Remember What Used to be in These Texarkana Locations?
Having been born and raised in Texarkana I find myself at times on the weekend driving around the city to see if I can remember where a certain business, restaurant, or retail store used to be and if the building is still standing.
At times I get a little sentimental thinking about the memories that were made there with my family at friends and wish we could bring them good old days back. But as history goes, nothing ever stays the same. There are so many places in this town that have come and gone but the memories will always remain if you grew up here like me. This trip down memory lane will take us down the New Boston Road area for the first of a series of "Do You Remember What Used to at This Location in Texarkana?
Pizza Hut - Title Max
When this building was built years ago it was a Pizza Hut restaurant. After closing its location there it was vacant for a while before another restaurant opened but I can't recall the name. Eventually, it closed and the building was remodeled and turned into a title and loan business where it still stands today.
Taco Tico - Texas Car Title and Payday Loans
If you grew up here, there's no secret what building this is. I'll give you a guess, Taco Tico! All their buildings looked the same with the big archway window. After many years in Texarkana, the fast-food Mexican restaurant closed its doors and stood vacant for a long time. Thankfully, Taco Tico is back and open for business on Texas Blvd. This building is now a Texas Car Title business.
Gibson's - Howard's - Great American Flea Market - Bingo - Vacant
Many years ago in Texarkana before Walmart became very popular Howard's retail store occupied this building. Howard's was a lot like Walmart back in the day. Eventually, with the emergence of Walmart's popularity, Howards eventually closed its doors. The building stood vacant for a while before the Great American Flea Market opened with Bingo on one side of the building. Now the building remains vacant and is just a reminder of Texarkana's past.
Ken's Pizza - Cadillac Grill - Vejito's - Vacant
I think most Texarkanains will remember taking their family to eat at Ken's Pizza, the original location of this building. When Ken's closed, it became a Mexican restaurant Cadillac Grill, I remember because this is where we treated some radio listeners to have dinner with Garth Brooks after the release of his first album. Garth went around the restaurant to introduce himself, where most people at that time said, Garth who? Do you remember the old rusted-out Cadillac that was parked at the entrance? After Cadillac closed then came Vejito's Mexican restaurant where it stayed in business for years before finally shutting down. Lastly, it was a Tatoo Parlour that didn't last long and now the building has been boarded up and remains vacant today.
Tasty Freeze - Dairy Queen - Big Jake's BBQ
There is quite a bit of history of this building, first, it was a Tasty Freeze burger joint that served some of the best soft-serve ice cream on a cone in Texarkana. It eventually became a Dairy Queen and now still stands as Big Jake's BBQ.
Montgomery Wards - Citi Trends
Who didn't shop Montgomery Wards when growing up in Texarkana? When Wards opened up they wanted to give Sears a run for their money because they were the place to shop back then. Eventually, Sears won the battle and Montgomery Wards shut its doors after many years of business in Texarkana. Montgomery Wards was a part of a new shopping center named Oaklawn Village. Today there are two businesses that occupy the building including Citi Trends.
Video Giant - Vacant
This building was a part of a shopping strip that included a variety of stores at the end of the building where the tower is, it was Video Giant. Yes, the good old days of VHS rentals, "Be Kind, and Rewind." When it went out of business, a furniture-appliance rental store opened before it shut down and now remains vacant. A variety of other stores and a flea market occupy the remainder of the shopping strip today.
Oaklawn Cinema - Oaklawn Opry - Bright Star Theaters - Radiant Church
Who could forget Oaklawn Cinema? It was one of the newest theaters back in the day. My mother took me and my brother to see the original Disney classic "Jungle Book" there. Like so many theaters it finally gave way to hard times and closed. The building stood vacant for a long time before it became the Oaklawn Opry that showcased local artists' music, then got bought and had a total makeover done, and then became Bright Star Theaters where more musicians were brought in. If I'm not mistaken, today it's available to rent for events but also serves as Radiant Church.
Belk Jones - Big Lots
For many years Belk Jones was an iconic retail store in downtown Texarkana but when Oaklawn Village Shopping Center was booming Belk Jones decided to move to this new location where it remained for many years before closing. Another downtown location Collins and Williams moved in right next door where a flea market is at today. Belk Jones eventually went out of business and now Big Lots is open in their former location.
Sears Roebuck - Planet Fitness
As I mentioned above, Sears was the place to shop in Texarkana. Sears originated in downtown Texarkana if my memory recollects but moved into this shopping center just across from Oaklawn Village and Montgomery Wards. It stayed in business for a long time and is now Planet Fitness.
Weingartens - TG&Y - Cash Saver
Now here's one that should jog your memory TG&Y, it was a department store a lot like Kmart back in those days. After many years in business, it closed and the store was vacant. Today, it is a grocery store Cash-Saver.
Shortstop - O'Reilly's
At this corner where O'Reilly's stands today, Shortstop, a division of Rally's and Checkers occupied this corner. Shortstop was a drive-thru-only fast food restaurant that offered burgers and fries.
Texaco - Master Donuts
This building was originally a Texaco Service Station. It was a full-service gas station that not only pumped your gas for you but checked your oil, tire pressure, and washed your windows. Man. I really do miss those days. The white pole to the left of the building is where the letters T-E-X-A-C-O used to go. You also were able to buy a replica toy Texaco tanker truck at this location. When Texaco closed years ago the building eventually became a used car dealership and is now Master Donuts.
Skate America - Rolling Waters - Owl's Nest Flea Market
Who could forget Skate America? I remember because I fell on my butt trying to learn to skate here. With its huge skating floor and disco lights, a ton of memories were made here for lots of families in Texarkana. It was a fun place to have a birthday party too! When Skate America first opened up they also had a small waterpark adjacent to the building named, Rollin Water with a wave pool. After many years of showing Texarkana a good time the owner closed its doors and now it is Owls' Nest Flea Market. However, remnants still remain like the wooden skate floor and the disco ball and lights on the ceiling.
So, there you go. Our first look at a little bit of Texarkana history now and then. What do you remember? If you have any others you can think of let me know on our Kicker Facebook page.
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