Any teenybopper growing up in the 1950s and 60s probably spent some time hanging out at Toles Drive-In.

toles drive-in

This 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 without causes.

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 dogs.  

toles drive-in
(Side view looking north.  Lyerly Highway is out of frame to the right.)

If 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!

toles drive-in
Mr. Toles surveys his domain against a Chevrolet sporting fender skirts.  (View looking northeast across Lyerly Highway.)

inside toles drive-in
Porter Toles in repose.

Mr. Toles and his wife, Laverne, also built and operated one of the first convenience stores in Chattooga County, the Pay N' Tote.

pay n tote

Located 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 and harold
Laverne Toles and Harold, the assistant manager.

andy on ice
Andy Toles, son of Porter and Laverne Toles, enjoys cooling off on a hot summer day.

laverne toles
Laverne Toles strikes a comical pose at the checkout counter, circa 1965.

I 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...!

Porter 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.

Toles 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
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.