For many years the area where Harris Teeter sits was the ABC Store.

  11. i remember those days with great fondness. Dancing in the parking lot to the music of The Ascots with Doug “Fab” Foltz. My dad took me to Thruway to teach me how to drive and react in snowy weather. Will always cherish those times even I haven’t lived there since I graduated from RJR.

  12. I have fond memories of Thruway Shopping Center. I loved shopping at Rosenthal’s Bootery-they always had the best shoes! Thalheimer’s was a terrific department store with friendly personnel. Thruway had everything. Restaurants, sporting goods, music, hair salon, drug store, … When I go back to Winston-Salem to visit, I don’t think the shopping center is as good as it was back in the 70s.

  13. So many of the places at Thruway bring back fond memories. Rezniks and Murph’s Photography. But oh my goodness! Sams Gourmet, I was a waitress there one summer. None of the cooks spoke English and Gus, the head cook one Sunday went out into the dining room because one of the waitresses (me) had accidentally picked up the wrong fish plate and served it to my table. With a large butcher knife in his hand he was planning to kill whoever took the Halibut. Thank God my customer ate the fish before he found it. And Sam’s blond German wife at the cash register would howl with laughter whenever the baths ran out of Toilet paper. She’d exclaim “they can use their petty coats to wipe themselves” I can’t believe I survived working there.

  14. So many good memories from growing up…playing at kiddieland, putt-putt, and standing in line at Rezniks to buy Beatle records!

  15. My husband & I moved to W-S, last quarter of 1963. Children born 1964-1966. One would need a wide-width EE shoe. Alas, ROSENTHAL’ BOTTERY – lower level! Easter patent-leather shoes would need to be ordered early! Lots of continuing memories of THRUWAY!

  16. Mitchell Hunt – Ah, yes, the Ascots. Doug Foltz was a classmate of mine, from Ardmore School right through RJR class of ’61. They were a great cover band…my favorite was their version of Buddy Holly’s “Rave On.” I’ll get in trouble here, because I don’t remember everyone, but other members were Butch Rumple, Ted Hill, Mike Sovine (drums). Maybe somebody remembers the whole band.

    Once upon a time (a few years later) my California girlfriend and I were driving slowly up the coast on Cal highway 1 from San Diego to Marin County. On the windiest part of the road, in Monterrey, we came around a curve and there was a club with a big sign on the door: “TONIGHT ONLY, FAB FOLTZ”. I said “Well, we’ve got to stay here tonight.” Had a great reunion with Doug and, as always, he was rockin’ it.

  17. I really appreciate all of these comments…I guess we all love our Thruway. Especially enjoyed Suzanne Phillips’ story…hardly anything crazier than the restaurant business.

    When I was teaching at FTCC, I had this wonderful student, a single mom with two daughters, who was far and away the best waitress at one of the most popular restaurants in town. About once a week, the owner/chef, a very emotional guy, would have a hissy fit and fire her. The next morning, his wife, who actually ran the place, would call her and tell her to come back to work. He never apologized or said a word about what had happened. Went on for several years until she got her degree and moved on to a saner world.

  18. Fran, I would love to be on your list to receive your blog. I grew up in WS (still live here) and have wonderful memories of Thruway and all the places you mentioned, Putt Putt, bat bat, jump jump, my goodness (I think my Wiley Junior High homeroom teacher ran bat bat on the weekends – his name escapes me but he could do funny magic tricks in class – ) I can barely remember Biltmore Dairy and walking there with girlfriends for ice-cream. It was an easy walk from where I grew up on Country Club Road. Thruway was a safe place for young teens to spend time on Saturdays with all the outdoor recreations. Food Fair was a wonderful grocery store and my mother was able to charge her groceries (before credit cards of course).
    Another hang out for my friends was College Village. Back then there was a drug store with a food counter that everyone flocked to for lunch, moms with strollers, preteens, teens and older folks from the neighborhood. They had great hamburgers.
    My husband and I were stationed in Monterey, California in 1969-70 and we were driving down to Big Sur one day on the Pacific Coast Highway and we swore we saw “Fab” Foltz walking down the highway. There was no where to stop or turn around. Now I believe it must have been true as I read these posts. Wish we had known he was performing in the area.
    Thank you so much for taking me down memory lane!

