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West Ashley Flashback: Sweet Memories

Recalling sweet days in Byrnes Downs with the McConnell family

7 Craven Avenue - the home of Isabelle McDaniel Murphy and her family. Later, the Mikell family lived at #7. In January of 1948, the idea of a Byrnes Downs Garden Club began at a meeting of ladies in the home of Mrs. Mikell at #7 Craven Avenue as documented in the scrapbook of the Byrnes Downs Garden Club prepared by May Rossiter. (Photograph from the Byrnes Downs Garden Club Scrapbook currently part of the Special Collections at the College of Charleston.)7 Craven Avenue - the home of Isabelle McDaniel Murphy and her family. Later, the Mikell family lived at #7. In January of 1948, the idea of a Byrnes Downs Garden Club began at a meeting of ladies in the home of Mrs. Mikell at #7 Craven Avenue as documented in the scrapbook of the Byrnes Downs Garden Club prepared by May Rossiter. (Photograph from the Byrnes Downs Garden Club Scrapbook currently part of the Special Collections at the College of Charleston.)


November 2, 2017
By Donna Jacobs | Contributing Writer

Sweet memories. This is a common phrase used by individuals when being interviewed about their stories of growing up in St. Andrew’s Parish. In the case of Glenn F. McConnell it is literal.

Samuel Winfield McConnell married Evelyn Glen McDaniel before World War II. McConnell had graduated from Clemson and was working in the dairy industry in Charleston prior to McConnell’s service during World War II.

In 1945 they made the decision to move into one of the newly constructed homes in Byrnes Downs. In fact they were joined by two of Evelyn’s sisters, Mildred McDaniel McCrary and Isabelle McDaniel Murphy and their respective families. The McDaniel sisters lived in homes on Craven Avenue. The McConnell’s lived in #9 and the McCrary’s lived in #13. And the third sister, Isabelle McDaniel Murphy lived briefly at #7 before moving.

Mrs. McConnell and her sister, Mrs. McCrary became involved in the Byrnes Downs Garden Club that was formed in 1948. Articles that ran in the newspaper list both of them being active in bridge tournaments; hosting club meetings; Mrs. McConnell chaired Ways and Means; and Mrs. McCrary served as Garden of the Month chair.

While the moms were busy with community pride, their young children were growing up in this new community where there were boundless opportunities for adventure – walking along the railroad tracks to attend school at St. Andrew’s Elementary: exploration – in the woods along the Coburg dairy property; and indulging – checking out the new stores that were opening in Avondale and along Savannah Highway.

This is where the sweet memories of the young Glenn McConnell come into play. Steven’s 5¢ 10¢ and $1 store had penny strips of candy – these were small bits of hard candy on a strip of paper that you ate off the paper. Avondale Pharmacy had the best comic books and delicious ice cream sodas. The St. Andrew’s Drug store next to Lyerly’s had a soda fountain, juke box and served great hamburgers. J.D. Waters and Sons Red and White Grocery had the best deli. On Saturday, 25¢ bought you at least popcorn, a drink, and a candy bar at the Ashley Theater on Magnolia Road. And of course there was Roy Hart’s where BBQ and soft serve ice cream were two of the many amazing menu items prepared by Miss Virginia and Roy.

The McConnell family lived in Byrnes Downs from 1945 until 1957 and then located to the countryside around Rantowles. The memories of those 10 years quickly return and come with a fun sweet edge.

What are your sweet memories? Contact Donna Jacobs at westashleybook@gmail.com.

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