Any teenybopper growing up in the 1950s and 60s probably spent some time hanging out at Toles Drive-In.
establishment was started by Mr. Porter Toles in the mid-1950s and was
a mainstay of Chattooga hamburger aficiandos. Located on the
Lyerly Highway near US 27, it was an easy walk from Summerville High
School and a regular hangout for chicks in poodle skirts and rebels
You could buy a t-bone steak, a hot steak
sandwich, a chicken breast plate, or a barbeque plate. Not to
mention a smorgasboard of ice cream treats, burgers, and footlong hot
(Side view looking north. Lyerly Highway is out of frame to the right.)
you wanted to stay in your pajamas all day, you could drive up and one
of several young ladies would take your order right from your car
window! It was like living in a Jetsons episode!
Mr. Toles surveys his domain against a Chevrolet sporting fender skirts. (View looking northeast across Lyerly Highway.)
Porter Toles in repose.
Toles and his wife, Laverne, also built and operated one of the first
convenience stores in Chattooga County, the Pay N' Tote.
south of Toles Drive-In, the Pay N' Tole opened in the early 1960s.
It's hard to imagine that at one time, a convenience store was
considered a revolutionary idea. And who would have ever thought
to add gasoline pumps?
Laverne Toles and Harold, the assistant manager.
Andy Toles, son of Porter and Laverne Toles, enjoys cooling off on a hot summer day.
Laverne Toles strikes a comical pose at the checkout counter, circa 1965.
became friends with Andy Toles in the 4th grade and it was great being
a chubby little kid with a friend whose parents ran a restaurant and a
convenience store. After the three o'clock bell, we'd walk over
from school and I could have all the ice cream or Zero and Hollywood candy
bars I could stomach.
As we grew a little older, there were other treats waiting on the magazine stand...!
and Laverne Toles were unlike other parents. The Toles were hip
and cool, and always ready for a good time. Whether it was
cranking up the home entertainment center to easy listening music,
riding to Florida in a red Thunderbird, or hanging out at their cabin
on the lake, Mr. and Mrs. Toles knew how to enjoy life.
Drive-In was sold around 1970 and became Jim's Restaurant.
The Pay N' Tote was sold to the Fisher family.
Laverne Toles died after a long illness. Porter Toles died in 2011 at the age of 96.
Porter Toles circa 1950s.
Thanks to Porter and Andy Toles for providing these photographs.
Update: Andy Toles died on October 10, 2012 at the age of 59 in a vehicle accident perhaps caused by a heart attack.
Farewell, old friend.
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Copyright 2010-11 Greg W. McCollum. All rights reserved.