  19. Sam’s was the place to take a date to impress. I had frog legs once there on a dare . They do taste like chicken. I was surprised. Remember cruising from Triangle to the Chuck Wagon. I would like to have had the gas concession for that strip.

  20. My mother, Lillian Hobson, managed the L.Robert’s women’s clothing store which was at Thruway from 1961 until 1981 up from Eckerds at the North end. The Buena Vista Shop expanded into the L.Robert’s space. I love Winston Salem history. Jay Hobson

  21. Does anyone remember Robins back room with the black light where some delinquent young folks used to go skip school and smoke funny cigarettes?

  22. I still have the memory of the tower decorated with lights at Christmas, as children we would stand under it and look up in wonder. Then when our family left Hanestown from spending the day with our Ma-Maw, going 421 west you could still see the tower. What about the Easter chicks and bunnies? Never bought a bunny, felt sorry for the dyed chicks, did bring home quite a few chicks, very few made it, but we took very good care of them. Last but not least, after shopping at Food Fair who had dog race numbers? Watch those dogs race many of a friday night!

  23. those were the great times back then, my mother worked at Town Steak House Sams Gourmet and I worked at Eckerds, My mother in law worked at L Roberts, I remember having dances in the parking lot, Food Fair and so much more and I remember willing the contest there and was given a book with free stuff from all the stores, Woolworth , i could go on and on. Sure miss those days, Life was so much better back them

  24. my husband, Carter and I both grew up in Winston, too. We loved reading this article. Wonderful memories of Thruway. I remember buying Gold Cup socks at Christmas time at Hine Bagby. In pastel colors.wonder if they will make a comeback.!

  25. What great memories! I remember living in “Biltmore”, a post WWII housing development between Knollwood and Westview, right behind Castevens Clinic where I had my wisdom teeth taken out by Dr. Blair. I remember when the Thruway was built. And I-40. We would walk to Moore School and to the Thruway Shopping Center. The walk took us through the woods that we called “J.B.’s Woods” for J.B. Burt that lived in Biltmore by the woods. I loved going to Biltmore Dairy for ice cream. I also remember Eckerd’s Drug store and the great hot dogs at the lunch counter. It was the only place at the time that I remember being air conditioned! Lots of good memories of Biltmore – Mary Lee Wilson, Linda King, Susan & Peeble Wall, Johnny Masten, the Minors, Linda Crawley (later), Lila and Huntley Spencer, the Cox family, the Whaleys, the Taylors, the Cheeks, the Huffmans, the Ausbands, the Halls, the Williams, the Lewellens, so many families with kids. It was heaven.
    After college, in 1969, I worked at WTOB in the Thurway with Kathy Saunders and Sue Leake. I took Betty Brock’s job as the receptionist!
    Such a great time seeing this photo and reading all the comments and great memories.

  26. Interesting. Selected Dairy and Biltmore Dairy at Thruway, must have been before we moved to W-S, NC, end of 1963.

  27. Selected Dairies had a snack bar. I remember Daddy’s picking me up from Life Saving class at Forsyth Country Club and stopping by Selected Dairies, where he ordered a banana split and told me not to tell Mother. I didn’t, but now I’m spilling the beans. I must have been in the seventh grade. My grammar school classmate Donald Parker was working at the Selected Dairies Dairy Bar. His father, a police officer, had died earlier that year, and Don started working part-time to help support his family.

    Food Fair was an anchor tenant. The Putt-Putt was a popular hangout during my teen years, before the addition to Thruway was built, and Staley’s on the corner of Stratford Road and Knollwood was not part of Thruway, and it was a popular hangout, too. Before Staley’s was torn down for a NCNB branch office, there were some cows on the Biltmore Dairy property, prior to the expansion of Thruway. Remember the Hub Pub Club in the lower level of the Thruwayaddition, which Bill Shepherd ran for a couple of years in the 70’s, backed by Charlie Babcock Jr.? When the club closed, a branch of the public library was put into that space – right across the hall from Earl Slick’s unmarked office.

  28. I remember Biltmore Dairy’s small ice cream shop & visited there often. Great memories of all of the development of Thruway Shopping Center. Will always remember the Christmas lights on the tower. Sam’s Gourmet Restaurant was great! Played many rounds of putt-putt & enjoyed the batting cage there. Forgot about the Hub Pub Club but remember it now.

    Joe Helsabeck

  29. Everyone is calling it Selected Dairy. I remember Sealtest Dairy and later it was the Farmers Dairy on Stratford Rd. near Triangle.Had a snack bar and a large room you could rent for bridal showers, etc.
    Biltmore was in area near Town Steak house?

  30. Betty, we old timers remember when the three local Dairies were Southern, Selected and Farmers. Farmers was a co-op with its main headquarters on South Marshall Street, a couple of blocks from the Coca Cola bottling plant. . Farmers hit a home run with the dairy bar on Stratford Road. Selected Dairies sold out to Biltmore, but its dairy bar never was very popular, IIRC. I remember the popular dairy bar on Statford Road as the Farmers Dairy Bar,which later (in the 70’s??) became Mayberry Dairy Bar. Later Mayberry’s moved over to Miller Street when the building on Stratford Road was torn down. The A&P was in the building behind Farmers Dairy Bar, succeeded by Lowe’s Hardware for a few years, and there was a bowling alley in back and Henry Johnson’s Esso (one pump??) in front. Stratford Esso operated across the street from Henry Johnsons for awhile – two Esso stations across the street from each other. The parking lot at Farmers Dairy Bar was a teen hangout.

  31. Betty is correct as I remember. Biltmore was located almost exactly where Town Steak House #2 was. Sealtest Dairy became Farmers Dairy Bar. The A&P was located behind Sealtest Dairy Bar. An automobile dealership was also in the same area as Sealtest.

    Joe Helsabeck

  32. I now remember the name of the car dealership close to Farmers Dairy Bar~~~Lou Stabler Pontiac. Lou Stabler grew up in a large home on the corner of Stratford Rd & Country Club Rd. It had a large swimming pool in the backyard, of course all torn down many years ago.

    Joe Helsabeck

  33. We had registered gurnersy cows and sold the milk to Biltmore. The Triangle was a hang out with a drive up to order; That came after the Lowes. Then we would cruise up and down Stratford on a $1.00 worth of gas!!
    Great memories and we sure can use those now days. Keep them coming.

  34. I can’t link, but I can type in the following:

    Hope it works.

    Bottle sold for $12.00 on 2/15/2015 at 8:30 p.m., with $6.50 expedited shipping.

    The dairy building was located about where the movie theater was later built, next to the “Smoke House,” the white building in which Town Steak House #2 was located. That building is still there & Catfish Grill and several shops are in the building. Remember disc jockey Ray Burke, whose show was broadcast in the 50’s from upstairs in The Smoke House building?

  35. Cowles,

    Wow do I remember Ray Burke, I believe on WTOB ! Never missed his disc jockey shows if I could help it. How About Don Earl Shaw on WAIR? How about Daddy-O on WAAA ?

  36. Joe, sometimes we would go upstairs while Ray Burke was on the air & explore his record files & find something odd to request. And Daddy-O at his Patio was off Polo Road, near the driving range, Never visited Don Earl Shaw, but he was big, too!

    (not that this has anything to do with Thruway)


  37. Yes, there was a selected dairy on South Stratford Road in the 40″s.
    google :Selected Dairy in Winston-Salem. You will see the modern glass building with info about the glass, etc. Interesting,

  38. A friend of mine climbed the tower one night. Quite a crowd collected at the bottom of the tower. I waited a long time for him to come down but had to go home leave before he descended. He didn’t fall thank goodness.

    Anne Newton Graham

  39. Mr Nail was the butcher at the Smoke House. I had my tonsils out at Casstevens Clinic. Several years later I was a carhop at the Dairy Barn net to the Jump Jump and later worked at Murph’s Camera Center before he moved to the old Henry Johnson Exxon.

  40. Many thanks to whoever began this post, for it is certainly a treasure! It has brought back so many fond memories. When I think of the early years, Putt Putt comes first, then Jump Jump, which was fun and so NEW and different. Having Thalhimer’s. L Roberts, Buena Vista & The Ideal move to Thruway was spectacular. Then for the guys – Norman Stockton and HIne Bagby. Tiny Town holds a special place for me as the Kaplan family were neighbors of mine and visiting their downtown store was always great. I can see the same men sitting at the soda fountain/snackbar at Eckerd’s once Woolworth closed down their restaurant section. Also recall “Chigger” Ramsey being Santa for many years. Food Fair with Dewey’s a few doors away had it all covered. Shopping for gifts for family or friends was easy, even as a kid, once you got to Thruway. Everything was available. It is still great today. I miss a lot of the “old” places and people, but new memories are being formed. I loved reading the other posts and have read a few to Pebble (husband). He has thrown in a few memories which I hope he will post later. Martha Little Wall

  41. So many great memories living in Biltmore neighborhood. Speaking of Biltmore, I remember the small metal milk boxes you left outside for milk,butter,etc. Remember the Biltmore milk bottles as if it were yesterday! Remember Ed Ashburn and I stopping at Highland Builders Supply after school at Moore to call his Mom to let her know he as coming over to my house. The WTOB tower – lights at Christmas – flying a kite from Biltmore and getting it hung up in tower! Had my picture taken at Tiny Town while Christmas Shopping with my Dad and saw it next day in the Journal and Sentinel (what a star!).Remember Westview Beauty Salon (where Olive Tree Rest. is now) – where “Opa” did my Moms hair. Remember how the Biltmore guys raked up and made our little baseball diamond where Olive Tree Rest and Party City are now! You hit a HR when ball went across Srartford Rd. onto the Railroad Tracks! Remember so well hearing the train and its whistle every night as it ambled from the Hanes Plant downtown to the RJR Plants or vice versa.Staleys Car Hop, The Triangle, Chuck Wagon, Town Steak House, Sams, Bo Ty Florist – could go on forever! Never locked your front door! Following the DDT trucks on our bikes (taking in all that good air – right!) Great Times- Great Memories!!!

  42. I really appreciate all the comments, many of which contain info previously unknown to us. I will incorporate that and more into a much more complete post on the early years of Thruway sometime in the next few days. For all of you who are reading our blog for the first time, there are about 200 local history stories on the site, ranging from NASCAR racing at Bowman Gray to public hangings and riots to famous houses and families to Marshall Kurfees’ campaign promise to bring the city a winning baseball team and how that worked out. You can scroll through all of them or if you have a particular interest, use the search box on each page…type in baseball or police or whatever and see what comes up.

    Almost 15,000 Thruway Shopping Center fanatics have viewed our “In the beginning there was Thruway…” post in barely a week. Some are struggling with the geography, so here’s a brand new map and a couple of pix to help them out. Much more coming soon to a blog near you.

  43. Wow, this is great. Really brings back the old memories. Minor was my barber too. Every Sunday after church we would go to the Town Steak House. Scott Richardson, Tommy Littlejohn, James Crawford and I rode our bikes out what is now I-40 to Clemmons when it was a dirt road under construction. Used to ride over to Thruway on my bike all the time from Georgia Ave. Seems like yesterday but sadly we all know it isn’t. How fast time flies as we get older. But hey, at least we all are still here to remember.

  44. What wonderful memories of growing up in Winston-Salem and happy times at Thruway Shopping Center. I remember Wednesday nights in the summer meeting friends and listening to Fab Foltz. Also riding my bike to
    Deweys to get a cream puff. I loved all the shops and miss the personal help we got every time we were in L Roberts, Buena Vista Shop, Thalheimers, etc. I still frequent Thruway because it brings back such happy memories of growing up in Winston Salem. Love that WTOB is back on the air!

  45. My mom used to work at Biltmore Dairy on Stratford Road…our freezer was always full of all the new ice creams and treats! That was probably in the late 50’s, early 60’s. I remember large glass blocks on the front of the building and still wonder exactly where it was located. She liked to tell the story of the day when Mr Cecil walked into the dairy bar with a top hat and cane.

  46. Every Spring Momma would take us to Stanleys and buy us a pair of Red Ball Jets. Remember at Jump Jump there would always be at least one pit missing it’s trampoline? I always pitied the poor kid that must have bounced one-time-too-many on that one. We loved to listen to WTOB(The Good Guys) on our transistor radios with the ear plug. Our Easter chick didn’t die. We picked out one that had not been dyed because we’d heard about them getting sickly. Our chicken, “Pecky”, was a mess. He loved to steal one of my Momma’s bras out of her clothes basket as she was hanging the wet clothes on the clothesline and he would run all over the yard with it. One time he got hold of my transistor radio ear plug cord and swallowed half of it and was hollering and running all over the yard. I’ll never forget Momma pulling that cord out of that chicken’s beak. It just kept coming out. Eventually, we gave Pecky to the milkman so he could “go to the farm” and have a good life.

  47. Does anyone remember Go-Go Kart Kapital next to Krispy Kreme. My Uncle Bud Sink ran that indoor and outdoor track.

  48. The Company Vanguard Amusements, that Buddy Sink and my Mother Betty Highfill worked for also had a Trampoline Center at Main St and East Clemmonsville Rd. This was in the early ’60’s. The name of the 10 trampoline center was Jumpin by Jiminny.. During the summer, my brother and sister and I would hang out there all day an jump for free and go across the street at Konnoak Grill for hot dogs and fries.

  49. I will never forget my Dad, Dr. Robert Savage, doing his residency at old City Hospital, used to go all across town and it took him 45 minutes. When I-40 opened around 1956 he covered the same distance in 13 minutes. That was exciting for him as a huge time saver and a credit to Eisenhower’s Interstate system. Of course that included Kurfee’s curve over Town Steak House and Bobbitt’s Drugs.

  50. Our blog post on Thruway continues to be popular…about 800 reads in the last couple of days…over thirty thousand since February…I appreciate all of those who have taken time to comment…eventually I will do a major update which will include information that I have learned from your comments and elsewhere…Thruway has a rich history and continues to be one of the better shopping centers in the nation…and Deweys is still hanging in there 60 years later, the only remaining original tenant…

    A number of people seem confused about Selected Dairies…if you look at the maps accompanying the posts on Thruway, you will see the precise location and a picture…it was founded and opened in 1938 by a group of dairy farmers in the Advance-Clemmons-Lewisville area…their milk was processed and bottled there and delivered by truck to businesses and private homes…the dairy bar there was the most modern in the south at the time and was wildly popular from 1938 until the early 1950s, when it was sold to Biltmore Dairies, which continued to be very popular until Farmers Dairy, whose plant was located downtown, opened their dairy bar just north of I-40 in the mid-1950s. And indeed, there was a pasture between the building and Staley’s Drive In, which was at the corner of Stratford and Knollwood, with some cows in it.

  51. Went Cornatzer asks about Kiddyland…

    The main blog post on Thruway shows the location and an aerial view of Kiddyland and mentions that it was the brainchild of Ray Messick. Ray and his brother Jim were the founders of Food Fair and involved in the development of Thruway Shopping Center. Kiddyland had a pony ride and other attractions to occupy kid’s time, all under the supervision of a responsible adult. There is no profit to anyone by operating Kiddyland. But Ray’s reasoning was simple: Mom is shopping, kids in tow and sees a dress that interests her…but first she needs to try it on and take a peek in the mirror…just at that moment, one of the kids needs to go to the bathroom…by the time that event is over, Mom probably has forgotten the dress, so NO SALE…if the kids are at Kiddyland, Mom buys the dress…Ray Messick was a pretty smart guy…

  52. Roy Highfill asks if we remember Go-Go Kart Kapital next to the Krispy Kreme store on Stratford…yes, some of us do for sure…had a nice little winding track and surprisingly powerful go karts…at the time, Stirling Moss was the most famous racing driver in the world, so those of us who aspired to replace him drove there as often as we could afford…

    I might add…I’m not sure of exactly how, but Buddy and Betty Sink were my cousins…my aunt, Nancy Walker, was always talking about them, and I have a faint childhood memory of them myself…

  53. Ray Messick was incredibly smart. And, from what I heard growing up, was a really nice man as well. My grandmother’s second husband, who I grew up knowing as my grandfather, was John Hartman. He and Mr. Messick were good friends and business pals. John Hartman owned Coe & Hartman Signs on Liberty St. and did the Food Fair and Krispy Kreme signs. I think his most iconic sign was the old Coca Cola neon sign that used to sit in the Hawthorne Curve. It was a great sign. He did many others around town as well. He was also the man who built the original Christmas decorations for downtown. The ones with the green garland surrounding the Moravian Star. There is a picture of him on Digital Forsyth.

  54. I would bet money it was a Coe & Hartman Sign. We had all of the original Krispy Kreme blueprints for their signs and sadly they were destroyed in a fire some time ago. He (John Hartman) was very proud of his relationship with Krispy Kreme and spent many years putting up their big, neon boards. He also hung many of the original signs in Hanes Mall and he made the “WXII” logo that once hung on the tower at 700 Coliseum Dr. He also owned many billboards around the city. Thank you for the picture. It brings back a lot of great memories.

  55. My father, Herman “Fuzzy” Phelps, owned Thruway Shoe Shop. His store was near WTOB and the steakhouse. He later moved across the street to Oakwood Drive.

  56. Loved reading these blogs since my late husband, Waldo Seivers and I shared so many great memories at Thruway. He worked as an Optician at Galeski Optical for several years before we moved to Raleigh when Crabtree Valley Mall was built and he opened a store here.

  57. I always thought it was just Select Dairy. Maybe not. I ate many times at Town Steak House and before that at the old location at Hawthorn under what is now Business-40.Remember going to the dance at WTOB in 1956. Dewey’s is still there. Yum! The farm belonged to the Reynolds family and they had the Select Dairy. I remember my dad going there before WWII to buy an ice cream pie for special occasions. Again, yum!

  58. Selected Dairies was created by the owners of Arden Farms (T. Holt Haywood), Klondike Farms (Thurmond Chatham) and Whit-Acres Farms (John C. Whitaker) and several other Forsyth County dairy farms to process and sell their dairy products. Their fleet of trucks delivered their products to businesses and residences in the county. Selected Dairies opened on March 22, 1938. The site also had a dairy bar for onsite retail sales of ice cream products. In the 1950s, the business was sold to Sealtest Dairies, which continued to operate the plant and dairy bar for a number of years.

    It was located a few hundred feet west of the Smokehouse, established at about the same time by Forest Hills Farm, which was located near Tanglewood. The Smokehouse had a restaurant and a retail sales space featuring meat products produced on the farm. The Smokehouse, significantly modified, still stands at the main entrance of Thruway Shopping Center. You can see pictures of both and a map showing their original locations here:

  59. Sandra Caldwell Seivers…yes, Galeski was an important early part of Thruway Shopping Center. And Harry Moore, Waycross was one of the first Food Fair operations outside of Forsyth County, NC. Some of my Georgia ancestors lived in that delightful town once upon a time.

  60. Just found this blog:

    Here is a list of WS memories

    1. Walking to Reznicks to buy my first 45’s, ‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin and “Kinda of a Drag” by the Buckinghams!

    2.Walking to Woolworths on a hot summer day to bust a balloon to pay from 1 cent to 99 cents for a banana split at the lunch counter.

    3.25 cent packs of cigarettes at Eckerds, no questions asked “They are for my Mother!” 🙂

    4. Dick Bennett/WTOB-Twist dance contests in the parking lot and Saturday morning Kiddie shows downtown at the movie theatre. 25 cent admission or bottle caps, bingo and teen bands before a Jerry Lewis or horror movie.

    5. Softball games at Miller Park on a summer night, adults played, we smoked above cigarettes in the woods and talked about girls we were scared to actually talk to.

    5.I laughed about “Jump Jump” above, in today’s world it would have been shut down within an hour. “Where’s your helmet, knee pads, parent release disclosure kid!”

    6.Staying out till the streetlights came on, running behind the “bug spray man”, it’s a wonder we are alive today!


    Thanks for the mental vacation to the past, it is a world we will never see again and we were lucky to be a part of it!

  61. my mother Wanda Gale Minton worked as Dick Bennick”s assistant with his magic tricks on “Shock Theatre” on Saturday nights for a short time.

  62. Stephen M. Bowman RJR ’67
    remember going to Dewey’s bakery and getting the chocolate eclairs at the Thruway and riding our bikes all around the parking lot and doing wheelies between the parked cars.
    Also remember standing in line at Reznicks when new record albums were released to be the first to get a copy of it. Wonderful memories of hanging out, getting Gant shirts at Bocock-Stroud and the ABSOLUTELY wonderful Vegetable soup at Sam’s. Those were the days.

  63. I remember, in the 1960s, a strange statue seated on a pedestal at the end of a dimly lit hallway off to one side downstairs near the interior stairs and across the hall from what then was an art gallery (later a cheap bookstore). The hall is now a walled office, a law office, I think. Does anyone know anything about the statue? I’m not sure, but I think it was either a Hindu Ganesh or Garuda figure. Shiva, maybe. It had an animal face, I think, with multiple arms. Quite scary to me! My sister, her friends and I would dare each other to walk down the hall and see how close we could get to it. I’d love to know the story behind it, why it was there and where it is now.

  64. i was working at paul rose dept store when they built highway 52- watched thruway being built- remember wtob- chucks-staleys- was good times-

  65. Hey there Fambrough Lamont! Greetings from Forest Grove, Oregon, with many good memories of the Thruway, including winning a freckle contest held by WTOB in about 1956. Always loved the Steak House salads, too, with the delectable French Dressing! Thanks for the memories, my friend!

    Jim(my) Morris

  66. Gary Sample. I remember so many of you . I have the same great memories as many of you. I remember when I was about eleven or twelve every Sunday after church my father would go by Eckerds and get the Sunday hot dog special of ten hot dogs for a dollar. What wonderful times.

  67. I had my first Winston Salem hot dog at Eckerds for around $.14 in 1957. I was handed something in a hot dog bun that was piled high with onions, chili, slaw, mustard and catsup: the hot dog was hidden under the condiments. I was from New York and when you ordered a “hot dawg”, you got a hot dog on a bun. What a surprise!

    The A&P faced east, Henry Jonsons Esso had six pumps, and there was a Wachovia Bank branch and Paul Burke was the manager until it burned.
    Howard Johnsons restaurant and motel was just across the highway.
    Bob Douglas

  68. I remember walking on the road bed of I-40 to get to the shopping center. We would go to Dewey’s to get sugar cake. So many fond memories. Thank you for posting this so we can all return to the days when life was slower, less complicated and more personal.

  69. Don’t forget Hine-Bagby……………..everyone shopped there or at Stocktons…..
    weejuns, tassels, and the trends of the day…………..

  70. My parents took me to Thruway to ride the ponies, the beginning of my lifelong addiction to horses. The man who ran the pony ride told them they could take me to his farm since we were there so often. I’ve often wondered who that man was and where he lived. But I do have a vague memory of the ponies at Thruway. Still the best shopping center in town!

  71. I was just going to ask if anyone remembered Hine Bagby?? My grandmother was Maggie Simmons and was the seamstress there until she retired at the age of 87!!!! I grew up in Winston and all of my family was there. So many wonderful memories of hours at Thruway and surrounding areas. It was the best!!!!!!

  72. I loved the comments, I grew up on Green St, Franklin St, Walnut St and Hutton St and went to Granville School, my father, Paul Ratledge and Coy Baity ran a grocery store close to Salem Baptist Church where I was baptised. We rode the trolley car on 4th st. I loved Thruway and enjoyed seeing it being built. Thank u for the trip down memory lane. BRSaylor

  73. I remember going with my grandmother to Thruway. If I was “good” then we got to go to Woolworth’s and get a cherry coke! What a treat. She always “dressed” to go shopping and would wear a nice dress with matching shoes and handbag. You didn’t “go to town” looking like a slob. She loved to buy her “church hats” at Davis.

  74. Very fond memories of Thruway. My Dad Stephen Honaker Sr. Was hired by Eckerd Drug to be one of the two pharmacists in 1960. He worked with John Holland there for most of his career. I used to hang out there some on Sunday’s when Dad had to work, and bag for the cashiers and help stock shelves. It was good retail experience for me and led to a number of years in retail at Sears and Radio Shack. Loved the fountain hot dogs, grilled cheese and cherry cokes!

  75. Great memories. Had a friend who worked at Food Fair. Sometimes he would put beer outside the back door for us.

  76. This is so interesing to read.I am 58 and only been here since I was 11
    Daddy worked for Pilot Frieght Carriers.I always wondered Thanks.

  77. Excellent read! Most enjoyable! A step back through history, I remember well. C.B. Rhoades (Charlie)

  78. My dad, John Robertson, was one of the garden shop managers for L A Reynolds Garden Shop. It was on the end of Thruway next to Kiddie Land. When they wanted to expand that end, they moved the shop behind the tv tower. When they added the last addition they moved the business to First Street.

  79. Thanks Fam! I love reading this again and recognize so many names from the comments. I’m blessed to have grown up in Winston-Salem!

  80. Hi Joe! Cricket lives in Winston with her husband and My husband and I live in Edisto Beach, S.C. Hope you are well!!!

  81. WOW~~~Honey~~~Glad to know where u & Cricket are living~~~always though a lot of both of u~~~my wife & I live in Vero Beach, FL in the winter & Blowing Rock in the summer~~~hope I get the chance to see either of u at some point in time~~~

    JBH 772-231-4558 Vero Beach, FL 828-295-9446 Blowing Rock, NC >

  82. My youngest, Gracie, lives in Boone as does her dad, a lawyer, Chester Whittle. Our family Christmas tree farm in Creston, was just bought by N.C. State Parks and we have a home there also. Love Blowing Rock! I’m on Facebook…..are you?

  83. No, I’m not on Facebook~~~I just send all these e-mails around hoping to get a response~~~Don’t know where Creston is but will keep a look out for it~~~If I need a NC lawyer sometime I will try to remember Chester Whittle~~~I try to avoid lawyers except for wills & real estate stuff~~~call or stop by our home in BR sometime, would be fun to visit~~~867 Green Hill Rd~~~

    JBH >

  84. Henry Nading was indeed a leader in the Winston-Salem real estate community and involved with Thruway for years, most likely including the extension onto the former Biltmore Dairy property. But the Christmas lighting of the WTOB tower was before his time. I wish I could give my Dad the credit for the idea, but I clearly recall that Robert (“Bob”) Cox, an initial tenant who operated a laundry, came up with the idea and successfully “pitched it” to the skeptical owners. As for Dalton Williams Lincoln-Mercury being an innovative tenant idea, the space hadn’t been leased as of opening day; Earl Slick was also an investor in the car dealership; the decision was made to put a sales office/display in there temporarily. — Steve Leverton

  85. So many memories of Thruway.. loved buying records at Reznicks… my mom and I always shopped at L Roberts, Thalhimers and Davis.. loved Eckerd’s hot dogs!!! I remember the movie theatre had comfy seats and allowed smoking .. wow times have changed .. loved going to Hickory Farms and devouring their samples…Rosenthal’s Bootery had the pretty flower power stickers everywhere .. loved the white leather boots .. so 60’s!!! What a treasure the Town Steak House was.. one of my parents and my very favorites .. no one made a better Roquefort dressing…or veal cutlet with tomato sauce … those were the days!!

  86. I worked at Reznick’s Thruway as a teenager (kid > candy store) and my mom worked at the Shop of John Simmons when it opened in the Lower Mall. We lived across the I-40 bridge on Knollwood Street so it was an easy trek to go to Thruway, unless you had a bridge phobia. It’s interesting to think that the only business from the original opening that’s still there is Dewey’s Bakery.

  87. Was Kiddy Land Markins? Marlins had little rows of seats, tiered like an amphitheater, for victims who would rather be doing anything but waiting for the lady to measure and pin our hems.

    I would like to think that this memory isn’t true, but I know it is: The Stride-Rite shoe store right beside Markins where youstuck your foot in a box and could see your bones? Ralph Nader where were you when we were getting exposure to toxic levels of radioactivity? Somehow I made it to my sixties in spite of sticking my foot the radioactive box and running through clouds of DDT when the bug man went down our streets.

  88. Marken’s was a children’s / infantware store. Kiddyland was an outdoor playground with pony rides where children could be left under adult supervision while their mothers shopped.

  89. My nom retired from Dewey’s Bakery. She started at Parkway Plaza but ended up at Thruway. I remember running back into the baker’s area as a kid at Thruway. The smell was just too much to resist. Could never get away with that now but Paul, the head baker always let me back there and sometimes gave me the warm edges they cut off the cakes to make them square.. Unfortunately, now I can only eat their Devonshire cake. I had enough of everything else to last a lifetime! Also glad to know I’m not the only one that survived riding my bike with all the neighborhood kids behind the bug sprayer!

  90. Clark Harper, the store to follow Roses in that space was Reading China And More, a moderate price store for china, pottery, kitchen supplies, etc… I shopped there many times when I worked at Winn Dixie at Thruway.

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